Tom Fazio’s meticulous redesign of Adare Manor’s parkland 18 is the big winner in Golf Monthly’s just-published Top 100 courses in Britain and Ireland.
The JP McManus-owned gem in Limerick is catapulted in from nowhere to No 25 in the magazine’s list of best courses.
Golf Monthly found that the “parkland gem is now genuinely the closest thing the UK and Ireland has to Augusta, with stunning conditioning, world-class green complexes and a new sub-air system to keep the playing surfaces impeccable.”
There are 21 Irish courses in all featured in the new Top 100 courses for UK and Ireland. Turnberry’s Ailsa course keeps hold of the top spot. The Top 100 is now in its eighth instalment and has been compiled by club golfers rather than by tour pros, elite amateurs, course designers or those working inside the golf industry.
The 148th Open Championship host, Royal Portrush has seen a rise of five places, moving up from 13th to 8th, but it’s not the highest ranked course on the island — that honour remains the preserve of Royal County Down, though it drops one place from third last year.
Portrush has built two excellent new holes, set amidst towering dunes which allow for the old and flatter 17th and 18th to make room for the Open tented village and other infrastructure necessary to host such an
Another sensational track, the Old Head outside Kinsale in Co Cork is up four places to 31st, just outside the top 25 which features Pat Ruddy’s superb European Club at No 18, Waterville at No 21, Ballybunion Old in 22nd place and Adare Manor a new entry at No 25. The latter is being favourably spoken of as a potential Ryder Cup venue in 2026.
Legendary course designer Fazio told the Irish Examiner in September about the scale of his brief from the McManus family for Adare Manor: “We had a good discussion, JP and I, to get a feel of what he wanted to do. It’s not about what I want to do, it’s always about what the owner wants — and what they can afford to do. I had no clue what JP and his family would do with Adare. I don’t think anybody did. I am not even sure they knew to start with they were going to go as far as they did.
“What the McManus family has created at Adare Manor, if you want an experience of world class — not just Ireland or western Europe — there is no better experience you can find than going to Adare Manor. It’s one of the best places in the world. It’s hard to explain it.”
The European Tour has confirmed it will announce the 2026 Ryder Cup venue shortly with the Limerick resort certainly in the running. Fazio has no doubts Adare Manor would prove a remarkable host: “For whatever reason there was an event, no matter what it could be, Adare Manor is ready for it. Tomorrow. The infrastructure, the parking, facilities, practice areas, every piece of it, the place is ready. This is a world deal. This is a total package and the commitment made to it makes it one of a kind.”
The top 25 courses:
1st Trump Turnberry Resort (Ailsa)
2nd St Andrews (Old, up) 2
3rd Muirfield (down 1)
4th Royal Co Down (down 1)
5th Carnoustie (Championship, same)
6th Royal Birkdale (same)
7th Royal Dornoch (Championship, no move)
8th Royal Portrush (Dunluce, up 5)
9th Sunningdale (New, same)
10th Trump International, Aberdeen (down 2)
11th Sunningdale (Old, up 1)
12th Royal Lytham and St Anne’s (down 1)
13th Royal St George’s (down 3)
14th Royal Liverpool (same)
15th Kingsbarns (up 2)
16th Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie, same)
17th Royal Troon (Old, up 3)
18th The European Club (up 1)
19th Castle Stuart (up 2)
20th Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin, up 2)
21st Waterville (down 3)
22nd Ballybunion (Old, down 7)
23rd Royal Porthcawl (same)
24th St George’s Hill (Red and Blue, same)
25th Adare Manor (re-entry).
Other Irish courses featured: 26th Portmarnock (Red and Blue, up 1); 31st Old Head (up 4); 32nd Lahinch (Old, down 4); 35th Trump International Doonbeg (down 3); 44th Rosapenna (Sandy Hills, up 1); 48th Tralee (Barrow, up 1); 53rd Co Louth (Baltray, up 2); 68th Ballyliffin (Glashedy, up 1); 75th The Island (down 3); 77th Druids Glen (down 4); 81st Mount Juliet (down 4); 89th Co Sligo (Championship, down 2); 91st Lough Erne (down 11), 93rd Enniscrone (Dunes, up 1); 97th Portstewart (new entry); 100th Ballyliffin (Old, new entry).