Ireland is renowned as one of the top golfing destinations in the world. And, with its combination of top-class courses and breathtaking scenery, it’s little wonder that it’s so popular with golfers the world over. If you want to put your golfing skills to the test in 2016, why not enter one of the many amateur golf tournaments that Ireland has to offer? We’ve rounded up some of the best.
4th Social Media Open
18-23 April, 2016
Taking place in the South and South East of Ireland, the Social Media Open tournament offers the opportunity to play on some of the most beautiful links and parkland courses in the region, including Ballybunion Golf Club (Cashen Course), Ballybunion Golf Club (Old Course), Dooks Golf Club and Tralee Golf Club. The tournament is open to both men and women, and play is in a pairs team format. Deadline for registration is 18 March, 2016.
The Down Spring Links Trophy
26-30 April, 2016
Now in its 18th year, the Down Spring Links Trophy takes place on three of the best courses in the Northern Ireland – Ardglass Golf Club, Kirkistown Castle Golf Club, and Royal County Down Golf Club. The event is open to men and women and, as well as competing to be crowned the Down Spring Trophy Champion, golfers also have the opportunity to win daily competitions and prizes, such as longest drive and nearest the pin. Entries close on 15 April, 2016.
12th Laois International Golf Challenge
15-20 May, 2016
A hugely popular and well-established tournament, the Laois International Golf Challenge welcomes golfers of all abilities and from many different parts of the world. Competitors can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, sociable environment and the opportunity to play on some of the best courses in Ireland’s Ryder Cup Region. Entries must be received by 29 April, 2016.
Donegal Links Classic
29 May-2 June, 2016
The Donegal Links Classic is one of the best known and most popular amateur golf tournaments in Ireland. Playing in a Singles and Team Stableford format, men and women competitors can enjoy three days of golf at the country’s most northerly course. The event is rounded off on the third day with a presentation evening. Submit your entry no later than 20 May 2016.
4th North West Open
30 June-4 July, 2016
In recent years, the Midlands of Ireland has grown in popularity as a golfing destination. Entrants in this competition will get to play on three of the best courses in the region – Slieve Russell Golf Club, Headfort Golf Club (New), and Farnham Estate Golf Club. Confirm your North West Golf entry by 3 June, 2016.
6th Atlantic Coast Golf Challenge
3-7 July, 2016
If you like to combine your golf with stunning views of the countryside and the Atlantic Ocean, then the Atlantic Coast Golf Challenge is definitely for you. The tournament is played on three fantastic links courses – Carne Golf Club, Enniscrone Golf Club and Co. Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point) – and entrants benefit from a significant discount on the usual cost of playing on these courses. Enter by 3 June, 2016.
6th Two Sisters Golf Tournament
7-10 July, 2016
Taking place in the picturesque town of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry, the Two Sisters Golf Tournament is a women-only event taking place over two days. As well as some first-class golfing, Kenmare golf course also offers fantastic views over Kenmare Bay and the nearby mountains. You must hold a current playing handicap to enter this event, and entries must be received by 24 June, 2016.
Lough Erne & Links Challenge
17-21 July, 2016 (TBC)
The Lough Erne & Links Challenge takes place in the Donegal and Enniskillen areas during peak season. The chosen courses for this tournament are Narin & Portnoo Golf Club, Donegal Golf Club (Murvagh Links), and the Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort – one of Rory McIlroy’s favourite clubs. The tournament is played in teams four, and there are opportunities to win individual and team prizes on each day of the competition. The deadline for entries is 1 July, 2016.
West Coast Challenge
4-9 September, 2016
This 72-hole tournament is played over Bundoran Golf Club, Donegal Golf Club (Murvagh Links), Strandhill Golf Club and Enniscrone Golf Club – some of the top links courses on the West coast of Ireland. Located amidst rolling mountains and stunning sea views, this event offers a challenging test to even the most experienced golfers. The event is open to men and women, and must be entered by 12 August, 2016.
Great North Links Challenge
12-14 October, 2016
Taking place in Ireland’s winter season, and all the inclement weather that entails, this tournament is often seen as the ultimate test for amateur golfers. Taking place on Ballyliffin Golf Club (Glashedy Links), Royal Portrush Golf Club (Dunluce Links) and Portstewart Golf Club (Strand Course), this is an exciting and popular event, attracting over 300 entrants. Both men and women can enter this tournament, but must do so before 23 September, 2016.
When it comes to amateur golf tournaments, Ireland really does have something for everyone, no matter your golfing style or preference. However, if a tournament isn’t for you, don’t let that put you off visiting. An organised golf tour can help you to tailor a trip to your preferences and ability, helping you to full enjoy everything the Emerald Isle has to offer.
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Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.