WHO is coming? Consider the composition of your group for your Ireland Golf Vacation; is this a buddy’s trip, a couples trip, a family trip, a girl’s trip etc. For example, if this is a family trip with a mix of very keen golfers and non-golfers, pick a region with a suitable selection of non-golf and sightseeing activities also.
WHEN should you come? Anytime from April to October is best. In April and October temperatures are slightly cooler but there is better availability of tee times and possibly better rates. Summer months of June to August are busiest, but warmer. When ‘pushed and shoved’, Real Irish Golf recommends late May/June or September – the best of both worlds.
LOGISTICS: getting to Ireland … then getting around Ireland: Dublin is a good arrival/departure point for all regions, as all major national roads spur out from Dublin to the regions. Shannon is a very good for the South West and also works for West/Connemara region. On the ground, self-drive works well if party is four or less and you have at least two persons in the party that are happy to drive. However, take an Automatic car and ensure you have satnav. Do not drink and drive; regulations are very strict here. Use of a Driver is best option for larger party (+4). A driver will greatly enhance the experience and provides for a more local and personalized experience full of local recommendations, wit, charm, and stories, half of which may be true! Also, of course, a driver allows for the entire party to enjoy 19th hole which is highly encouraged!
WHERE should you go? Biggest mistake made by first-timers is to try to do too much. Ireland is small but by their very nature, Links golf courses are generally remotely located. Therefore, pick one region – e.g. South West – and plan your vacation in that region. Rest assured that all of the primary Irish Golf regions (Southwest, Dublin/East, West/Connemara, Northern Ireland,North West) have more than enough great golf courses to satisfy your golfing needs.
HOW MUCH golf should we play? Answer depends somewhat on point one – the group. Assuming it is a group of keen golfers, Real Irish Golf recommends one round per day. Remember, it is bright in Ireland to 10pm in mid-Summer so even allowing for a 5 hour round with a nice long lunch afterwards, there is still half a day’s daylight for other activities for the group to engage in. So why not play 36 holes in a day? Our experience is that it is too much and less enjoyable.
COURSES: Can I get on any course I want? Broadly yes. Every course in Ireland takes green fees with some time/day restrictions (e.g., member-only days, etc.). However, there are some courses that book quite quickly especially for peak season. For example, if you are planning your trip to Ireland late Spring / early Summer 2017, and you want to play some of the ‘trophy’ courses (e.g., Royal Co. Down, Ballybunion, Portrush, Old Head, etc.), book 6/9 months out to avoid disappointment.
MONEY MONEY – how much should each person budget?
The Tour: A Real Irish Golf for one week costs anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 pps depending on region and transport option selected (see Take A Tour). What’s included? All your accommodation including breakfast, 6 green fees, transportation for the week including transfers, 3 evening meals, and a PGA guided ‘How to play links golf’ lesson. Flight: not included above but you should budget between $600 to $1,000 for a US round-trip airfare. Disposable Spending Money: In our experience and based on guest’s feedback, eating out, drink, merchandise etc. is broadly in line with prices in a medium-sized US city (less than NYC but more than rural Wyoming!). Maybe a little less given the strength of the US Dollar against our Euro at the moment – it’s a good time to come! After that, we’ll leave the budgeting to you.
GEAR TO BRING: Strike a balance – no need to pack the kitchen sink;anything you need for golf that you forget can be purchased in Ireland.Between April and early October, plan for temperatures anywhere between 50F – 75F.
- First and most importantly, your best golf game!
- All the usual basics – golf shirts, pants, balls etc.
- 2 pairs of golf shoes – one with spikes and another ‘street’ pair; at least one waterproof.
- Base-layer top(s) – useful to stay warm if wind gets up and it gets chilly.
- A couple of ‘jumpers’, aka sweaters.
- Woolly hat and Baseball hat.
- 1 set of rain gear … just in case. Don’t go cheap here! Breathable & waterproof are good.
- Rain gloves … just in case
- Sunscreen; yes! you will need it for sunshine, windburn.
- A range finder, GPS watch etc.; very useful given unfamiliar courses, measuring to layups etc.
- UK/IRL plug adaptor with USB to charge your phone.
- Non-golf adventures: err on the side of casual and comfortable. Ireland is not very formal.
OTHER QUESTIONS? Contact Real Irish Golf right here.