Golf Adventure Guides BLOG

Example Use of the Ireland Guide

Here’s an example of using the Ireland Golf Adventure Guide to plan a golf trip for four golfers.

The Scenario
Four golfers from New York want to enjoy five days of golf in Ireland this summer.

Using the Ireland Golf Adventure Guide
Here’s how a user of the guide might plan such a trip. The text below is basically describing the thought process and the use of the guide, while working through the trip-planning steps (p. 2) then making reservations and tee times. In this fictitious example, the trip planner is basically thinking out loud. Let’s go!

Buy the Collins Visitors Map Ireland (p. 3). I won’t need the map while planning this simple itinerary, but I’ll want it in Ireland to help navigate the Irish roads. From the PDF version of the guide, I can click on the picture of the map (or its ISBN number) and it takes me right to the web page on where I can buy it. Very convenient.

Start building the rough itinerary (p. 6). We only have five days, so I want to minimize driving. Looking at the Driving Times & Distances map (p. 8) and Golf Courses & Towns Map (p. 9) I see that the southwest area is good. The Getting to Ireland section (pp. 18-19 are relevant to travellers from the U.S.) recommends flying into Shannon. I’ll figure out where to stay later.

Make a list of courses (pp. 7-17). I see that possible courses in this area are: Tralee, Dingle, Dooks, Killarney, Waterville, Ballybunion Old, Doonbeg, Lahinch Old, Old Head, Dromoland, and Adare. That’s enough; we only have five days.

Fine tune the course list. Having previously read about Tralee, Ballybunion, Doonbeg, and Lahinch, those go to the top of my wish list. I need one more course. Since we’re playing Tralee, let’s stay in Tralee after we arrive (p. 28). Old Head is quite a drive, so that’s out. Waterville is a good course, but not that close. I decide against Dromoland and Adare; we want another links course. That leaves Dooks and Dingle. I check out their relative ranking (p. 16) and Dingle comes out ahead. I see that Eddie Hackett did some design work in 1972. I look up Hackett in the Golf Course Designer index (p. 17) and see the other courses he designed. I’m impressed and decide to play Dingle. Our five courses are: Ballybunion Old, Dingle, Doonbeg, Lahinch, Tralee. But that’s just a list, not an itinerary. I need to put them in playing order.

Arrange the courses in sequence (p. 6). Since we’re staying in Tralee, it might be nice to play Tralee the first day so we don’t have to rush in the morning. The Itinerary Tips (p. 6) and Choosing Where to Stay (p. 23) lead me to decide on playing Ballybunion on the way to Lahinch (due to the change of accommodation). That means we should play Dingle on day 2. Ballybunion lands on day 3, and Lahinch and Doonbeg are pretty much interchangeable as the last two days.

Pick when to go. In the When to Go section (page 4) I see the weather is good in June and the golf courses less crowded than in July or August. Lets go in June. I check out the average rainfall and temperature graphic (p. 5) and June looks like a good choice.

Transfer to the calendar (p. 6) Using the Course Cards (card_irl200x.pdf), I see that the only course in this list with visitor-policy issues is Tralee. Looking at the detailed visitor policy (p. 15) for Tralee confirms it–no visitors Sunday (all year) or Wednesday (June, July, August). That means we could play our first round in Tralee on a Monday. Looking at the calendar (calendar_irl2007.pdf) for June, I see that Monday, June 5th is a bank holiday and most likely won’t allow visitors (holidays are treated like Sundays). We want to fly on the weekend, so let’s start the trip with the first day of golf at Tralee on June 12th. I write out the courses on the calendar (I print out just page 6 to save paper) and the arrival and departure dates fall out. From the calendar:

  • June 10 — Depart U.S.
  • June 11 — Arrive Shannon. Drive to Tralee. Stay in Tralee.
  • June 12 — Play Tralee. Stay in Tralee.
  • June 13 — Play Dingle. Stay in Tralee.
  • June 14 — Play Ballybunion Old. Drive to Lahinch (use Shannon ferry, p. 32). Stay in Lahinch.
  • June 15 — Play Doonbeg. Stay in Lahinch.
  • June 16 — Play Lahinch Old. Stay in Lahinch.
  • June 7 — Drive to airport. Depart Shannon.

Make air travel reservations (pp. 18-19). I now know our desired arrival and departure dates from the planning calendar and use those to book flights. I see (p. 19) that Continental has direct flights between Newark (EWR) and Shannon (SNN). From the PDF version of the guide, I link directly to Continental’s web site and book the flight.

Make the tee times (p. 2). I call the courses myself before 5pm Ireland time, which is noon EST (p. 33), and get the tee times. Alternatively, I could have had SWING (p. 31) do it, but making a tee time in Ireland is really no harder than calling a local course. A few of our courses want fax confirmations and deposits, so I do that with the fax cover page (faxcover_letter.doc) that comes with the guide. Everything has worked out as planned, so we now need places to stay.

Book accommodations. I look up Tralee (p. 28) in the Accommodations section and pick the Grand Hotel because its the least expensive one (I’m frugal). I’m online so I click on the weblink in the guide PDF and check out the hotel’s web site. Looks good to me. I call them up and book two rooms (sharing) for the nights of June 11-13. In Lahinch (p. 26) I go for the Atlantic Hotel. It’s right on the main street in town, which is what we like. I call them up directly and book two rooms for the nights of June 14-16. It’s less than a one-hour drive (p. 8) from Lahinch to Shannon airport so there should be no problem getting there for our Saturday morning (11:20am) departure flight. I book the rooms directly myself; it’s just a lot easier than fussing with web-based systems and when I’m done I know for sure that the reservation has been made.

Rent a car. Since there are four golfers, it looks like were going to need a minivan/minibus (p. 29). I normally rent from Avis so I check them out first and get a quote, noting all of the options on the worksheet (p. 30). I then checked out Argus and Dan Dooley for their quotes. After comparing it all, I rented from one of them.
* I could have had my travel agent do this step.

Take the trip. I take along parts of the guide in a clear plastic envelope which also holds the Collins road map. Along the way it can be used to gather score cards, brochures, etc. It’s great that I don’t have to lug around an entire guide book; I just take the pages I need, which is much lighter and more compact. There are some good tips in the Practical Matters section (pp. 32-33) that help me bring the right electrical plug adapter and decide to not bother with travelers checks this time. During the trip, we consult the Golf Courses (pp. 10-15) and Driving Times (p. 8) sections to get directions to the course and determine when to leave the hotel so we arrive at least 30 minutes before our tee time. It’s nice to have all of this information with us.

Estimated Price Per Person

Airfare $609. Continental Airlines round trip between Newark and Shannon
Green Fees $ 220.
Tralee (€170)
Dingle (€65)
Ballybunion Old (€150)
Doonbeg (€185)
Lahinch (€155)
Hotel $ 234.
Grand Hotel (Tralee) assuming 60 per person sharing (three nights)
Atlantic Hotel (Lahinch) assuming 65 per person sharing (three nights)
Rental Car 210. Assuming 7 days at $120 per day split evenly four ways.
Total $ 2,246. Per golfer, not including food, beverages, tips, caddies (June 7-14 2007)

All of the information and tools you’ll need to build a great itinerary for your Ireland (Ireland Golf Adventure Guide) and/or Scotland (Scotland Golf Adventure Guide) golf trips are available from Golf Adventure Guides.

* I didn’t actually contact the courses, hotels, or car rental companies during the writing of this particular example, nor do I normally rent from nor necessarily endorse Avis. This is a hypothetical example.

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Rob Babcock
Author/Golfer/The Golf Guide Guy

Posted in Guides, Ireland, Travel