Golf & Travel Opinions by Bill Hogan
THE DOONBEG LODGE, SPA &
GOLF CLUB – Ireland GRADE:
This fantastic full service golf resort on the bluffs of the west coast
of Ireland (about 1 hour from Shannon Airport) is my favorite place to stay in
. I often tell clients it is
“five star plus” and quite obviously “the best golf resort in Ireland”, as
evidenced by the fact it was awarded “Best European Golf Resort” by the worlds golf
tour operators (IAGTO) in 2010.
But don’t think of it in terms of mega-American golf resorts. Instead, characterize it as small and quaint,
luxurious and exclusive. It is actually
quite small by “resort” standards, with just one golf course and a small but
very high-end Spa. But the value is
great … five star accommodations and service at a fraction of the price of other
“famous golf resorts”.
Dining is headlined by the restaurant in The Long Room, which is not
only visually stunning, but the menu, preparation and service are outstanding
too. It must be one of the top 3 restaurants in the west of Ireland! For me,
however, a 36 hole day on the links is complimented best by some Guinness and
Stroganoff in Darby’s, their high end pub with views of the golf course. The
atmosphere is so contagious that a “quick soup and sandwich” easily turns into
a three hour laugh-a-thon.
The Doonbeg Golf Club
, often a target of pundits, is actually quite
good and certainly a tough links course!
It may not be ranked in the world top 100, but I think every golf group
should give it a try alongside its links neighbors Ballybunion and
Lahinch. It is beautiful, with many
holes with views of the sea and towering sand dunes framing many holes. Interestingly,
Doonbeg GC is harder than Lahinch or Ballybunion, and I was told by an onsite
pro that Greg Norman, who designed the course, never broke 80 from the
championship tees! (Warning: don’t play
those championship tees … there are some forced carries of over 260 yards.)
Grab a caddy or trolley and set off for a most enjoyable day, this is a really
good golf course and it is so beautiful that you will need an extra battery for
your camera! (Many of my friends play 36 hole days here, due to the fact the
course and clubhouse and accommodations are all so close.)
The accommodations are the best in the country, bar none. You can choose from sumptuous ocean view
suites (1 to 4 bedrooms!) or economize like I do with my golf buddies, and stay
in their fantastic 4 bedroom Golf Cottages.
Wherever you stay, the décor and amenities are fabulous. Whereas the décor is classic and elegant,
they thought of the little things too, like both US and Euro plugs, premium
bath amenities, wireless internet everywhere, high end flat screen TV, and my
favorite, the little coffee machines with fresh ground Cuban coffee. Awesome!
was removed from my “bucket list” and now appears on my
“mandatory to-do list” every year. I
highly recommend it for your group of friends or family too!
Hogan is President of Wide World of Golf and is a Golf Magazine Panelist to
rank the World Top 100 Golf Courses. He
has played golf in over 50 countries since he began traveling the world in