The Emerald Isle has long been a stronghold of world class golf courses and with Kildare’s picturesque, undulating landscape lending itself perfectly to the sport it’s no wonder the county now boasts more than twenty courses, earning it the title of ‘Ireland’s golfing capital’.
First off the tee box is Carton House, just a 30 minute drive from Dublin Airport it prides itself on providing world class golf in a first class location. Host to the Irish Open for three years, it has two championship courses every seasoned golfer dreams of taking a swing at.
The O’Meara Course, designed by two-time major winner Mark O’Meara, is a classic parkland course, weaving its way through enchanted woodlands while hugging the banks of the River Rye. By contrast, the Montgomerie Course pays homage to the best links courses from around the world. Designed by Colin Montgomerie, it serves up sweeping fairways and splashy bunkers to get the adrenaline pumping.
Carton House, home to the Golfing Union of Ireland, also established the National Academy in 2006 which provides state of the art practice facilities such as two swing analysis suites, science and motion putting analysis equipment, a top quality bunkering and short play area and golf lessons from leading coaches.
A stone’s throw away, is the world-renowned 5-star K Club in Straffan which hosted the Europe-winning Ryder Cup in 2006 and 13 European Opens. A visit to this venue is a must for golfers with the Arnold Palmer Ryder Cup Course and the Smurfit Course considered two of the best championship courses in Europe.
Earn your golfing stripes on the Golden Bear’s parkland fairways and greens that will push your precision skills to the limit while the Smurfit course is inspired by traditional links courses with humped dunes and cavernous bunkers throughout.
Another green fee worth paying is at the Christy O’Connor Junior designed course at Palmerstown House Estate in Johnstown. Nestled among matures trees, it exudes an old world charm that comes with courses steeped in tradition and excellence.
Craddockstown Golf Club in Naas is another golfing gem waiting to be discovered. Set in beautiful parkland and with stunning water features, the course attracts a range of wildlife to make your journey around the fairways even more memorable.
If you happen to have a budding golfer on your hands, the K Club run a junior summer golf camp for those aged between 6 and 16 years of age throughout July and August. You can hit the big course while your little chipper can keep busy learning skills that will last a lifetime and developing a real love of the game under expert tutelage.
The county is bursting at the seams with championship courses so you won’t find yourself wanting if a game of golf suddenly takes your fancy. Choosing which course to play first will be your toughest challenge – that and deciding whether to lay up or go for the pin!