Destination Golf Ireland 2018 * - Page 3

Welcome Welcome to the third edition of Destination Golf Ireland It is easy to be positive about Irish golf when you work on a prestigious magazine that targets the best courses Ireland has to offer. For the clubs at the top of the pile, 2017 was a good year with resorts doing brisk business and the famous links all receiving increased visitor footfall. This is despite Brexit and the continuing malaise in golf participation around the world. It emphasises the quality of what Ireland offers. It is the courses lower down the pecking order, however, which continue to struggle. Four 18-hole courses closed last year and while this was countered by the opening of Hog’s Head (not yet included in this guide) and the re-launch of Kilkea Castle, the net loss amounted to two. Many of the less well-known courses in this guide would tell you that 2017 was a challenging year for them and it is our hope that 2018 will bring better things. Some of these smaller courses are beauties, packed with excitement and energy and I can’t recommend them enough. Keep this guide handy and when you’re in the mood to travel or you find yourself somewhere on the road there will always be a golf course nearby that deserves a visit. Indeed, almost all of our 400 plus courses are worthy of consideration. That’s the sort of quality we have on this small island. This is the third edition of Ireland’s Top 150 Courses and you will find plenty of stunning photography and insightful reviews which should prove all the incentive you need to play somewhere new or return to an old favourite. Our courses are in excellent shape and clubs continue to invest as they seek to make improvements – be it to drainage, greens, bunkering, practice facilities or around the clubhouse. There are big projects underway at Castlerock, Castlebar, Hermitage – to name a few – as well as Portmarnock, Ballyliffin and Royal Portrush as they prepare for major tournaments. Whatever you do, keep playing, keep exploring and keep spreading the word. Ireland’s courses deserve no less. Kevin Markham Editor Destination Golf Media Ltd. 1