St. Patrick's Day Special: 10 favorites from Golf's Greatest Holes in Ireland and Northern Ireland

The new Golf's Greatest Holes series on GolfPass features several stunning tests on the Emerald Isle.
The 5th hole at Royal Portrush, "White Rocks," is a par-4, 382-yard hole that provides wonderful views of the ocean.

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:

Golf's Greatest Holes Episodes 1-6

  1. No. 4, Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale
    The fourth hole at Old Head Golf Links climbs to the lighthouse.

    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.

  2. The fifth green on the Dunluce Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club sits closest to the shore.

    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.

  3. It's risky to attempt a 279-yard drive to reach the 13th green on the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club.

    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.

  4. A look back at the 11th green at the 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.

  5. The drivable 10th hole at Lough Erne Resort sits in the lake.

    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.

  6. Waterville is a magnificent links in southwest Ireland.

    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.

  7. The par-4 15th hole is the top handicap on the Dunes Course at Enniscrone Golf Club in County Sligo, Ireland.

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Gorse blooms on the par-3 fourth hole at the Royal County Down Golf Club.

    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!

  10. 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.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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St. Patrick's Day Special: 10 favorites from Golf's Greatest Holes in Ireland and Northern Ireland