1 – Royal County Down

This is a links which is able to pull off that very rare trick: it can satisfy everyone – from the connoisseur who prefers strategy over scenery to the thrill seeker who wants sensational views and fun at every turn.


2 – Royal Portrush

There is great debate in Northern Ireland as to the country’s best course. We opt for County Down, but many would cite Portrush as their number one.


3 – Waterville

We’ve been regular visitors to Waterville over the years and with every trip we leave with just that little bit more affection for it. Tom Fazio did a tremendous job of remodelling it with no weak holes and lots of high-class ones.


4 – Portmarnock Old 

Shades of Carnoustie and Ganton, where the golfing challenge is greater than the aesthetic appeal and stands of pines invade the pure linksland.


5 – The European 

One man’s dream is a stunning reality. The work of charismatic writer-turned-designer Pat Ruddy, The European matured so quickly it is at No.5 in a top 10 which, other than Doonbeg, is populated only by links with enormous pedigree.


6 – Ballybunion 

Tom Watson raised its profile enormously with kind comments after he visited this iconic course. While it does have the odd indifferent hole, the thrilling ones among and on top of the immense dunes are undoubtedly fabulous.


7 – Lahinch 

A weekend in Clare, playing only here and Doonbeg (half an hour or so down the coast) would satisfy even the most demanding travelling golfer.


8 – Doonbeg 

Doonbeg starts with a hole which in our opinion is one of the best in Britain and Ireland. It is a par 5 played from an elevated tee located just beyond the windows of the hotel bar and which offers a glorious view all the way down to a green framed by what must be one of the biggest dunes in Ireland.


9 – County Louth 

The top 10’s most under-rated course? Very possibly. Despite having a recent European Tour event, ‘Baltray’ often flies under the radar. Many astute observers, though, prefer it to more glittering names.


10 – Carne 

If you don’t like golf which is occasionally a bit bonkers, stay well away from Carne (which is actually very easy to do, because it is miles from anywhere). But if you do enjoy quirky links golf with blind shots and holes adventurously routed between and over dunes, be sure you make the trip to the west coast.


To read the most up to date Top 100 rankings of the best golf courses, please visit golfworldtop100.com