Teeing off around the world
We spoke to Derek Murray, a Consultant at Golf World Magazine and former editor at Golf Digest, about his favourite courses around the world.
Our expert is Derek Murray of ForeGolf, one of the World’s leading experts in golf equipment and a former technician on the European Tour. He has built custom clubs for Masters Champions, Major winners as well as club golfers from all over the world at his new base at Killeen Castle, Ireland. He won the prestigious World ClubMaker of the Year award in 2010 and is a global sports ambassador for logistic company UPS as well as writing Equipment Reviews for Golf World Magazine and Irish Golfer Magazine. Needless to say, he knows his stuff. In no specific order, here are his ten favourite golf courses around the world.
Killeen Castle – Meath, Ireland.
This is where ForeGolf is based in Co. Meath, Ireland and as it’s only 30 minutes from Dublin City and airport its ideal for a short break. This 18 hole, Jack Nicklaus Signature course is also home to a Dave Pelz short game school. A really long test off the back, black tees this superb manicured track is my favourite place to unwind after work. A great welcome awaits and has by far one of the best locker rooms and showers on my travels.
Old Head Golf Links – Kinsale, Ireland.
I would argue one of the best golf experiences on the planet. This course has the best views with its stunning rock edge holes and shots over the ocean inlets. If you want a spectacular test of golf on a track that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, then this has to be top of your list of visits. Fly into Cork airport in Ireland and its only 40 minutes’ drive to golfing heaven. The local seaside town of Kinsale is a great place to set up base camp with superb food and plenty of Guinness.
Settindown Creek – Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
On the outskirts north of Atlanta this hidden gem of a course is home to one of my best friends and whenever I'm in the Atlanta area I stop off here to play with him. A wonderful classic feel track with tricky tree lined holes; it’s a real risk and reward kind of course. I always try and make time in my schedule to drop by here and get the clubs out if I'm travelling through.
Streamsong – Florida, USA.
A stunning looking 18 hole course built in an old quarried site in central Florida. The quarry was brilliantly reconstructed making use of the water filled cavities and high mounds of sand and soil. There is a choice of Red and Blue course, so you’ll need to do both to get the full Streamsong experience. There is a fabulous hotel on site and this course can be difficult depending on the tees you choose, so be sure to bring plenty of golf balls. It is a stunner though, so if you’re in Florida get it booked.
Bayonne Golf Club – New York, USA.
If you're in New York this is the one to play. Take the ferry from Tribeca and pass in front of the Statue of Liberty on the way to this superb golf course. A links style track with the biggest U.S. Flag I've ever seen flying over the clubhouse. Being able to hit balls into the bay at the water range with views of the Manhattan skyline in the background makes it one of the coolest driving ranges I've ever seen. You also get superb panoramic skyline views from this course, it feels like a movie set.
East Lake – Atlanta, USA.
I spend a lot of time transferring through Atlanta as it’s one of the main hubs to fly back to Ireland through. Luckily for me, the very kind folks at UPS have taken me to the East Lake golf club a few times on my way through, and as its home to the Tour Championship tournament on the PGA Tour, it’s quickly earned its place on my favourites list. It’s a really well laid out course, tree lined, tough track with super greens. The stately clubhouse is like a step back in golfing time with lots of memorabilia on display, so if you can get a slot here it's definitely worth the visit.
Quinta do Lago – Portugal.
Portugal is one of the best places for me to visit given the flight time from Ireland and virtually guaranteed perfect weather. I normally holiday here with the family throughout the year and one of my best friends is based in this heaven of a resort. It has a superb practice ground and three magical 18 hole courses to choose from. Enjoy a number of exceptional restaurants within the resort and world class villa and hotel accommodation. If you fancy a trip to the sun with great golf across 3 different courses, this is the place.
The Grove – London, England.
This resort is my preferred stop off if I'm routing and hopefully overnighting through London. Only 30 minutes or so from the main airports and only 20 minutes from Central London, it has great hotel accommodation on site and 18 holes of perfectly manicured fairways and greens. I first worked at the AMEX tournament here in 2006 when The Tiger won, and it has remained one of my favourites ever since. The staff here are wonderful, and the resort has won a number of world awards for very good reason.
The K Club – Kildare, Ireland.
Ireland's only Ryder Cup venue and one of my favourite parkland courses, The K Club has plenty of history. Arnold Palmer designed the two 18 hole courses at this 5 Star resort and the main Palmer course will bring you to your knees off the back tees. Relive those famous Ryder Cup moments and see if you've got what it takes to tame this famous test of golf. Only 40 minutes from Dublin airport and with a private airfield only 15 minutes away its easy accessibility makes it a firm favourite for travelling golfers.
Kingsbarns Golf Links – Scotland.
I’m not a huge links golf fan but this place took my breath away when I first played it. A rich, Scottish welcome at this historical 18 holes of smooth links golf. Just seven miles north of St. Andrews in Scotland, the golf course enjoys everything you can imagine from the coast hugging greens and fairways. It’s a real test of shot skill and you‘ll need to bring your putting A-Game with you when you visit.
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