In this edition of Punch Shots, TravelGolf.com senior writers Brandon Tucker and Mike Bailey face off in the battle of the Dublins. Which one is worthy of your next golf vacation: Dublin, Ireland or Dublin, Ohio?
By BRANDON TUCKER
When you include all the great Columbus-area courses like Tartan Fields, Scioto and Alister Mackenzie's OSU Scarlet Course, Dublin is among our country's finest pockets of golf courses. But the only really great public course in the area code is Longaberger Golf Club - and that's a 56-mile drive from Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village.
Who likes going through hoops to play privates when there are so many great public courses in the world - and that's the Columbus area's downfall. And it's also why the original Dublin is a superior golf town.
Counties Clare and Kerry in southwest Ireland are the most popular golf tour on Eire. But on the busier east coast, Dublin had loads of its own courses, you're just going through denser roads to get there compared to the rural west. You can stay in a hotel or B&B in the city center to take in the culture and pub life and be on the road to a different golf course every morning.
Not far north from Dublin's town center is Portmarnock Golf Club. Some call it the top links golf course in Ireland, though it's universally considered a Top 10 mainstay. Dublin is also unique for Bull Island, a strip of nature preserve in Dublin Bay home to Royal Dublin Golf Club and St. Anne's Golf Club next door.
Relatively new properties make Dublin even brighter. About an hour south, the European Club features 20 holes all set on some of Ireland's finest links land. You can also indulge at the K Club in nearby Kildare, the 2006 Ryder Cup host that's home to a five-star hotel and Arnold Palmer golf course - a must-stop hotel especially if you've got the lady with you.
They love Americans in Ireland as much as so many of us love going back to our Irish roots on the old sod. Here, you'll visit historic
castles, drink the world's freshest Guinness and enjoy colorful local pub chat into the wee hours.
In Dublin, Ohio, you'll be at a T.G.I. Friday's in a strip mall listening to scarlet-and-gray-clad locals badmouthing the Southeastern Conference.
By MIKE BAILEY
Dublin, Ohio, as you might expect, was named for Dublin, Ireland, or more specifically, the birthplace of one of its founders. This once tiny suburb of the capital city of Columbus not only celebrated St. Patrick's Day, but it also has a huge Irish festival, which brings in bands from other states and Ireland and attracts 100,000 visitors annually.
It's also arguably the state's best golf address, which can be attributed to the great Jack Nicklaus, which went to school and starred on the golf team at nearby Ohio State. For it was the Golden Bear who founded one of the most beloved golf tournaments in the world, the Memorial. And it's played on arguably Nicklaus' best design of all time, Muirfield Village, the Augusta National-inspired layout that the Nicklaus massages closer to perfection with each season.
But Dublin has a few other excellent golf venues as well. For example, there's the award-winning Longaberger Golf Club. The Golf Club of Dublin, designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, is a terrific links-style layout with 1,800 feet of hand-stacked rock walls, fescue-covered dunes and water on 17 holes. And Foxfire Golf Club has 36 holes of pure public golf, including the always difficult Foxfire Players Club. Additionally, Riviera Golf Club is home of the American-Italian Golf Association. And Tartan Fields Golf Club, used to have an LPGA event.
Ohio may not be Ireland, but it's a heck of lot of closer for most of us and a little warmer.