The Best of Ireland, Old and New
Ireland offers captivating golf across all of its regions. Sam Baker, founder and chairman of Haversham & Baker Golfing Expeditions — a travel operator that specializes in crafting custom journeys for members of private golf clubs — proclaims southwest Ireland to be the country’s best destination, simply because it offers cultural and sightseeing opportunities that are on par with the region’s world-class courses. “The reason we send so many people there is that it’s superior off the golf course,” he says. “The scenery, the history and the other things you can do — what we call the good life — it’s as attractive as the golf.”
On the topic of golf, Haversham & Baker’s eight-night southwest Ireland journey includes visits (occasionally by way of helicopter) to a handful of the country’s most historic courses, including Waterville Golf Links, the Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club and the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club. The latter features a layout that has been modified over the years by the likes of Old Tom Morris in 1894 and Alister MacKenzie in 1927. Contemporary courses on the itinerary include Tralee Golf Club — the first European course designed by Arnold Palmer in 1984 — and Hogs Head, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr design that opened in 2017 and, according to Baker, is more forgiving than the nearby 18 holes at Waterville.
Baker also advises Hogs Head guests to spend some time sitting on the clubhouse terrace, either before or after their rounds. “You look straight out to the point known as Hogs Head and out over the Atlantic Ocean,” he says. “It is stunning.”