The Island Golf Club Key Information
|Header Cell - Column 0||Header Cell - Column 1|
|Address||Donabate, Dublin, Ireland.|
|Phone Number||+353 (0)1 843 6205|
|Green Fees||€250-€275 April to Oct|
|Visitor Times||No stated restrictions|
|Par||Men: 72 blue, white, green, 71 red, 68 yellow; Ladies: 75 red|
|Slope Rating||Men: 132 blue, 130 white, 126 green, 122 red, 113 yellow; Ladies: 130 red|
|Designed by||Unknown, Fred W Hawtree, Eddie Hackett, Martin Hawtree|
Golf Monthly Verdict
The Island is a good test of golf demanding a variety of shot-making skills. The new holes on the front nine have elevated the course further, adding greater balance to an outward loop that used to comprise eight consecutive par 4s and a short par 3 back to the clubhouse.
For many, though, the par-4 14th coming home remains the standout hole with its narrow fairway and wasteland estuary edge waiting on the right to catch any errant tee shots.
REASONS TO PLAY THE ISLAND
- It plays through some of the most dramatic dunes of any older links course
- Recent work by Martin Ebert has given the whole links greater balance
- One of the most visually stirring opening holes you'll play anywhere
UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 71
For some reason, The Island is perhaps less well-known than it deserves to be given its location just ten miles from the centre of Dublin and its idyllic setting, surrounded on three sides by water and marshland with holes that weave through some of the tallest and most awe-inspiring dunes of any older links course. It continues to make progress in our Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland rankings.
Word of its quality is spreading rapidly, though, and that looks set to continue apace following extensive recent work to remodel the opening half to take fuller advantage of the terrain. This work has added greater balance to a front nine that used to comprise eight consecutive par 4s and a short par 3 back to the clubhouse, and therefore greater balance to the overall course as well.
The club was born in 1890 out of the desire of certain Royal Dublin members to have somewhere they were allowed to play golf on the Sabbath. They would take a ferry over the estuary to a links that was originally routed from the seaward end of the promontory.
The ferry was still in use for arriving golfers until the clubhouse was re-sited in 1973, and the latest course revisions follow a number of other substantial improvements to what is one of the best golf courses in Ireland through the years at the hands of Martin Hawtree and others.
After that newly rebalanced front nine, the back nine features two further par 5s, the intimidating par-4 14th, with its fearsomely narrow fairway, and a stirring approach on 15, where the spectacular amphitheatre green is reminiscent of Doonbeg’s 1st or Carne’s 10th.
The 13th is one of two great par 3s coming home, a classic one-shotter at the southern end of the promontory that could require literally any club in the bag depending on wind strength and direction, and is devoid of sand, with a cavernous pit and OOB all the way along the right-hand side deemed testing enough.
What The Top 100 Panel Said
it is essential to build a score on the front nine as the run for home really bares its teeth. Even on the rare calm day that I enjoyed, it's seriously tough. The variety of holes on offer is simply outstanding and I could never consider feeling bored with the challenge presented. A vintage classic that has sympathetically added in the best of modern design to strengthen its credentials.
As soon as I set eyes on the big white pillars on arrival it was visually stimulating all the way. The aesthetics throughout are sublime - the dunes, the sandy waste areas, the natural bunkers, the rumpled fairways, the pristine greens... it simply is golfing perfection. Very rarely do you get something that feels like a hidden gem in the Top 100 but this must be one.
The Island Golf Club location
The Island Golf Club Green Fees
|April to October - 2023 Mon-Thurs||€250||Row 0 - Cell 2|
|April to October - 2023 Fri-Sun||€275||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|Row 2 - Cell 0||Row 2 - Cell 1||Row 2 - Cell 2|
The Island Golf Club scorecard
Best Courses Near The Island
Set on a relatively flat and wonderfully sandy peninsula to the north of Dublin, the land at Portmarnock looks like it was always destined for golf. And while it may not have the towering dunes that feature elsewhere in the country, this is a serious championship test that is extremely highly regarded and has long been ranked as one of the country’s very finest golfing examinations. There are 27 holes here.
PORTMARNOCK HOTEL & GOLF LINKS
Situated next door to the far older and more celebrated 27 holes at Portmarnock, this challenging links belies its youth and is blessed with arguably more dramatic dunes than its neighbour. There are elevated tees and greens, doglegs, and plenty of well-placed bunkers. Despite the occasional blind shot, there are no tricks and what you see is what you get on this fair test of golf.
Best Places To Stay Near The Island
Grand Hotel, Malahide - Book now at Booking.com
The Grand Hotel is located in Malahide just 2.5 miles from The Island. Boasting a 20-yard swimming pool, a spa bath and a steam room, this four-star hotel with satellite TV in the rooms is just a ten-minute drive from Dublin Airport. The Coast Restaurant serves fine cuisine with views of Malahide estuary.
Shoreline Hotel, Donabate - Book now at Booking.com
The Shoreline Hotel is situated on the beach in Donabate just a mile and a half from The Island and close to other fine courses. Dublin city centre is just 25 minutes away. The newly refurbished bedrooms offer balcony views of Lambay Island and Howth Head, or the Corballis golf links.
The Island Gallery
THE ISLAND HISTORICAL TOP 100 RANKING UK&I
- 2023/24 - 71
- 2021/22 - 72
- 2019/20 - 75
- 2017/18 - 72
- 2015/16 - 75
- 2013/14 - 79
- 2011/12 - 92
- 2009/10 - 95
Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Island the best golf course around Dublin?
It's certainly one of the best, but it's up against some pretty stiff competition in Portmarnock (28th), which ranks highly in many course ranking lists, including Golf Monthly's UK&I Top 100. But The Island (71st), with its towering dunes, impressive setting and fine recent improvements works, is the only other course in the Dublin area in our Top 100, so for us - and others - it's the second-best course in the region.
Why is it called The Island Golf Club?
A good question as it's not situated on an island, unless you're talking about the whole of Ireland being an island! The reality is that Sunday golf was forbidden at Royal Dublin Golf Club, so in 1887, a group of men keen to find somewhere to play on a Sunday rowed across the channel separating Malahide from a spur of land to the north known locally as the Island (even though it isn't an island) to find somewhere suitable for a new golf links.
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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