If watching Golf's Greatest Holes doesn't inspire you to at least consider a trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland, you must not like golf.
The new six-episode series on GolfPass showcases what it's like to play 29 headlining holes from the Emerald Isle. It's not necessarily a best-of list but more a video travelogue capturing the essence of the country's charms and beauty through golf. That's what a golf trip to Ireland is: a chance to enjoy the pubs, Guinness and Irish craic with golf as the excuse.
Looking back on my 2015 story where I revealed my favorite Irish holes, it's interesting that show hosts Paul McGinley and Chris Hollins only played two of them: the glorious first on Portstewart's Strand Course and the daunting 16th on the Palmer Ryder Cup Course at The K Club. I don't blame them for picking choices different from mine. The holes and courses they've chosen are fantastic. They've definitely even trumped me on a few selections. You can watch any of the episodes by clicking on them below. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are 10 of my favorite holes from the show that didn't make my 2015 best-of list:
No. 4, Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale
Even though I chose the epic 12th as my favorite hole at Old Head in that 2015 story, the fourth hole also still inspires me. Both hug the 200-foot cliffs on a 220-acre diamond-shaped promontory at the southern edge of Ireland. Golfers just aim at the lighthouse and let it fly.
What are some of your favorite holes in Ireland and Northern Ireland? Let us know in the comments below.
No. 5, Royal Portrush's Dunluce Links, Portrush
Like many golfers, I considered the famous "Calamity" hole, the par-3 16th, the best hole at Royal Portrush. That was before I watched The Open in 2019, where players attempted to drive the fifth hole. The downhill par 4 served up great theater, leading to a new appreciation of the most scenic hole on the course.
No. 13, Lahinch Golf Club's Old Course
Host of the 2019 Irish Open, Lahinch's famed Old Course rolls along next to the lovely beach of Liscannor Bay. McGinley, who calls Lahinch “the St Andrews of Ireland”, considers the short par-4 13th "the best risk and reward hole in Ireland". The quirky, blind-shot delights of the "Dell" (4) and "Klondyke" (5) holes aren't too shabby, either.
No. 11, Ardglass Golf Club
While the first tee sits next to the oldest clubhouse in the world and offers up one of the most dramatic opening tee shots in golf, the 11th hole at Ardglass is an even better risk-reward adventure. Framed by a high ridge on the left and the Irish Sea on the right, there is little room for error.
Lough Erne might be the best Irish course few Americans have heard of. Its Irish Open was taken away years ago when the organizers decided to move all of the future tournaments to links courses. The beautiful 10th hugs the shores of the loch (i.e. lake), setting up a dramatic short par 4 where laying up is the wise play but busting driver might be too tempting to pass up for a putt at eagle.
No. 18, Waterville Golf Links
While the par-3 "Mass Hole" might be more famous, the par-5 18th played by Hollins is definitely more dramatic. From the raised tee you can see the Atlantic and the beach to the right. Back near the clubhouse, Payne Stewart's statue is forever waiting for a selfie.
Set on a promontory that juts out into Killala Bay at the mouth of the Moy Estuary, Enniscrone's par-73 Dunes Course overlooks Scurmore Beach with a backdrop of the Ox Mountains. McGinley takes on the par-4 15th, sandwiched between enormous dunes on the right and the Atlantic on the left.
No. 16, The Golf Course at Adare Manor
Fully redesigned and rebuilt in 2016-2017 to championship-worthy specifications, with the very latest in course technology and construction methods by Tom Fazio, The Golf Course at Adare Manor is ready for its Ryder Cup moment in 2026. Every hole that overlooks the historic Manor House - like the par-3 16th, featured in the show - is a visual treat.
While the blind tee shots on several par 4s are legendary at Royal County Down, even short holes like the par-3 4th are treacherous. When the gorse is in bloom or the wind up, look out. The magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne is quite distracting!
Carne is a special place. It has to be to attract golfers off-the-beaten path in northwest Ireland to find it. Legendary Irish Architect Eddie Hackett created the first 18 holes with the third nine added later in some of the largest dunes in the world. It's the downhill, par-3 10th hole on the Wild Atlantic Dunes routing where McGinley almost gets blown away by winds from Blacksod Bay.