Hit the ball (extremely) wrong and you will see it disappear into the Atlantic. The layout of this course right next to the ocean seems more natural than designed. So be in for a golfing experience that takes you "back to the roots" of the sport. Just a word of warning though: Ballybunion is a family holiday resort and can get busy as well as noisy! For dedicated golfers wishing to spend more than one day there is a second course nearby, the "Cashen Course", designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Though famed for its "pretty ponds", Tiger Woods would maybe see those as an unnecessary feature after the Ryder Cup 2006. The course is also hailed as "Arnold Palmer's Jewel" and the landscaping involved moving millions of tons of soil. Apart from having numerous ponds, the K Club is also next to the Liffey, making it advisable to bring plenty of balls.
This course was designed in the 1990s by Jack Nicklaus and as "American" as it can get. It is also also regarded as the best of the newer courses by some experts. On the other had the nearly perfect course makes for uninteresting play in the eyes of critics. The course is sometimes seen as being interchangeable and not "Irish", but the very exclusive country club atmosphere tends to make up for this perceived shortcoming.
This course is set among the dunes and often blessed with a bracing breeze straight from the sea. The club was founded in 1888 and located near the Giant's Causeway. This is (and will for some time remain) the only Irish course to stage the British Open. The course itself needs very accurate driving and is geared towards the technically excellent player.
This course adjacent to the 4-star hotel was designed by Paddy Merrigan and opened in 1992. It is essentially a parkland course amid the lakes and drumlins of Cavan. Water is a constant hazard in play. Though maybe not quite as glamorous as the K Club, the Slieve Russel has attracted PGA tournaments and is known as a remote retreat offering a very comprehensive range of facilities.