Blending premium links golf with history, heritage, and Irish culture, the Jameson Golf Links and Portmarnock Resort is a warming golfing experience like no other.
A mere 20-minute drive from Dublin International Airport lies the coastal settlement of Portmarnock, the gateway to a spectacular, uninterrupted, sandy peninsula stretching south into the Irish Sea.
And nestled proudly at the northern end of this ‘Velvet Strand’ is the newly rebranded Jameson Golf Links and Portmarnock Resort.
With The Island Golf Club to the north, Malahide Golf Club to the west, and Portmarnock Golf Club to the south, the Jameson Golf Links is the eastern jewel that crowns a compass of prime Irish golfing country.
The rebrand follows the multi-million-euro renovation of Bernhard Langer’s original 1995 design, masterminded by Jeff Lynch, director and senior architect at (re)GOLF on a site inextricably linked to the famous Jameson whiskey dynasty.
And while a few ‘waters of life’ will undoubtedly feature across your time at the Jameson Links, they promise to only provide the final notes to a full-bodied golfing experience that will leave you wanting more.
That’s because a trip to the Jameson Links and Portmarnock Resort isn’t really about whiskey at all.
When distilled down to its true spirit, the uplifting of this remarkable stretch of coastline is about celebrating a family that was instrumental in bringing the game of golf to Ireland.
And for those prone to a heavy fade, you may become acquainted with John Jameson and family sooner rather than later. Three of the Jamesons, including John, are laid to rest in the graveyard to the right of the first hole!
John was a great benefactor on the Portmarnock peninsular establishing a school for local children and leasing out land at the southern end of the peninsular that led to the founding of Portmarnock Golf Club, widely considered one of the very best courses in Ireland.
The contribution to golf and wider society of the Jameson family doesn’t stop here, however. This is just the opening chapter of a story intertwining tales of world-class distilling, royal visits, pioneering aviation, and the invention of the wireless telegram!
It can’t be told on paper, it needs to be experienced – ideally after 18 holes on the windswept links in front of a roaring fire with a pint of Irish stout and fresh oysters!
Whether you’re a golf lover or a golf lovers’ lover, you will leave the old Jameson family home with redefined expectations of what a ‘stay and play’ golf destination should deliver.
When you swing on Jameson Golf Links, you will be part of an Irish golfing heritage dating back over 170 years.
Of the nine holes laid out in the dunes by John Jameson in the 1850s, three have been incorporated within the 2023 redesign (the 8th, 9th, and 15th), meaning you will be walking in the footsteps of some of the earliest golfers in Irish history.
And some of their most decorated.
Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, and Leona Maguire have graced the undulating fairways, in addition to some of the game’s biggest international stars including Severiano Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Dustin Johnson, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle, Suzann Pettersen, and Laura Davis.
ON THE COURSE
Undoubtedly the most exciting enhancements made to the course are the ambitious elevation of greens and tees from the eighth hole all the way through to its breathtaking finishing stretch.
The opening holes may be perceived as a gentler start, but there is no ambiguity about the challenge awaiting you on the back nine.
After being hoisted up into the elements you will quickly realize that your usually dependable high-launching driver is good for nothing other than taking you to parts of the course not even the greenkeeping staff knew existed!
This is now a course that provides a true test of links golf and stands up strongly against other world-class links courses on the north-Dublin coastline.
And at least if you’re racking up a score you can now marvel at picture-postcard views of Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand beach, the Dublin city skyline, and the famous uninhabited island – known as Ireland’s Eye.
There is a fabulous flow to this course which will keep you intrigued about the next challenge…of which there are many – including the eight greenside bunkers surrounding the par three third, where we began from a shotgun start.
Nice easy start then, and needless to say – we all missed the green!
The par four 12th and 14th holes have been redesigned as par fives, straddling the once par five 13th, now a very challenging par four, and the courses’ stroke index one.
If you can navigate this treacherous trio of holes with your score intact, then you are doing something right.
And if not, a strategically positioned Jameson’s half-way house is there to catch you, lifting your spirits to inspire a final four-hole flourish.
The final 360 yards of this 6,073-yard par 71 brings you northward up the Velvet Strand back to the clubhouse where the quaint Irish charm of the award-winning Jameson Bar awaits.
OFF THE COURSE
The hotel itself has been entirely reimagined, combining rich history and modern luxury to complement the breathtaking scenery of the peninsular.
The land on which it sits is part of the original Jameson family home in Portmarnock, St Marnocks House, and is Dublin’s only coastal resort.
The Portmarnock Resort boasts three outstanding eateries, allowing guests to choose from fine dining, traditional afternoon tea, or a hearty pub-style meal.
Executive Head Chef Tommy Butler has created menus that stay true to the heritage of the old house with Jameson whiskey flavors intertwined throughout dishes inspired by the highest quality local ingredients.
A well-equipped gym, and spa offering an array of high-quality Elemis treatments provide the finishing touches that will appeal as much to the business traveler, as to the golf enthusiast or the R&R seeker in search of some coastal respite.
A final selling point here is the proximity of Jameson Golf Links and Portmarnock Resort to Dublin. Within 90 minutes of touching down at Dublin International Airport, you can be stood on the first tee.
It’s a huge plus, particularly if you only have a few days to play with and rest assured, despite being less than half an hour away, you feel a million miles from the hustle and bustle of a capital city.
That said, if you’re all ‘golfed out’ then why not make the most of having one of Europe’s most vibrant and fun cities within easy reach and experience everything it has to offer?
For those who value quality off the course as much as they do on it, this is a wholesome golfing ‘stay and play’ experience that’s hard to rival.
‘STAY AND PLAY’ DEALS
*On-course imagery photography credit to Mel Maclaine – Momentum Golf Photgraphy.
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About the author
Golf Equipment Writer
Ross Tugwood is a golf equipment writer for todays-golfer.com, specializing in data, analytics, science, and innovation. He’s also an expert in golf apparel and has a keen interest in sustainability.
Ross is passionate about optimizing sports performance and has a decade of experience working with professional athletes and coaches for British Athletics, the UK Sports Institute, and Team GB.
He has post-graduate degrees in Performance Analysis and Sports Journalism, enabling him to critically analyze and review the latest golf equipment and technology to help you make better-informed buying decisions.
Ross lives in Snowdonia National Park with his wife and 40 kg Bernese Mountain dog! He is a member of Porthmadog Golf Club with a handicap index of 13.8.
Away from golf, Ross enjoys hiking, trail running, and supporting the mighty Bristol Bears.
Ross uses a Cobra King SZ Speedzone driver, Titleist TSi2 3-Wood, TaylorMade Sim2 Rescue, Callaway Apex Pro irons (4-PW), Cleveland 588 RTX wedges (52°, 58°), TaylorMade Spider Ex putter, and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.