At Leadingcourses.com we love reviews, rankings and statistics. And we love them even more when they are transparent, honest and based on information provided by you, the golfer. Last February we published our “Best Golf Resorts 2018” rankings. We used our own review data and the reviews of our hotel partner Booking.com to provide a comprehensive list of the best golf resorts throughout Europe. In those rankings the overall number 1 is Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa. But we didn’t stop there…

We dug a little deeper into the statistics. We asked ourselves, which country offers the most overall quality? Where should you go if you want to drown yourself in luxury and play some of the most phenomenal golf courses in Europe? Portugal? Spain? Turkey? Think again. Our recent study shows that it’s Ireland that offers the best overall golf resort quality when looking at the sum of all the ratings!

Country# ResortsClub RatingHotel RatingOverall RatingBest Resort
Ireland108,49,08,7 🏆Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort
Turkey68,09,08,5The Montgomerie Maxx Royal
Portugal168,08,98,5Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
England318,38,68,5Bowood Hotel, Spa, and Golf Resort
Germany68,18,88,4Budersand Hotel - Golf & Spa
France178,28,68,4Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort
Italy127,98,88,4Borgo Egnazia
Spain267,98,78,3Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland score so exceptionally high because the average golf club rating (8.4) is the highest of all the countries that were taken into account. Next to this, the average resort rating (9.0) is also the highest together with Turkey. A nice detail, in our “The most Bang for your Buck” Northern Ireland ended 2nd  with an average green fee price of € 34,-. The Republic of Ireland ended up 4th out of the eighteen countries that were taken into consideration.

Best Irish golf resorts in 2018 🇮🇪

So… What makes Ireland such a special place? In this article we zoom in on Ireland, highlighting the best golf resorts in Ireland in 2018, so both in The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Below is the top-10 of Irish golf resorts in 2018. Not in this list is the Adare Manor, which was renovated and re-opened in April 2018. We were invited to the opening – together with Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Paul McGinley – and we were very impressed. Some serious money has been spent to make this a top notch golf resort. So, even if the Adare Manor is not in this years’ list we can guarantee you that it will be next year.

1Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort (copyright: Druids Glen)

At the 5 star Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, nature and luxury meet to create a memorable escape. Nestled in 400 acres of countryside between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, yet only thirty minutes from Dublin, Druids Glen provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Druids Glen is also known as the ‘Augusta of Europe’ and offers two championship golf courses: Druids Glen and Druids Heath. Reviewers only have one little point of critism: the drivingrange is located at Druids Heath, so not very convenient if you happen to play Druids Glen.

If you visit, then staying at the The Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort is a treat. It features 145 spacious guestrooms and suites, eight conference and event spaces, dining options which include Hugo’s Restaurant, Garden Rooms and Bar, Sycamore Lounge along with a Spa and Health Club.

2Trump International Golf Links

Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg (copyright: Trump International/IAGTO)

Spanning 1.5 miles of crescent shaped beach and sand dunes, the Dr Martin Hawtree newly re-designed course at Trump International Golf Links Ireland is a stunning sight to behold and offers views of the Atlantic from 16 of 18 holes. The average time taken for a round of golf is four hours and thirty minutes. The par-72 layout features a single loop of nine holes out and nine back, playing 7,026 yards from the back tees. In line with Norman’s philosophy of ‘least disturbance’, the most natural route was taken in laying the course out through the sand dunes. As a result, the course has a unique combination of five par 3s and five par 5s.

Timeless elegance and breathtaking views paired with legendary Irish hospitality await you at one of Europe’s most distinguished 5-star destinations, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg. The hotel is located on the water’s edge and surrounded by rolling emerald hills.

3Lough Erne Resort

Lough Erne Resort (copyright: Lough Erne)

Lough Erne Resort, provides the ultimate 36-hole golf experience. The resorts features two championship golf courses. The most renowned course at Lough Erne is the Faldo Course; Castle Hume is the other course and is a parkland course. There is also a Golf Academy and you can warm up at the all-weather driving range.

Lough Erne Resort offers a luxurious 5-Star hotel in Enniskillen, the gateway to North West Ireland. Nestled on a 600 acre peninsula with spectacular views of the Fermanagh Lakelands and The Faldo Course, it’s clear to see why Lough Erne Resort is renowned as one of the finest 5 Star hotels Northern Ireland has to offer.

4Mount Juliet Estate

Mount Juliet Estate (copyright: Mount Juliet Estate)

Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Mount Juliet Estate golf course first opened in 1991. The course has established itself as a premier venue for top professional and leisure golfers from around the world. Mount Juliet Estate provides a wide range of outdoor leisure activities besides golf, such as horse riding and fishing in the River Nore. The leisure centre and spa offer a heated pool, a gym and health and beauty treatments.

5The K Club

The K Club (copyright: The K Club)

Don’t miss your chance to play the home of the 36th Ryder Cup in 2006, the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and 13 European Opens. The K Club is home to two magnificent golf courses, The Ryder Cup Course and The Smurfit Course. The K Club offers guests the very best in luxurious accommodations, elegant dining, conference facilities, outdoor activities such as fishing, falconry & horse riding. And afterwards you can relax in their  tranquil, soothing K Spa.

6Powerscourt Golf Club

Powerscourt Golf Club offers two championship golf courses, the East and West Course which are located in the 1000 acres Powerscourt Estate. The Powerscourt Hotel, a 194-room resort showcasing Palladian-style architecture, offers guests a host of amenities. Next to golf it offers a 30,000-square foot luxury spa by ESPA, a signature restaurant and traditional Irish pub.

7Fota Island Resort

Fota Island Resort is home to a uniquely enjoyable golfing experience, comprising of 27 holes. The golf club boasts three championship standard golf course configurations – the original Deerpark, Belvelly and Barryscourt golf course. The 5-star Fota Island Hotel – besides golf – offers a swimming pool, a wonderful spa and beautifully designed rooms with countryside views and luxury bathrooms. Fota Island also has some nice self catering lodges.

8Rosapenna Golf Resort

Located on the edge of the picturesque Sheephaven Bay, Rosapenna Golf Resort is the proud home to two of the finest links in the world. The Old Tom Morris Links designed by Old Tom Morris in 1893 and the Sandy Hills Links laid out by Pat Ruddy which opened for play since 2003. With a luxury hotel on site Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort is the perfect venue for a golfing break or just a quiet getaway in this beautiful corner of Donegal.

9Tulfarris Hotel Golf Resort

Standing by the shores of Blessington Lakes will leave you speechless. Set across three peninsulas, renowned course architect Patrick J. Merrigan has created a stunning 18-hole championship golf course paradise at Tulfarris. The Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort overlooks Blessington Lakes and the stunning Wicklow Mountains and offers two tennis courts, The Elk Bar and The Lime Tree Restaurant.

10Carton House Golf Club

Located just twenty minutes from Dublin the 1,100-acre private parkland estate is an all-encompassing playground for leisure and corporate guests alike. Carton House provides two championship golf courses (O’Meara and Montgomerie Course), a leisure centre with pool, Spa, Training Pitches, Tennis Courts, making Carton House the ideal choice for your hotel break.

Getting there

The main airports in Ireland – if you have to fly in from another European country – are Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, Belfast International Airport and Cork Airport. Flying to Dublin will let you tick off quite a few of these 10 ten golf resorts, like Druids Glen – the number one golf resort in Ireland according to visitors on Leadingcourses.com -, Powerscourt Golf Club, the K Club and Carton House. These resorts are all located fairly close to Dublin. Flying into Shannon is great if you would like to visit The Golf Course at Adare Manor (which just reopened). If you would like to visit Fota Island, then flying into Cork would be the best option. The other resorts are slightly less accesible and would require a transfer to a regional airport or a longer drive by car.

Best golf clubs in Ireland or Northern Ireland

Less interested in the best golf resorts and just want to play the best golf clubs in Ireland? Then then we would suggest to surf to our site and check out the rankings of all the best golf clubs in the Republic of Ireland or the best golf clubs in Northern Ireland.

How are the Best Golf Resorts rankings determined?

As mentioned, we love to analyse your reviews to come up with interesting lists. This is also how the ‘Best Golf Resorts in Europe’ ranking started. As time went by, the list has improved significantly. This year we decided to totally revamp our Best Golf Resort list. One of the major discussions within Leadingcourses.com was: when does a combination of a golf course and hotel qualify as a resort? Is St. Andrews with the Old Course Hotel a resort? Does Royal County Down with the Slieve Donard Hotel across the road qualify as a resort? We felt not.

We turned to Wikipedia for an answer or at least a proper definition: “The term resort may be used for a hotel property that provides an array of amenities, typically including entertainment and recreational activities. A hotel is frequently a central feature of a resort (source: Wikipedia). So, having a hotel and a golf course is just not enough to be called a golf resort.

We have checked many rankings concerning ‘golf resorts’, but most of them do not really point out what they are listing. We wanted to change that. So, below we have listed our criteria to be in our Best Golf Resorts in Europe rankings:

  • the rating of the golf club on Leadingcourses.com must be active, so we should have enough (recent) reviews
  • the rating of the resort or hotel on Booking.com must also be active
  • the (official) hotel must be located next to the golf course or must be located on the premises of the golf course (and referred to on the website of the golf club).
  • the resort should include more facilities in addition to having a golf course (for example a spa, tennis court, swimming pool, etc.)
  • the golf club should explicitly mention or refer to the specific resort or hotel on its website (so linking to multiple hotels is not)

The criteria mentioned above mean that not every golf resort will be present in our Best Golf Resorts in Europe list. Resorts that are not listed on Booking.com – and thus do not have a rating which can be checked online – are not taken into account. Resorts are also not listed if either their golf course or their hotel/resort have not been reviewed enough (i.e. inactive rating). Still, it’s a great starting point and all the resorts below can be booked via the Leadingcourses.com site which is very convenient as well!

The overall rank is 50% based on the Booking.com rating concerning the resort or hotel itself and 50% based on the rating of the golf club overall (including the courses, facilities, etc.) on Leadingcourses.com. If resorts have equal scores, then the rating of the golf club determines who comes in first. We are all golfers, so that’s what we find most important.

How is the best country detemined?

The best country is determined by looking at the average of the combined rankings of all the countries. We only included countries with a minimum of five golf resorts. Including countries with less than five resorts would result in inconsistent rankings.

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