Scotland vs. Ireland: Which is the better golf trip?
I just returned from a golf trip to Ireland. In 2002, I traveled the linksland of Scotland, and was certain nothing could ever top that experience.
I was wrong.
But Ireland also lays claim to some of the best parkland courses in Europe, including the K Club.
Most importantly, however, is the atmosphere in Ireland. The Irish have long been dissed by their Scots and British neighbors, and not just for golf. Historically, the Irish have been stereotyped as apathetic, lazy, dullards. Years ago, I taught in Germany, and hung out with both Brits and Irish. One night after a long talk about poetry, religion, and politics with several Irish and Brits, a British friend confided in me that until that night, he had never met an Irish person. “I always thought they were stupid,” he admitted sheepishly.
This completely unfair view of the Irish might stem from their almost Mediterranean approach to life: late to bed, late to rise, quick to laugh, happy to sit and chat for hours with friends and strangers alike. Not at all the stereotypical characteristics of the Scots (though that is of course unfair, too).
You feel this different approach to life—and the game of golf—as you play in Ireland. Not once were we chided to take off our caps in the clubhouse, as we were in Scotland. Not once were golfers wearing shorts in the 85-degree heat sneered at. Not once were our handicap cards checked. Not once were we beaten out onto the course for an early tee time. In fact, finding golfers on the links earlier than 9 a.m. was rather rare, despite the 5:30 sunrise. The Scots, on the other hand, seemingly never leave the links.
In Hollywood, 40 is the new 20. In golf, Ireland is the new Scotland. The only down side to this is that prices—from green fees to lodging to food—are going up. Still not at Scotland prices, but getting there.
If you get a chance to travel to Ireland and Scotland to golf, do it. If you have to choose only one, I say pick the Emerald Isle.
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Did you get to like the local Guiness ! Really enjoyed Portmarnock and going over to the west coast next year to play Ballybunion . Have you played it ?
How can you even compare these two,it's like chalk and cheese.
No offence to those Irish folks.
We have played in South Caroloina and Florida and are now divided over where to go . The contenders are Phoenix , The Rockies or a trip centered around Pebble Beach .
Any good advice welcome and for the record we are all single figure golfers . Thanks
If you have never golfed the mountains...you have no idea what you are missing. The Mountain courses in Alberta and B.C. are not to be compared to anything you have ever played. Kananaskis, Stewart Creek, Grey Wolf, Bear Mountain (on the Island in BC)...just to name a few will have you in awe!
As for Doonbeg, I see where our differences may lie: I fully admit that it is much more American--and less Irish--than the old classics (or even some newer classics, like Tralee), and this might be less appealing for someone such as yourself who lives in close proximity to so many great courses. As my father always says, "Reality isn't as much what you see as where you're standing when you look."
1. If you put say the top 10 in Ireland up against the top 10 in Scotland, Ireland will probably just shade it.
2. However, Scotland has much better strength in depth than Ireland.
3. The nightlife in Ireland is probably a little better than Scotland.
4. Getting around Ireland cna be a pain due to poor roads.
5. Prices are now pretty comparable between the two.
Also, check out England and Wales which has plenty of great links courses at much better prices.
Note to Barry: I arranged the trip to Scotland for a party of 8 without an agent, mainly by doing a lot of homework - reading books & magazine articles, scouring the internet, etc. Your website is absolutely the most informative I have seen and extremely user-friendly. I especially like that the course reviews are written from the perspective of the good (not great) player.
You can even see Ireland from the Ayrshire coast - it's not far at all, so take advantage and experience the best of both worlds
If you are interested please contact me.
Regards Graham Rowley