No.6 Lough Erne, Fermanagh
Rooms & Suites: 120 Price: From £175 Courses: 1 W: lougherneresort.com Best for: Luxury, Couples, Families, Small Groups
Having opened in 2007, Lough Erne near Enniskillen may be a relative youngster, but the resort has already earned a reputation as one of the finest in the UK. Set on a 600-acre peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, it was awarded ‘Best Hotel’ at this year’s Northern Ireland Tourism awards and, in 2010, it was named ‘Golf Resort of the Year’ by the Irish Golf Tour Operators. The resort’s Faldo Course was the first design in Ireland by the six-time Major champion. It’s a superb layout with fantastic views over the lough and the Fermanagh lakelands. For those looking to work on their game, the resort boasts Europe’s first Faldo Academy where professionals combine Faldo’s teaching methodologies with state of the art instruction technologies. Staying at Lough Erne, accommodation options are varied. Guests can choose one of the elegant suites or rent one of the luxurious loughside lodges. Besides the golf, Lough Erne is an excellent destination for fishing and guests can learn from the best, the resident game angling instructor Packie Trotter is one of only 140 master casting instructors in the world. The overall package warrants such a lofty new entry.
No.7 The K Club, Co. Kildare
(2008 position 3)
Rooms & Suites: 69 Price: €515 Courses: 2 – Palmer Ryder Cup, Palmer Smurfit W: kclub.ie Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
In 2006, the K Club’s Palmer Ryder Cup Course welcomed the 36th Ryder Cup. It was a thrilling event that will long be remembered for Europe’s historic 18.5 to 9.5 win. The Ryder Cup Course is set through the grounds of the Straffen Estate. It’s bounded by mature trees with the River Liffey winding its way gracefully through the layout. The Palmer Smurfit course provides a totally different golfing experience, more of an inland links with a rolling landscape. The K Club has been named ‘AA Irish hotel of the year 2011′. It’s an amazing resort blending history and luxury.
No.8 Mount Juliet,
(2008 position 7)
Rooms & Suites: 47 Price: From €250 Courses: 1 W: mountjuliet.ie Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
Mount Juliet House is a striking Georgian mansion named by the Earl of Carrick after his wife. Set in a splendid 1,500-acre estate near Kilkenny in the south east of Ireland, the Jack Nicklaus Signature course was venue for the Irish Opens of 1993-1995 and the WGC-American Express Championships of 2002 and 2004. It’s a fine parkland course framed by ancient oaks, beeches and limes. There are numerous off-course options from equestrianism to clay pigeon shooting and an excellent spa.
No.9 Adare Manor, Co. Limerick
(2008 position 11)
Rooms & Suites: 72, plus 17 townhouses and 46 villas Price: €380 Courses: 1 W: adaremanor.com Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
A glorious example of 18th century gothic revival architecture and home to the Earls of Dunraven for some 200 years, Adare Manor is now one of Ireland’s premier hotels. Opened in 1995 the golf course welcomed the Irish Opens of 2007 and 2008. Once golf is done, Adare Manor delivers some fine dining under the guidance of head chef Mark Donohue. There are also interesting off-course activities – such as hiring one of the hotel’s classic sports cars or going on a hot air balloon ride of the estate.
No.10 Celtic Manor, Monmouthshire
(2008 position 9)
Rooms & Suites: 400 Price: From £195 Courses: 3 – Twenty Ten, Roman Road, Montgomerie W: celtic-manor.com Best for: Value, Couples, Small Groups, Big Groups
Celtic Manor planted itself unforgettably on the golfing map in October 2010 when the sun finally shone on that memorable Ryder Cup Monday and Graeme McDowell as he helped Europe to glory. The original accommodation at Celtic Manor was in the cosy 70-room Manor House, with the main Resort Hotel, which dominates the skyline from the M4, bringing an additional 330 rooms and suites in 1999. The Forum Spa and Health Club takes care of off-course well-being, while the Twenty Ten course is the star, with the famous water holes along the Usk Valley keeping even the best on their toes. The Roman Road and Montgomerie layouts offer excellent alternatives at this impressive 54-hole set-up.