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Whole in one

Ireland’s golf ambassador and Open Championship victor, Pádraig Harrington, heartily agrees with the choices in the new, limited-edition book 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes…

Enniscrone Golf Course at sunset, 18greatestgolf.comAs Ireland’s golf ambassador, I take great pride in our fantastic courses, so it’s a real treat to see them celebrated in print and with such beautiful photography.

The more I play abroad, the more I appreciate how unique Ireland’s courses are. Not only do we possess some of the best links courses in the world, we’re also home to some wonderful inland courses, stretching out from magnificent stately homes into what were previously private parks and forests.

The authors of the book spent a year crisscrossing Ireland, from Ballyliffin in the north to Waterville in the south, playing its great courses, hunting out its hidden gems and even chasing many a ‘wild goose’ after a late-night clubhouse recommendation. The resulting collection is stunning.

Tralee Golf ClubWhat appeals to me is that they spent as much time interviewing the club members, greenkeepers, aficionados, golf architects and my fellow tour professionals as they did playing the courses themselves.

Some of these holes are very difficult: the 15th at Portmarnock has a simple design yet it is one of the most treacherous short holes going. Set against the coastline, in the prevailing right to left wind, many a time I’ve had to start my tee shot out over the beach. The seventh at The European Club is perhaps the toughest hole in Ireland. Even the shortest hole in the book, the slip of a par three, 14th at Doonbeg, is so short as to have a hypnotic effect on the golfer, proving that a hole does not need length to be considered great.

18 Greatest Golf HoleAll the holes are unique: the 13th at Adare Manor, set within the towering trees, was always destined to be a golf hole; the par three 14th at Portrush, nicknamed ‘Calamity Corner’, sometimes requires a driver just to reach; the 16th at the K Club is a great risk/reward hole; while the reachable par four 10th at Lough Erne tempts you to drive from the tee to hit the green sat out in the lough. The ninth at Royal County Down is perhaps the most photographed hole in Irish golf and one without which this book would not be complete.

As a proud Irishman I want readers to know that Ireland has literally hundreds of great courses. But this book captures some real highlights – and the newly commissioned photography is breathtaking. It feels really unfiltered and pure, rather like the Irish golf courses themselves.

18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes, £195,

Launched earlier this year, 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes is a large-format, luxury golf book limited to just 5,000 hand-numbered copies. This collectible edition with bespoke slipcase was printed and hand-finished by one of the world’s finest printers, based in Verona. It features stunning photography from regular National Geographic contributor John Kernick and beautiful illustrations and typography from leading art director Siobhan Royer-Hardy.

Readers of Brummell can qualify for free shipping when they purchase 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes. Book cans be shipped worldwide within three working days. Email quoting code BRU to qualify.