There are approximately 350 18-hole golf courses in Ireland, with new courses such as Hogs Head currently being built. Along with 9-hole courses, the total breaks the 400 mark which is very substantial for a country the size of Ireland. Have you heard about the guy who has played them all?
According to the Golf Digest Rankings, Royal County Down is the no.1 golf course in Ireland.
There are four main golfing regions in Ireland.
- South West
- West & North West
- North & North East
- Dublin & South East
Peak season in Ireland is May – September and this time of year has the best weather (usually). We advise booking well in advance to secure a tee time during peak season. Please be aware that prices are also higher during this time. Shoulder season in Ireland is March, April & October where there is more availability and prices are lower.
With the ever-increasing number of direct flights to Ireland, we recommend flying as the best way to get to Ireland. Check out our getting to Ireland guide for more.
With the general assumption that Ireland is a very small country, it sometimes can be assumed that driving around Ireland does not take long at all. This is in fact untrue and driving between destinations can take longer than expected. Therefore, journey times need to be considered when organising tours. Check out our driving times guide for more.
You do not need a special driving licence in Ireland. A full US, Canadian or EU driving licence allowed you to drive in Ireland. It also allows you to drive in Northern Ireland. Read our guide on renting cars and transport options for golf tours.
The standard of roads in Ireland has increased drastically over the last 30 years. The development of Irish motorways now allows travellers to go from Dublin to Cork in 180 minutes and Dublin to Belfast in under 2 hours. In Ireland, please remember that we drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Due to the difference in the way commuting in Ireland is compared to other countries, some travellers will find driving to be challenging. We always advise clients that you will want to make a decision that is both safest and most convenient for you.
The main differences are:
- Ireland’s country roads are narrow that most people are used to.
- We drive on the left-hand side of the road.
- Cars in Ireland are typically manual.
- Drivers salute each other on country roads, no matter if they know each other or not. (You’ll get used to it)
Not to worry. There are several ways which can make driving in Ireland easier. We advise that when you rent your vehicle (we use Hertz by the way), you ensure:
- The vehicle is an automatic. (Easy to get if booked in advance)
- A GPS is included.
- You are fully insured.
For more please read our driving guide.
Club Rental is available at most our top courses. Most have either Titleist, Taylormade or Mizuno clubs to rent and prices range from €30 – €50 per set. For more info please read our club rental guide.
In most courses, the answer is yes. Some of the top links courses such as Ballybunion (Old) and Royal County Down do not allow carts on the courses due to both health & safety concerns and to protect the links.
Please see each individual golf course pages for more info. Carts are also subject to availability and courses will sometimes not let carts on the course when the weather is bad. Some courses also only allow carts to golfers with medical certs.
Not all courses have caddies in Ireland, although caddies are available in most of the top links & parkland courses. For more info read our caddy guide.
Caddy fees vary depending on the course which you are playing. Fees are paid directly to the caddy in most cases and a tip is at your discretion.
Our rough guide to gratuity:
- Above Expectation: €20
- Meet Expectation: €15
- Below Expectation: €0
For more read our caddy guide.
You do not require a handicap certificate of any kind in Ireland. For some of the top links & parkland courses, it is recommended that you have a handicap of 18 or less for men and 28 or less for women to get the most enjoyment out of playing.
In Northern Ireland, you will require British Sterling £ (STG) to pay in cash. Credit, debit, and pre-paid cash cards can also be used in most shops & restaurants.
Ireland is part of the EU (European Union) and uses the Euro. (€) Currency exchange is available at banks and currency exchange outlets. ATM’s are freely available in every town. Major credit/debit cards are accepted at most establishments.
No, there is no border check between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Ireland is famous for it’s Guiness, Ceól (Music) and Craic (Fun). Our Golf Tour Specialists can provide you with expert advice on where to go during your trip. For a full breakdown of recommended pubs and restaurants, please see our “Where to Eat and Drink” section.
Most of our clubs stay open during the winter period, weather permitting of course. Green fees are at significantly reduced prices due to the quality of the courses declining and less-desirable weather. Links courses usually use mats during the winter period to protect the courses and many of the top-line links courses are closed to visitors during the winter months.
Tee times missed due to weather are handled on an individual basis by each course and are not the responsibility of SWING. In most cases the course will work to reschedule your round. If rescheduling is not possible, only the course has the discretion to authorise a refund. Please send the course authorisation to SWING for processing. Tee times missed for any other reason is the sole responsibility of the individual and not the golf club or SWING. Any refunds will incur administration charges.
Make sure to bring the vouchers that you received from SWING with you on your golf tour and exchange them at the golf courses for green fees and at the hotels for your accommodation bookings.
If your departure is delayed, please contact us and we will get in contact with your bus driver.
You may use a cash machine in Ireland to withdraw cash and they are widely available in towns and cities.
Our recommended dress code for all our golf clubs is the following:
- Collared shirts must be worn, tucked in at all times.
- No beach, sports tops, swim, or gym wear to be worn. If you do choose to wear denim or jeans, they must be smart, worn properly around the waist, and not ripped or torn.
- Golf shoes are not allowed in the Bars or Restaurants.
- All headwear must be removed on entering the Clubhouses.
- All shorts must be knee length, tailored with socks pulled up.
- Tracksuits may not be worn in the Clubhouses.
- Jeans, denim clothing and collarless T-shirts are not permitted on the course at any time. Ladies may wear sleeveless shirts provided they are tailored.
- Collared shirts must be worn when playing the course. They should be tucked in at all times.
- Tracksuits are not acceptable on the courses.
- Golf shoes (soft spikes only) must be worn at all times when playing or practicing (no training shoes or street footwear permitted).
- All headwear must be worn the correct way around and removed on entering the Clubhouses.
- All shorts must be knee length, tailored with socks pulled up.
Concierge / Driver gratuity is a personal issue with each party but it is part of your golf trip as your driver plays a big role in you having an enjoyable stay.
It depends on:
- Number of days driving
- Number in the travelling party
- Additional favours carried out such as incurring longer hours, cleaning clubs, running errands, making purchases on your behalf etc. and generally at your disposal throughout your stay
- Overall experience for the client and rapport with the driver.
While the above is a guideline for you the client, we as a company recommend a yardstick of €10 – €15 per person per day and a recommended minimum of €400 based on 4 Pax.
Ireland is does not have a very prominent tipping culture but tips are appreciated. The customary tip is 10% – 20%. Hotels & restaurants may include it in the bill as service charge. It is not customary to tip in bars unless you have table service. Tipping porters, taxi drivers etc. is at your own discretion.
Emergency services are contactable on 999 or 112. Doctor / Medical services are available in most towns and pharmacies are also widely available.
We can book you golf lessons with PGA Professionals while on your trip for either individual / group lessons or specific golf clinics.
If you lose your passport we recommend the following steps:
- Report it to the local Police/Garda station
- Contact your local embassy or consulate and produce your police report to them.
- They will issue you with either a replacement passport or an emergency passport.
To prevent this from happening, before your trip we highly recommend that you:
- Keep copies of your documents.
- Keep electronic and paper copies of your passport, and other vital travel documents. Our advice is to email yourself a scan or picture of your passport and important travel documents so that you can access them wherever you are.
Unfortunately, we cannot make promises that we cannot keep, it is Ireland after all. Fingers crossed!
We can organise extra rounds of golf on the day but this is fully subject to availability. During the summer months, availability can be extremely limited at popular golf courses but we will do what we can to assist.
There are several ways in which you can get your golf clubs to Ireland. Firstly, you can pay your airline to carry them which can be costly as well as quite a lot of effort.
We are partners with International golf club shipping providers ShipSticks who can get your golf clubs from your home club to Ireland.
What’s the advantage? By booking through SWING, you will get a 10% discount on shipping, as well as the peace of mind that your golf clubs will be at the golf club when you arrive, hassle-free.
Alternatively, you can rent clubs at the golf course you are playing at, subject to availability.
Due to EU regulations, all public service vehicles throughout Europe are fitted with tachograph devices to measure the working time of the driver. Due to this, the daily rates apply to a relevant vehicle for a maximum of nine hours driving time per day. The most important part of this is that the driver has 11 hours’ clear rest period from when he finishes and starts again on the following morning.
The driver would certainly have no problem dropping clients to dinner on a given evening and then the group will make their own way back to their accommodation. Please also note that due to regulations, a driver may not work for more than 6 consecutive days (outside of Killarney) without taking a mandatory rest of 1 or 2 days. Due to this regulation, a driver will therefore not be able to remain with a group for the entire duration of their stay if it is longer than 6 days. A substitute driver will cover the rest days or remainder of the trip.
However, if the group go north and spend a night out of the Republic, the 12-day rule comes into play; (where the driver does not have to rest after six days) but when he finishes he must have 4 days off. The daily rest remains the same.
Satellite Navigation / GPS is available is available through Hertz and can be added to your reservation. The fee for this extra is to be paid directly to Hertz when you arrive.
Irelands standard electricity outlet is 220 Volts AC. Ireland uses the flat three-pin socket so ensure that you have a plug adaptor that connects. Before traveling, check with your phone service provider regarding charges for use overseas. Free Wi-Fi is also available at most hotels & guesthouses.
ATM’s are widely available in towns and cities so there is no need to bring a substantial amount of cash on your tour.
A jacket and tie is only required in the Christy O’Connor Room and Dining Room of Royal Dublin Golf Club. All other courses do not need a jacket and tie, although it is important to abide by their dress codes.
The honest answer is no. However, there are significant advantages to booking your golf tour through a golf operator (SWING Hopefully!).
By booking through us you can avail of:
- Discounted rates at top courses put together in one package. We promise excellent value & our prices are some of the most competitive on the market.
- Access to our golf tour specialists who will use their years of expertise to build a golf tour that suits your needs. That includes organising accommodation, transport, dining options, sightseeing & more.
- One point of contact for all your bookings instead of multiple.
- The peace of mind that you are getting the most out of your Ireland experience for your budget.
- You can focus on playing golf & leave the rest to us.
- We respond to all queries within 24 hours.
- We offer easy payment methods.
- You will have 1 voucher book for your whole trip.
- You can avail of our emergency out-of-hours contact number for the duration of your trip.
SWING (South West Ireland Golf CLG) was founded in 1986 by Denis Brosnan CEO at the time of Kerry Group, the premier golf clubs in the region, the Irish Tourist Board, and Shannon Development. SWING began as an agency to promote the premier clubs in the South West of Ireland to a world golf audience. Since then, it has grown to be the largest and most renowned golf vacation handling agency in Ireland bringing Golfers to the finest Irish golf clubs for over 30 years in 2017.
Booking through SWING is very safe for two reasons.
Firstly, we have been creating golf tours to Ireland for 30 years and have a history of satisfying our clients through top-quality customer service.
Secondly, SWING Golf Ireland CLG is a company limited by guarantee and owned by its member clubs, the top golf clubs in South West Ireland. This means that it does not have a share capital and the constitution provides that the liability of its members is limited to such amount as the members may, in the constitution, respectively undertake to contribute to the assets of the CLG in the event of it being wound up.
We highly recommend to all our clients that you book your green fees before booking flights, accommodation, or transport. This is due to high demand and limited availability during high season.
The best time to play golf in Ireland is during the week. A lot of our courses are member clubs so availability is limited at the weekend. Courses such as Ballybunion do not allow any visitors on Saturday or Sunday. Prices also tend to be higher at the weekend.
You can call us on our toll-free phone number 1855 526 4405 between the hours of 9am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
Payment can be made by Bank Transfer or Credit Card. We accept all major credit cards & transactions are subject to handling fees depending on your card type. For more information please view our terms & conditions.
A reduction in numbers made after confirmation of booking must be notified to SWING one-month prior to the commencement of play. Failure to comply with this condition will result in the client being held liable for the full green fee.
Note: Normally, reduction in numbers falls within 1-4 persons. Any numbers greater than this are looked at individually. Cancellations made after confirmation of booking and one month in advance will result in withholding the booking deposit paid. Cancellation within one month will result in SWING withholding full payment. If, after confirmation of a booking the client(s) require a complete change in itinerary, this will be treated as a new booking and will incur administration fees. Any agreed refunds are at the discretion of the golf courses and are subject to administration fees.
Please send the course authorisation to SWING for processing.
To secure your golf tour, a 25% non-refundable deposit is required. The remainder will be due approx. 6 weeks in advance of your tour.
With demand for golf in Ireland increasing year on year, it is not unusual for golfers to book their tour over 12 months in advance of traveling. The golf clubs will open their tee times for 2018 in late-summer 2017 and we advise all our clients to book early to avoid disappointment. An example is courses such as Royal County Down and Old Head of Kinsale have been booked out for August 2017 since January.
Check out our golf tour booking process infographic.
The easiest ways to plan your golf tour are:
- If you know where you want to play, use our custom golf tour planner.
- If you need advice, contact one of our golf tour specialists.
We have several transport options available for golf tours. They include:
- Self-Drive / Car Rental.
- Private Chauffeur Driven Coach. (For groups of 7 persons plus)
- Private Chauffeur Driven Vehicle. (For groups up to 6 or individuals)
- Helicopter Transfers.
For full info please read our transportation guide.
The accommodation options are:
- 3,4 & 5 * Hotels.
- Self-Catering Accommodation.
- Guest-House Accommodation.
To book your golf tour, we usually require the following information:
- Proposed arrival and departure dates.
- Number of Golfers & non-Golfers.
- Number of rounds of golf required. Would you like to golf on day of arrival/ departure?
- Preferred courses for the schedule.
- Preferred tee times at each course.
- Do you require assistance with booking your accommodation? If so, would you prefer 3, 4 or 5 Star accommodation? What room type do you require? Twin/double or single occupancy?
- Would you like us to assist with booking ground transportation your visit? If so, would you prefer self-drive or chauffer driven transport?
Once we have processed your deposit payment, we will send you a full confirmation of your golf tour that includes final golf tour information.
We can provide you with expert advice on where to eat and drink as well as booking dinner for your group. Feel free to talk to one of our golf tour specialists for more information.
We can provide you with expert advice on where and how to visit Ireland’s many attractions. From the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, we can assist you in experiencing all that Ireland offers. Check out our Sightseeing guide for more information on exploring the island of Ireland.
As Ireland’s golf tour experts, we specialise in organising golf, accommodation & transport during your trip to Ireland and do not organise flights at this time.
We currently do not organise golf tours to destinations outside of Ireland.
Yes, we welcome all non-golfers and we can organise sightseeing activities, accommodation, transport & more.
Group size for our tours varies greatly but timing needs to be considered when booking a large group. Groups of 12 or more need to be booked well in advance (8 Months +) to secure tee times at top links & parkland courses.
After you book, you may add as many golfers as you like but golf and accommodation bookings will be subject to availability.
Yes, we have many golfers who play 36 holes in one day and will be able to avail of a discounted rate for the second round in most courses.
Junior golfers can play golf in Ireland and can avail of discounted rates at most of the golf courses. However, various courses have guidelines for skill levels of junior golfers to play due to course difficulty. Please see individual courses for more info or ask one of our golf tour specialists.
Ireland has good phone coverage nationwide, with some more remote areas having limited network coverage. Pre-paid Sim cards are widely available. Please contact your cell-phone operator for information on roaming charges while in Ireland.
We recommend that all clients bring with them:
- A Passport (Including a copy which they have emailed to themselves in case of loss or theft)
- Proof of travel insurance. (If taken out)
- A driving licence. (If hiring self-drive transport)
- SWING vouchers to present at golf clubs, accommodation & for transport.
We highly recommend that all clients take out travel insurance when traveling to Ireland.
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