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At Discovering Ireland we have put together some top tips for a golfing vacation in Ireland...
Pack heavy. You see all different kinds of weather in Ireland , from high winds to rain and sleet to beautiful sunshine, and you may see it all in one round. There are no rain checks here. You play unless it's lightning, so pack your sweaters and rain gear, especially if you're planning your trip for the off-season months of the spring and fall. After reviewing our guide to golf in Ireland why not check out our Golf Resorts and Golf Hotels in Ireland page where you can plan your Ireland golf vacation.
If you don't have a golf bag that's light enough for you to carry for 18 holes, invest in one before your trip. Electric carts are generally available only at the leading venues in Ireland, so you usually have the option of a caddy, caddy car (pull cart), or carrying your own bag. Many golf courses in Ireland have caddies but will not guarantee their availability since they're not employed by the course directly, so it's conceivable that you may be left with only one option: toting your bag yourself. To be safe, make sure you have a carryall, or Sunday bag.
Unlike America, most private golf clubs in Ireland are happy to let visitors play their course and use their facilities. It's important to remember, however, that the course is indeed there for the members first, and the majority of the club's concerns lie with them. Preferred days for visitors are listed in our club pages, but it's always a good idea to call in advance and make sure that the club will make time for you.
Some of the best and most beautiful courses are in Northern Ireland , where the leading venues are far less remote than in the Republic. Don't let media coverage from urban Belfast scare you away. Also, keep in mind that the region is part of the UK, so all currency is in pounds sterling, though the Irish pound, or punt, is always welcome.
And finally, a reality check. Ireland's best courses rank with the best of the world, but after that there's a bit of a drop-off. Of the 330-odd courses, only about 29 are worth crossing an ocean to play. Others are good, but nothing you can't find at home. Of that 29, all are happy to have visitors play, except Royal Belfast, in Northern Ireland. It's the oldest club in Ireland, and the most exclusive.