As many will say The Open championship at Portrush was a roaring suopen molinari 600ccess with record crowds attending throughout the week. I dont think any of us Irish could have asked for a better weeks golf but then we got one better with one of our own crowned open champion Sunday evening. In my view The Open was won on Saturday afternoon with the brillant 63 by Shane Lowry. He played the entire round with a smile on his face and showed no signs of pressure throughout the day, he emersed himself in cheers of the crowd who willed every drive to find the fairway and every putt to nestle in the bottom of the cup. Come Sunday many of us Irish had to watch from behind our hands as Shane play solid golf in rough links conditions. Shane dug in and boy he sure did not leave us down with a 6 shot lead coming down 18 it was a pure joy for the hole country as he walked down the final fairway. It is now Wednesday, 3 days on and the celebrations are still in full flow and set to continure for the rest of the week. I hope shane remembered where he left his golf clubs after sundays play as he was seen Sunday evening in Dublin which is a 3 hour drive away celebrating in one of his favourite pubs still dressed in his golf gear including his golf shoes. Its safe to say he didnt get a moment to himself after play finished Sunday evening. 

The course at Royal Portrush recieved many compliments from the worlds best golfers, many asking for The Open to be staged at Portrush in the not to distant future. Royal Portrush was already a high priotriy course for visitors to Ireland and its safe to say that after this weeks championship it will be on every golfers bucket list while in Ireland and rightly so. With tee times limited, booking well in advance is essential to avoid dissapointment. A few very lucky golfers took to the course on Monday after the championship concluded and got to walk in the footsteps of Shane Lowry with The Open Grandstands still up. They got a First Class Open championship expereince like no other. 

Open 18 stands up

jon rahm 2019 Irish Open winner at Lahinch Golf ClubJon Rahm does it again at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, an event that is going strength to strength as a European Tour Rolex series event. It is great for golf in Ireland and if you managed to see any of this weekend’s play you will see the love that Ireland has for the game with massive crowds every day of the tournament. Jon Rahm loves coming to play in Ireland and feeds off the large crowds and atmosphere that goes with it. Rahm is a big hitter and game suits the big stage, at just 24 years old and with the success he has had to date it is very hard to not think a major is not far away for the Spaniard, Could it be in two weeks’ time at Portrush? I think it might just be.

It was a good week for the younger of the Irish players in the field with both Cormac Sharvin and Robin Dawson having the best finishes of there young careers. Both players put themselves in contention coming into the final rounds play but it wasn’t to be on Sunday, I am sure both Robin and Cormac will take a lot from this week and give them a boost for the remainder of the season and hopefully we will see them as regular starters on the European tour very soon.

As for the experienced Irish players in the Field, Harrington had a great first round taking an early lead but some might say he shot him self in the foot in a post round interview saying that you would be a fool to rule him out on a links course, it might have been better to stay under the radar and keep plotting his way around the fantastic course at Lahinch. Lowry and Power had a steady week, making the cut and finishing a couple under par to have respectable performance on home soil.

A lot has to be said for Lahinch and the set up, they created a festival around the town which added to the event which offered something for golfers and possibly prospective golfers as it show cased the fun that comes with golf both on and off the golf course. The feedback has been a roaring success and hopefully future events will follow trend and keep the push on growing the game of golf.

Lahinch Golf Club Irish open 2019Irelands golf course spotlight: Lahinch Golf Club

Renowned for the way the links has retained all of its old virtues. It has benefited from the willingness, over the decades, to move with the times and is now regarded as one of the best and most enjoyable challenges to be found anywhere in the golfing world. The legendary Old Tom Morris set the highest standards for the course from the outset. He was followed by equally celebrated architects Charles ‘Mo’ Gibson and Dr Alister MacKenzie. In more recent times, the expertise of Dr Martin Hawtree ensures its place in the higher echelons of all golf rankings.

Dublin isn’t lacking when it comes to things to do. The city is steeped in our proud history and there is an abundance of museums, memorials, cathedrals, venues, restaurants and cafes each offering a different slice of insight into what makes Dublin so darn special.

With tourism at its highest, it’s no surprise to see the streets of Dublin buzzing with excitement. So, whether you’re a tourist taking on the capital city, or a local looking to experience Dublin in a new way, check out the ‘First Class Golf Tour’ guide on how to spend 24 hours in Dublin.

Morning 8am-12pm

Up Bright and early and head towards getting some fine coffee. As the coffee trend sweeps the globe, top-notch brews are now available in abundance especially in the city. Check out ‘Kaph’ on Drury street for those seeking something a little different. For the classic coffee drinker, ‘Bewley’s on Grafton street is a must. Its one of Dublin’s most iconic and celebrated landmarks. Better yet, it’s just re-opened its doors after a massive refurbishment which means its better than ever.Guinness 450 x300

Once you’ve got the pep in the step, Head straight to The Guinness Storehouse. Its always busy so getting there early is essential. The St James’s Gate factory produces over 30 million pints a day and by the end of the tour, when you've finally heard enough about it and just want to taste it, head on up to the Guinness 360 rooftop Gravity Bar where you get to pull your very own pint of “the black stuff” (as the locals call it!).

Follow that by a stroll down the ‘O’Connell Street’ With the historic Spire and an abundance of shops to pick from. Its easy to see why this street is constantly busy with locals, street musicians and most weekends, a craft fair.

Afternoon-12pm-4pmTrinity College 450x300

Once you’ve chowed down on some delicious lunch at my top pick- The Garden Room @ The Merrion. Head on over to Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious university– to see the Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s most significant pieces of cultural history.

Followed on by a 5 min walk towards Stephen’s Green. Take a stroll in through this beautiful park that feels miles away from being in the centre of the hustle and bustle that is Dublin city centre.

If you have some spare time throughout your day, then walk or bus the short distance to Kilmainham Gaol and be spooked with stories of prisoners and their horrid pasts, as well as learning about many Irish revolutionaries who fought for our independence. Its well worth the visit.

Evening -4pm onwards

With the jam packed day, you’ve just had, We wouldn’t be surprised if you just wanted to curl up in bed but alas…Dublin doesn’t rest so neither shall you. For dinner, there’s no better place to go then to ‘The Greenhouse’ on Dawson street for some top-quality food. Once done, Head towards Temple Bar – Dublin’s Cultural Quarter – for some live music, cold pints and a great offering of Irish fare.

Temple Bar 450x300If that’s not your scene that a trip to the ‘Bord Gais’ Energy Theatre is a must. With world class performances of well-known musicals and plays such as ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Lion King’ Dress to impress and enjoy the evening.

No matter what you do in Dublin, it will capture your mind and capture your heart. It has something that draws you in and once you depart, you’ll leave a little part of you here with us. So, while you can, reflect on what has been a great day pounding the pavement in Dublin city and exploring a culture celebrated worldwide.

Gary woodland us open pebble beachGary Woodland finished in style at the 2019 US Open championship, draining a lenthy birdie putt on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach to secure his first major championship. Woodland looked in control over the last 36 holes with only slight signs of a wobble around the turn on the final days play, which is to be very much expected when you have the likes of Koepka and Rose chasing you down for the all important major title on the line. Woodland held firm and pushed on over the final few holes to finish in style. A very deserving winner, in what was a very different style of US Open set up then the years just gone. The USGA were well aware of mistakes made in course set up over the past few years and made sure they didnt suffer the same complaints this time round. Pebble was set up in more playable conditions for this US Open with plenty of birdie and eagle oppourtunites throughout the weeks play. The pins were set up to use the slopes to your advantage and the course design took the advantage of the bigger hitter out of play with many irons needed off tees to play for position to access the small greens. Even still, some of the worlds bigger hitters including Koepka still managed to show his dominance in the game and secure yet another top 5 place in a Major championship. It is very hard to look past Koepka in the next major, The Open at Royal Portrush!

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Royal Portrush

Royal Portrush Golf Club is home toOpen Championship Portrush 2019 one of the best and most challenging links golf courses in the world, the Dunluce Links. When the club was formed in May 1888, it was known as The County Club. It became The Royal County Club in 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron, and ‘The Royal Portrush Golf Club’ three years later, with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron. The only club in Ireland to have hosted The Open Championship (1951 & 2019), Royal Portrush is a members club which welcomes visitors all year round to face the challenges of its courses and to brave the testing conditions. First Class Golf Tours will be in attendance at this years open championship, Will you?

Brooks Koepka PGA Championship Bethpage Black rBrooks Koepka took the lead early on Thursday and held that spot for the remainder of the week, It is something that is very difficult to do. Brooks made the black course at Bethpage, Which is a very diffciult course look quite easy. Dustin Johnson did try to give us a bit of excitement coming down the stretch but the massive 7 shot lead coming in to the final rounds play proved to much to catch up, in fact no player has ever lost a 7 shot lead on the final day of a major championship and Brooks was not going to allow his name on that record. Lets take a look at Brooks Koepka's game and what makes him so succesful in major championships. The most obvious is his physique, he is the strongest player on tour but has a swing that is fundementally strong and shows great control off the tee. For a player as strong and swings the club as fast as Koepka good technique is so important as any slight error is magnified at that kind of speed. Secondly is the mental game of Brooks Koepka, he is a very calm individual that does'nt let the situation get the better of him through the good golf and poor which is why for such a talent he fly's under the media radar as he doesnt offer much excitement to write about for a journalist. For the most part he lets the club's do the talking for him which is what some of the other worlds best golfers should learn from him. 

Killeen Castle 18 hole Solheim Cup Ladies Irish Open

Ireland's golf course spotlight: Killeen Castle

Killeen Castle is a unique development set in the historic grounds of one of Ireland’s oldest and finest 12th-century Norman castles. The spectacular, 600-acre estate is home to a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Europe’s only Dave Pelz Scoring Game School. The golf course has played host to a number of Ladies Irish Opens in 2010,2011 & 2012 as well as the Solheim Cup in 2011. It is a spectacular course with large fairways and sloping greens with strategically placed bunkers to offer a challenge to all levels of golfers. Unlike Bethpage Black you will not have to camp out in your car for days to get a tee time, we keep it more simple at First Class Golf Tours, get in touch and build your Irish golf package

 

Here are 5 fantastic reasons to visit Ireland. 

Number 1: Irish people are very friendly.traveling with clubs 300x300

Ireland is well known for the land of a thousand welcomes and I think the Irish well and truly live up to this name. From a chat at the bar over a pint of world famous Guinness or just a polite hello while passing by, We will make you feel very welcome. We recommend forgetting the trip advisors and other review sites and just ask the locals and get the true Irish experience you travelled here for. 

Number 2: Ireland is very small

Just like it looks on the map, Ireland is a small country which has many benefits for you traveling to explore. You can simply see a lot in one day and get from one side of the country to the other in a matter of hours. You can move from the busy vibes of Dublin city to the rural and tranquil Kerry country side in a short car ride. 

Number 3: Dedicated Tourism trailsIrelands tourism logos 300x300

Tourism is a huge industry in Ireland! A lot of thought, effort and planning has been put into how we can make your experience with us one to remember. On the east coast, you can visit Ireland's Ancient East and emerse yourself in history and ancient ruins or you can take on the Wild Atlantic way which is a 2,500km trail starting at Kinsale and moving along Ireland's south west coast all the way up to Sligo. Along either trail, you will find many information points where you can learn about the Irish heritage and get that all important photo to remember your trip to Ireland. 

Waterville 300x300Number 4: Golf

In Ireland, We love golf and its safe to say that wherever you are in the country there is a golf course not to far from you. We are very lucky to boast some of the worlds best courses but we also have many hidden gems that are worth playing and also wont hurt your pocket... If you are a golfer you cant go home and say you didnt play golf in Ireland. If you are travelling light dont worry as most courses stock top quality rental clubs. You really have no excuse not to play.

Number 5: The Weather

We have a mixed climate to say the least but lets be positive here, Where else can you travel and get four seasons in one day? Just another one of the many unique things to put Ireland on your bucket list....

Kilkenny 400x533Kilkenny is the Ireland many people see in their imagination. Built from dark-grey limestone flecked with fossil seashells, Kilkenny is also known as 'the marble city'. Its full of picturesque narrow lanes and historic buildings nestled beside the River Nore. It’s one of the southeast's biggest tourist draws.

What we adore about Kilkenny is the once there, You could be in the hustle and bustle of the city, Braving the crowds in one of its many local eatery’s and five minutes later you’re strolling along a beautiful stone path amongst beautiful natural landscapes at the ‘Kilkenny Design & Craft Centre’

Whilst in Kilkenny, there are a few things that just must be tried! First off being of course, Kilkenny Castle. Voted in the Top 10 ‘Most beautiful Castle’ in the world. So, grab yourself a picnic, pick a spot of grass amongst its acres of land and watch the world go by with a wonderful piece of Irish History as yfragola cafe kilkenny 400x533our backdrop.

One of my favourite things to do whilst away is to find somewhere that does a great cup of coffee! Hidden down a little side street just off the main shopping street is ‘Fragola Café’ The tiniest café with a huge amount of flavour! Delicious and some may different types of coffee’s can be found here. Not forgetting the scrumptious buns of offer also. May I suggest the Peanut-Butter Chocolate Latte with a Mini Salted Caramel muffin?!

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat whilst here. There only one place we go in Kilkenny and that to ‘Zuni’ Again, small little restaurant with an excellent Head Chef – Mick Thomas. Mick takes a huge amount of pride in creating stunning dishes with quality sourced and sometimes foraged natural ingredients to create mouth watering meals that all can enjoy!

Once dinner is over, just cross the road to the ‘Left bank’ Grab a cocktail or a beer and listen to local band sing you into the night. It really doesn’t get much more local than this. We like to experience everything, so we know you’re only getting the best! Click here so we can make your dream golf vacation a reality.

 

Pat Doonbeg Par 3At the very West of Ireland along the famous 'Wild Atlantic Way' sits 'Trump International Golf Link & Hotel, Doonbeg, Co.Clare! Luxury at its finest. Timeless elegance and breathtaking views paired with one of a kind hospitality await you! Located right beside the beach and surrounded by rolling Irish hills. This location truly is breathtaking.

With tonnes of stories waiting to be revealed within the stunning sand dunes and rugged landscape, Trump Doonbeg is full of Irish charm that just cant be be seen anyhwere else! We spent last weekend taking in all this beautiful hotel has to offer and we weren't dissapointed. We had a beautiful 3-bed cottage that was bright spacious and had the utmost old world luxury feel to it. The Ocean View rerstaurant is a fine dining experince like no other. We had the 7 course tasting menu full of locally sourced produce that was intruguing and complinted perfectly with their expansive wine menu. With views of the waves from Doughmore Bay as your picturesque background. Its the perfect setting after a day of exploring some of the scenic attractions on offer.

Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg takes its place among the world’s golfing elite. The world renowned, championship golf course offers you the perfect setting for any golf outing. We thought it was in great condition offering lush fairways and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Some challenging holes between the sand dunes require strategically placed tee shots to secure the best result. A must play course if in the West of Ireland!

Book with us today to experience the magic....

 

While they’re any many hotels that could easily make this list of top 5 hotels in the South East, the five chosen are truly in a league of their own. Our promise at ‘First Class Golf Tour’s’ is that we never recommend somewhere to you unless we have been there ourselves and experienced what you will get to experience. We pride ourselves of our ability to say that! So, let’s start the countdown.

No.5 Carton House Hotel & Golf Resort in Kildare.

Renowned for its natural beauty and exceptional golf course. There is something for everyone at Carton House. My favourite spot of Carton house is the boathouse where you can watch players finish the 18th hole of the Montgomery course. Finish your day with a relaxing spa treatment or world class cocktail. You won’t be disappointed!

No.4 Monart Destination Spa in Wexford.monart spa destination spa 600x400

Voted top 3 destination spas in the world, it’s no surprise why Monart Spa is in our top 5 hotels in the South East. Snuggled down a country lane outside of Wexford is somewhere you could only envision in your dreams. If golf is not your thing and you want more of a relaxing break away. This is the spot for you. Beautiful surrounding and outstanding hospitality make Monart one of a kind.

No.3 Mt Juliet in Thomastown, Kilkenny.

This 5 Star luxury resort is beautiful both on and off the course! A stay at Mount Juliet Estate is a truly unique experience. It’s a place to come and explore what you want to do, whether that involves fishing, riding, golfing, archery, falconry or relax and unwind in their treatment suites. You are guaranteed to find something that you will love. Their 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed course is sure to leave golfers in awe of what this stunning country estate can has to offer.

No 2. Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in Co. Wicklow.

This is without a doubt one of my favourite hotels in the South East. The grounds of this hotel and truly something magical and something that must be experienced. One day/night is this stunning 5-star resort and you’ll never want to leave. Whether it be their championship golf course, their spectacular surroundings or their scrumptious dining options. Powerscourt deserves a;; the praise it received and more.

No.1 Druids Glen hotel and Golf Resort in Co. Wicklow.druids glen bedroom

Easy NO.1.! With two courses that are both beyond picture perfect and every golfer’s dream to play. It simple as to why Druids Glen is our No.1 of hotels in the South East.  Nature and luxury meet to create a memorable escape for everyone who stays. With over 360 acres of countryside nestled between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, Druids Glen provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I would highly recommend anyone coming to Ireland, to stay AT LEAST one night here. We promise you, you wont be disappointed.

Did that just really happen? After years of speculation of will Tiger win another major? Hearing time after time from commentators and sports pundits that Tiger is back when there is the slightest glimpse of hope or form! To be followed by keyboard warriers knocking him down with comments similar to his career is over. Tiger being Tiger, Let the clubs do the talking and confirmed he is well and truly rising to the top of golf once again, moving up 6 spots to 6th in the offical world golf rankings, It was something very special to witness and his celebrations on the 18th green really showed what this meant to someone who has come out the other side of many battles, both unfortunate and self-inflicted.  Well done Tiger Woods. Tiger 18th Hole Masters Victory 2019

It was possibly one of the most exciting Masters ever to be player or at least that I have ever watched. Molinari played superb the first three rounds but looked nervous from the outset on Sunday, his driving was not to his normal standard and his putts were a little tentitive which is to be expected when leading on Sunday at Augusta. He did well to remain two ahead with 9 to play on a day that proved challenging for all the top players. The 12th hole proved to be a pivitol hole once again with it costing both Molinari and Koepka 2 shots each and what I would consider there chance at this years masters. Koepka did battle back after that mistake on 12 and we are all wondering what could of been if he made that putt on 18. I do think Tiger would of played that 2nd shot on 18 a little differently if he only had a 1 shot lead and made a better attempt at making par. Its true what they say, the great players know how to get the job done when they have to. A player worth looking at for the future is Xander Schauffle, he played super golf for just his second masters  with plenty of birdies but possibly a few too many reckless dropped shots which he can learn from.  Xanders game is looking strong and I think he will win a major in 2019. All in all,  A great year for Golf.

Irelands Golf Course Spotlight: Mount Juliet Resort

Mount Juliet 10th Hole 600x347

Mount Juliet is a Jack Nicklaus Signature course in Killkenny, Ireland. One of the premier parkland courses in the country. Mount Juliet played host to the World Golf Championship in 2002 & 2004 which was of course won by the 2019 Masters Champion Tiger Woods in 2002. It has also hosted numerous Irish opens and the Shell Wonderful World of Golf.  The course opened in 1991 and as you can see it has done a lot in its short 30 years. It is a most play on the East Coast of Ireland during your next First Class Golf Tour experience. 

 



What First Class travellers say….

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What an amazing experience, a huge thank you to Ryan and Kellie at First Class Golf Tours for pulling off a vacation of a lifetime. Words can’t describe how truly grateful we are. The Golf, the scenery, the history and hospitality we received throughout our vacation was “First Class” We are already looking at dates for a return visit…

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