My top 10 – Graeme McDowell shares his favourite Irish courses

Bernie McGuire

The 2010 US Open champion was born and bred at Portrush so it will be no surprise to see that his top ten favourite courses to play in Ireland are links courses. GMac loves a challenge and the ten courses he has selected are all tough tests.

Royal Portrush
Well, I have to start with Royal Portrush. I grew up there and love every inch of the course. The changes that have been made to host The Open Championship in 2019 are unbelievable. There is no better feeling than walking off after a good day on the links and going down to the harbour for a pint with the boys.

Close to home again, I love Portstewart. I think the front nine is probably one of the most under rated nine holes of golf in Ireland. It’s a serious test of your game and I am looking forward to playing the Irish Open there next year.


Royal County Down
Another great track and probably the toughest test in the country on a bad day. Every hole presents a great challenge around RCD and it is a stunning place to play. I still haven’t dried out since the Irish Open there last year!

Tucked away in the North West I would say Ballyliffin is overlooked by many and under rated. It’s just a beautiful part of the world and if you haven’t been up there, put it on your list, you won’t regret it.

Again much like Ballyliffin I feel people who haven’t visited this area need to. The Casey boys do a great job up there with two great courses and a super hotel too. I think the plans they have at Rosapenna for the future will cement them as one of the places you must visit.

I haven’t been back to Lahinch since 2001 to see the new changes but I always loved this place. I hope to get back soon as I have very fond memories after winning the South of Ireland in 2000, it’s a special place for me.

Funny enough being a Portrush man, Waterville is probably my favourite place to play golf in Ireland. There is just always a great atmosphere when I am there and the changes Fazio has made to the course are just fantastic.

Old Head of Kinsale
The scenery at the Old Head of Kinsale is just breath-taking, probably one of the best pieces of land to have a golf course on anywhere in the world. It blows me away every time I play there and is a place you have to visit at least once.

The European Club
It’s been a long time since I have played the European Club but I always love the challenge it offers. Thinking of it now it’s probably been 20 years since the last time I played it but it certainly left its mark and I hope to get back soon.

Portmarnock is just one of those special courses you would play every day. I have great memories playing Irish Opens at Portmarnock early in my career and I love going back to play it when I can. The course has some real bite when the wind blows.

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