Golf In Ireland Comes Alive In “18 Greatest Holes”

Photo: 18 Greatest Golf / John Kernick

Our fantasy St. Patrick’s Day includes a sun-dappled round at a favorite Irish links – a Lahinch, Enniscrone, Royal County Down – followed by an early and extended happy hour in the clubhouse to mark the occasion. But circumstances, including the weather (this is a fantasy, remember), may call for a Plan B in indulging one’s Irish golf jones.

And it’s tough to do better than 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes, a lavishly produced, annotated, composite portrait of the game on the Emerald Isle. Written by Craig Morrison and Andrew Ross, the crew that produced the same treatment for Scottish Golf, this edition features photography by John Kernick.

You can, of course, treat the book as simple golf pornography, flipping through the images of exotic landforms. But the 271-page folio, printed by an upscale Italian house, also makes for a good read, from a foreword by Padraig Harrington to interviews with club pros, secretaries, and innkeepers, as well as golf celebrities like Rory McIlroy, Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer, and others. The non-golf photos reinforce the warmth of the place.

Meticulously rendered illustrations by Siobhan Royer-Hardy add depth to individual hole design elements and local flora and fauna.

As always, the selection of holes may invite quibbles – or, sometimes, drunken brawls – but a map of the chosen 18 suggests this may be mostly a function of geographical correctness, embracing inland and coastal examples. Certainly the majority of picks are mind-blowing, beginning with Chapter 1, the 7th hole at The European Club, a colossal par 4, with photos accompanied by remarks from the voluble Pat Ruddy, the architect.

A limited edition of 5,000 copies, 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes is published by 18 Greatest Golf and is priced at $300.

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