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My All-Time Greatest Golf Vacation Experience (and a Special Offer)

by Craig Better

Jan172013

DoonbegWhat is your greatest golf vacation experience?

You know, the story that makes you smile as you’re telling it.

The one that “happens” to come up again and again, even though the trip may have taken place years ago.

Mine is a trip from 1999.

A small group of us formed a team and flew to Ireland to take on a local club in a friendly, Ryder Cup-style tournament.

Everything from the inspiring golf courses to the participants (who were of all skill levels) to the competition (which was taken seriously, but not too seriously) to the off-course socializing and camaraderie was, in a word, perfect.

Hands down, one of the best experiences of my life, which is what I tell people who ask me for recommendations or unique golf travel ideas.

Problem is, the outfit that organized my trip isn’t around anymore.

But, I recently found something even better:

Great Irish Links Challenge logoIt’s called the Great Irish Links Challenge.

Similar idea in that it’s a friendly event composed of four-person teams of all skill levels (handicaps are used), but it’s much more high-profile.

By that I mean you get to play three courses ranked in Ireland’s top-10 and the world top-100:

Ballybunion (Old), Lahinch (Old), and Doonbeg.

And, you get to play them for a pretty sweet price.

The per-person entry fee for this four-day event (May 6-9, 2013) is only €595 (about $790).

Plus, if you identify yourself as a Golf Vacation Insider reader, you’ll get an additional, free practice round at Doonbeg.

I just checked, and the golf alone on these courses in May would cost about €550 ($732).

But in addition to your golf fees, the tournament price also includes:

  • Transportation from Shannon Airport to the five-star Lodge at Doonbeg
  • A welcome reception
  • Tournament gifts
  • Daily breakfast
  • Daily transportation to and from each course
  • Daily prizes
  • A final-night dinner and awards ceremony
  • Note: lodging is extra; Doonbeg (below) is recommended, not required

A room at the five-star Doonbeg LodgeYou also get the chance to do things that are, frankly, priceless.

If previous years’ events are any indication, you’ll also be playing and partying alongside some famous athletes and celebrities.

Football great Dan Marino, basketball star Ray Allen, and former Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker all attended over the last few years (Rucker even performed a few times).

“A tremendous experience…I’m definitely looking forward to going back next year.”
- NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino

“Promises were kept and delivered…expectations were met and exceeded…The Great Irish Links Challenge offers an unforgettable experience in the west of Ireland.”
- CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz


Play Ballybunion, Lahinch and Doonbeg in
The Great Irish Links Challenge for only €595
Small logo
May 6-9, 2013. Free Practice Round for GVI Readers
Click here to learn more
or call toll free: 1-866-366-6234

Here’s the 2013 trip itinerary:

(In May, average high temperatures are in the 60s and it’s one of the driest months of the year.)

Monday, May 6
Arrive at Ireland’s Shannon Airport and transfer to Doonbeg for team registration, your complimentary practice round, and an evening welcome reception

Tuesday, May 7
Breakfast, then golf at Ballybunion, Lahinch, or Doonbeg (you’ll play all the courses, one per day)

Wednesday, May 8
Breakfast, then golf

Thursday, May 9
Breakfast, golf, then dinner and an awards ceremony including live entertainment

Gorgeoues seaside golfBy the way, you don’t need to be a member of a club to enter this event and you don’t need to be a great golfer.

You don’t even need to field a four-person team.

If you’re only two, for example, they’ll pair you with another twosome (but you can play with your partner the entire time if you want).

Bottom line:

Playing golf in Ireland is a great experience.

Playing golf in Ireland on some of the world’s best courses is an even greater experience.

But playing golf in Ireland on some of the world’s best courses — with your teammates and a little something riding on it — is absolutely priceless.


Play Ballybunion, Lahinch and Doonbeg in
The Great Irish Links Challenge for only €595
Small logo
May 6-9, 2013. Free Practice Round for GVI Readers
Click here to learn more
or call toll free: 1-866-366-6234

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