The course: Designed by two-time British Open champion Greg Norman, the par-72 layout plays 6,885 yards from the championship tees, and when opened in 2002 was voted Best New International Course by Golf Digest. A true links, it loops around giant fescue covered dunes, along the dramatic Atlantic cliff-top, with 5 par threes and 5 par fives. Giant, lightning-fast greens and variation in wind speed mean the course plays differently every day. It was too difficult when it opened so has since been ‘softened’ here and there. Membership: $70,000 plus $3,780 yearly. Ballybunion and Lahinch offer more world-class golf nearby.
The location: The enterprise is the dream of Buddy Darby from Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and is a particular hit with Americans, who make up well over half of all visitors. Sixty minutes from Shannon airport, the heart of the 400-acre Doonbeg property is The Lodge, a 5-star hotel opened in 2006 but cunningly crafted to look at least a century older. The 185 rooms within 59 suites and cottages, fine dining, spa, bars and of course, magical Irish ‘craic’, make this easily the best golf resort on the Irish west coast, if not the whole country. Doonbeg village has five bars for just 300 inhabitants.
Get your own clubhouse at: Twenty of the 28 Links Cottages have been sold, with re-sales now priced from €450,000 for smaller suites to €1.5 million for bigger houses. The eight cottages left are in a fractional scheme in association with Timbers Resorts: €197,000 gets you a 1/10 share of a four-bedroom, 3,000 sq ft luxuriously decorated house, and free golf.
Read more about the other Primelocation.com Top 20 Best Golf Resorts.