The Island Golf Club Course Review

The Island gets off to a flier with a superb opener and never lets up, with major changes to the front nine further enhancing its reputation.

The Island Golf Club
(Image credit: Steve Carr Golf)

The Island gets off to a flier with a superb opener and never lets up, with major changes to the front nine further enhancing its reputation

The Island Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 72

Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 75 2017/18 - 72 2015/16 - 75 2013/14 - 79 2011/12 - 92 2009/10 - 95

Summer Green Fees

Round: €165 Mon-Thu, €185 Fri-Sun; Day €240 Mon-Thu

Visitor Times: Welcome every day. Check for availability.

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,715 Yards

Website: www.theislandgolfclub.ie (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

There have been significant changes to the front 9. The 3rd hole has been extended into a par 5, while the 4th is now a fantastic new par 3 with views across the Irish Sea. The par-4 5th has a new tee box and the 9th is another new hole, a 409-yard par 4 playing back towards the clubhouse.

The Island Golf Club Course Review

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.

The Island is surrounded by water on three sides
(Image credit: Steve Carr Golf)

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

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.

Word of its quality is rapidly spreading, 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 through the years at the hands of Martin Hawtree and others. More drama coming home 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. The Island’s climb up the rankings this time is testament to its ongoing quest for improvement. Assessor Feedback This is a good test of golf demanding a variety of shot-making skills. The new holes certainly elevate the appearance of the course, but the standout hole for me is still the par-4 14th with its narrow fairway and wasteland estuary edge waiting on the right to catch any errant tee shots. GM Verdict The Island gets off to a flier with a superb opener and never lets up, with major changes to the front nine further enhancing its reputation.

The Island gets off to a great start on the 1st
(Image credit: Steve Carr Golf)

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.

Members crossed on a ferry to the original clubhouse
(Image credit: Steve Carr Golf)

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.

More drama coming home

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 stirring amphitheatre green on 15
(Image credit: Steve Carr Golf)

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.

Assessor Feedback

This is a good test of golf demanding a variety of shot-making skills.

The new holes certainly elevate the appearance of the course, but the standout hole for me is still the par-4 14th with its narrow fairway and wasteland estuary edge waiting on the right to catch any errant tee shots.

GM Verdict

The Island gets off to a flier with a superb opener and never lets up, with major changes to the front nine further enhancing its reputation.

 

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

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 across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. 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 well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but 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