With Rory McIlroy sitting proudly at the top of the world rankings, Irish golf's profile is bigger than ever before and that is mirrored by Golf Monthly's latest list of top 100 golf courses in the UK and Ireland.
The top UK consumer magazine published its biennial list of must-play courses at the start of this month and Ireland features prominently with nearly 25 per cent of the venues from its shores and a significantly higher percentage making the grade than England, Scotland and Wales - when compared to the total number of venues open for play in each.
Royal County Down has confirmed its reputation as one of the top courses in the world by being named at number two in the table - compiled by a combination of the magazine's staff, its readers and an advisory panel of industry experts - being rated above the likes of Open Championship venues St Andrews, Turnberry, Royal Birkdale, Royal St George's, Royal Lytham and Carnoustie.
Royal Portrush's Dunluce Course, host for this year's Irish Open, features towards the top in 12th position, sandwiched by popular venues Waterville and Ballyunion Old, while two more Co. Kerry golf courses Tralee (51st) and Killarney Killeen (87th) also receive recognition.
Dublin and the east coast of Ireland are well represented with Portmarnock Old (29th) and Portmarnock Links (90th), County Louth (56th), The K Club's Palmer Course (65th) and The Island Golf Club (79th) all being mentioned.
Doonbeg and Lahinch Old, two of the favourite golfing destinations in Co.Clare, are listed at 22nd and 23rd respectively in the elite table alongside renowned links venue Old Head of Kinsale (38th), while courses on the west and north-west Irish coastlines to be rated highly include Rosapenna Sandy Hills (42nd)), Ballyliffin Glashedy (74th) and Carne (96th).
With Northern Ireland's Lough Erne Resort (63rd), Co. Wicklow golf courses The European Club (17th) and Druids Glen (71st), Mount Juliet in Co. Kilkenny (83rd) and Adare Manor in Co Limerick (98th) also receiving accolades, the future continues to look bright for Ireland as one of the leading golf destinations in the world.
David Boyce, Tourism Ireland's head of business and sports tourism, said: "This is another glowing endorsement in what has been a memorable year for golf in Ireland.
"Not only do we have some of the finest venues anywhere in the world but the courses and welcome that golfers will receive is second to none, making it the perfect golfing destination."
The latest Golf Monthly list completes a fantastic hat-trick for Irish golf in 2012 after its courses featured prominently in two polls carried out by leading magazines Golf Digest (US) and Golf World earlier this summer, which saw Royal County Down being named top course on both occasions.
With some of the most famous venues across the globe, Ireland offers golfers the complete package with top championship courses, stunning scenery, fascinating history and some of the best craic around.
For more information about golf in Ireland, go to www.discoverireland.com/golf.
Issued by the Azalea Group.
For more information on Tourism Ireland and pictures, please contact Pete Simm on 01730 711920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland's largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of four per cent of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2011, approximately 7.4 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (up 7% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59 per cent of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland's international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 www.discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.