In this edition of Punch Shots, TravelGolf.com senior writers Brandon Tucker and Mike Bailey face off in a battle of the Dublins. Which one is worthy of your next golf vacation: Dublin, Ireland or Dublin, Ohio?
By BRANDON TUCKER
Who likes jumping through hoops to play private golf courses when there are so many great public courses in the world?
While the private-public scale in Ohio tips heavily toward private, the opposite is true on Éire.
Counties Clare and Kerry in southwest Ireland are the most popular, but on the busier east coast Dublin has loads of its own courses. 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, and 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 celebrates 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 annual visitors.
It's also arguably the state's best golf address, which can be attributed to the great Jack Nicklaus, who went to school and starred on the golf team at nearby Ohio State University. 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 Nicklaus massages closer to perfection with each season.
If you're lucky enough to get the invite to play the private Muirfield Village, you won’t soon forget it. I, for one, consider it one of the top three courses I've ever played.
But Dublin has a few excellent public 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 a lot closer for most of us and a little warmer.