The Secret of the Irish North / South Golf Divide

Golf Course Rankings are a controversial subject and have had quite an influence on the level of Green Fees. If you are planning an Irish golf tour, you need to familiarise yourself with the Irish golfing rankings.

To help you with this, we have made up a Super League of 12 clubs, for which the qualifications were:

  • Regularly in World Rankings or
  • Regularly in Top Ten in Ireland and
  • Old Head and Doonbeg, popular Modern Courses with potential for top 10.

Because they were all links courses we then made up a Premier League for which the qualifications were:

  • That they were typically the next 12 links courses in the Irish Rankings
  • Green fee not more than €120
  • We thought they were great to play!


What can be derived from this?

  1. The average weekday summer green fee in the Super League is €156.
  2. The star club in the Super League is Lahinch with a world ranking and a fee comparable with the Premier League. County Louth and County Sligo are tremendous value with fees below Lahinch. In fact without these three the Super League average would be €173.
  3. The Premier League average weekday summer green fee is €74, less than half the Super League.

What can we conclude?

Well, some golfers will be happy to play the top-ranked courses, but many others may like to play one or two and then stick to the Premier Clubs on the basis that they doubt the ranking makes the top ten twice as enjoyable.

What is the Secret of the North / South divide?

Draw a line from Dublin due West to the West Coast just below Lahinch. This is the North / South Divide of the Republic of Ireland Clubs. The Premier League Clubs are all on or to the North of the line. The best value Super League Clubs (Lahinch, County Sligo, County Louth) are also North of the line. The remaining clubs on or South of the line are all Super League Clubs.

The secret is if you want value more than prestige, stay North of the Line in the Republic.

Good Quality and Value Tours

West Coast: Lahinch, Connemara, Carne, Enniscrone, County Sligo, Donegal.

Dublin and West: Portmarnock or Portmarnock Links, The Island, Royal Dublin, County Sligo, Donegal, County Louth.

North West: Ballyliffen Glashedy and Old, Rosapenna Sandy Hills and Old, Portsalon, County Sligo (or a Northern Ireland course)

Dublin and East: Royal Dublin, Portmarnock, Portmarnock Links, The Island, County Louth, St Anne’s.

The Super League (Alphabetical order)

(Bold – Typically in World Rankings)

  • Ballybunion Old – South West
  • County Louth – East
  • County Sligo – West
  • Doonbeg – West
  • European – South East
  • Lahinch – West
  • Old Head – South
  • Portmarnock – Dublin
  • Royal County Down 
  • Royal Portrush – Northern Ireland
  • Tralee – South West
  • Waterville – South West

The Premier League (Alphabetical order)

  • Ballyliffen (2 courses)
  • Carne
  • Castlerock
  • Connemara
  • Donegal
  • Enniscrone
  • The Island
  • Portmarnock Links
  • Portsalon
  • Portstewart
  • Rosapenna (2 courses)
  • Royal Dublin

Hopefully, this guide will help you to plan your next golfing holiday. 

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