18 golf courses you can play in Ireland for €30 or less 4 years ago

18 golf courses you can play in Ireland for €30 or less

Fancy a game of golf but money is a bit tight? Kevin Markham has done all the hard work for you so you can have a round for €30 or less.

Golf is not a cheap game. No one ever claimed it was. From buying equipment and footwear to paying club membership and/or green fees it is a sport that requires money, as well as time and commitment. But let’s say you have the time… and the commitment… and that your ambitions stretch beyond the driving range and the local pitch & putt, then here are 18 of Ireland’s best courses that won’t charge you more than a €30 green fee.

Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, Par 73

One of the top parklands in the north west, Ballinrobe has everything you expect of a quality venue with none of the pretensions. It's quiet and relaxing with mature trees and an easy rhythm. The course boasts an impressive set of par threes and is particularly admired by Padraig Harrington.

Check out their site here

Birr, Co. Offaly, Par 70

Routed over naturally rolling eskers, this is a course where fairways lift and drop like the ocean waves. Holes sweep between trees and the unique golfing landscape hides fairways and greens constantly. It adds to the challenges on a fun, friendly course.

Check out their site here

Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Par 71

The holes of this suburban course fit together like a jigsaw – neatly combined and perfectly placed. It is smart, very well maintained and renowned for the quality of its greens. Splashes of wildness and water add character to a round that can best be described as gentle.

Check out their site here

Coollattin, Co. Wicklow, Par 72

Coollattin 1 green tree arch

A round of golf at this sweet Wicklow parkland is like playing through an arboretum. Majestic trees surround the course and define fairways. It has been updated recently and its reputation continues to grow… while its green fees don’t. The par three in the walled garden is one of many highlights.

Check out their site here

Corballis, Co. Dublin, Par 66

The brilliance of Corballis falls under two headings: it is a municipal course with ridiculously cheap green fees for a sparkling little links course; and it gives golfers of all abilities the opportunity to play links golf. Short and tight it may be but this is thrill-a-minute golf overlooking Ireland’s Eye.

Check out their site here

Courtown, Co. Wexford, Par 71

Courtown 18 fountain

A colourful and well established country parkland, with holes sprinkled over rolling, tree-drenched terrain. Located next to the sea, it ticks all the boxes with some thrilling drives and idyllic green settings. The trees are the main challenge and expect four tough par threes.

Check out their site here

Farnham Estate, Co. Cavan, Par 72

In 2008, Jeff Howes designed two distinct and quality nines over a vast, rolling estate that is also home to the impressive Radisson Blu hotel. The start is a tumbling, spacious and big tree affair before you head up into dense forest where accuracy becomes essential. Expect quality greens.

Check out their site here

Gowran Park, Co. Kilkenny, Par 71

A parkland that runs around the perimeter of a popular horse track, as well as inside it. Golfers cross the track six times, which adds to the variety of this intriguing course. Big trees and water characterise the outside holes, while inside there’s space to play between the gorse.

Check out their site here

Macreddin

Macreddin 12 approach gorse

Perhaps one of Ireland’s greatest hidden gems, this is Paul McGinley’s first design… and it is a thriller, stretching across opposite hillsides of the beautiful Macreddin Valley. A brook comes into play on the back nine and tall pine trees and gorse are striking companions for much of the round.

Check out their site here

Mahon, Co. Cork, Par 70

This is another municipal course well worthy of your money. It hugs the shoreline of the Mahon Estuary, and, while it might be on the short side, it is packed with many fun shots, including driving over the estuary itself. The routing takes you under the busy South Ring Road for two of the best holes.

Check out their site here

Portarlington, Co. Laois, Par 71

Portarlington may be a flat parkland, but its Eddie Hackett design is thoroughly entertaining. It uses the natural landscape to full advantage, weaving between mature trees and demanding constant accuracy, especially on the impressive run for home beside the River Barrow. Holes 7, 8, 14 and 15 are outstanding.

Check out their site here

Portumna, Co. Galway, Par 72

Portumna is an elegant, lazy parkland enshrouded in dense, old woods, with many mature trees spilling across the gentle landscape. This is an old estate, boasting herds of deer, old stone watch towers and magnificent feature trees. One of the most enjoyable rounds of golf you will play.

Check out their site here

Rathcore, Co. Meath, Par 72

Beautiful things come in small packages. Nowhere is this more true than at Rathcore. Measuring just 6,000 yards, this is all about guile, subtlety and intrigue. It makes the golf highly entertaining as holes roll over the landscape, around ring forts and across knolls drenched in gorse and surrounded by water.

Check out their site here

Rossmore, Co. Monaghan, Par 70

Recently re-rerouted to create two loops of nine, visitors will still find themselves heading up, down and side-to-side across the tightly packed hillocks outside Monaghan town. This is country golf at its best and what it lacks in length it makes up for in thrills. There are towering drives, tricky doglegs and stunning views.

Check out their site here

Scrabo, Co. Down, Par 72

Scrabo 1

The sort of natural, riotous and explosive course that will blow many golfers away. Scrabo is not about finesse or glamour – it’s about the raw challenge of playing hilltop golf through razor-sharp gorse and over unpredictable fairways. Views stretch as far as Scotland, but pay attention to the holes because every one demands your concentration. Fantastic clubhouse.

Check out their site here

Spa, Co. Down, Par 72

The second Co. Down course and this one is a more sedate affair, falling into that quality parkland bracket that appeals to everyone. Mature trees, water, a gently rolling rhythm. Sometimes the easiest way to spot the really good courses is to see where everything works effortlessly. That would be Spa.

Check out their site here

Water Rock, Co. Cork, Par 70

Water Rock 12

A non GUI, family affair which has become a very popular half hour drive for Cork City golfers. This offers surprisingly good golf over bumpy terrain. A few lakes up the ante and, in the 12th hole, Water Rock has one of the best par threes in the country. Quality is good, greens are good… it’s all good.

Check out their site here

West Waterford, Co. Waterford, Par 72

An idyllic rural setting makes West Waterford one of the most peaceful golf courses you’ll ever play. Here, the natural landscape does the talking. It has everything you expect – big trees, gentle hillsides, doglegs, a river – but the location, routing and variety of holes give it that something extra. A big day for the driver.

Check out their site here

Kevin Markham is author of Hooked and the newly released Driving The Green – An Irish Golfing Adventure  Available as an eBook and in bookshops.

You can also check out his blog, TheIrishGolfBlog