Since I’m back in the U.S. and have had a little time to reflect on our team’s fantastic Eggsplorations trip to Northern Ireland, it’s time for a few superlatives!

Favorite par 3 – No. 9 at Castlerock – You could call this par 3 a short par 4. It’s a beast. Playing into the prevailing wind, this 220-yarder often calls for some lumber off the tee. The green sits below some stunning dunes and is semi-concealed. A natural kicker slope on the left is also hidden from the tee but will funnel shots onto the green. Missing right is no good.

Favorite par 4 – No. 9 at Royal County Down – It’s hard to do better than one of the most spectacular holes on earth. Before Harry Colt came to Newcastle in 1926, there were two holes on the land the ninth currently occupies. Colt got rid of those holes and rerouted the eighth up a ridge, setting up the creation of this unbelievable 483-yard par 4. The blind tee shot plays over the ridge and down to a low, flat fairway with epic sand dunes along the left side. Playing close to the dunes gives the best angle into the green, which pushes into a dune on the right. The safer you play off the tee, the more that dune obscures the green, and the worse your angle. An epic hole to look, for sure, at but also strategically sound.

Favorite par 5 – No. 4 at Portstewart – This par 5 follows a quartet of the most epic opening holes in the world. The dunes get a bit smaller here, and this fantastic 583-yard hole serpentines through them. It’s feasible to get home in two but a tall order thanks to the green’s vicious false front.

Favorite front nine – Royal County Down – It’s almost a spiritual experience: the Mourne Mountains to the south, the Irish Sea to the east, and majestic sand dunes everywhere else you look. This front nine arrests your attention with its beauty and its sublime golf architecture. Its sequence of nine consecutive world-class golf holes might not have an equal anywhere else in the world.

Favorite back nine – Royal Portrush – There isn’t a weak link on this side. Even the holes of lesser merit still have plenty of interest—think of the par-3 13th, with its steep fall-away slope which makes any shot with the wind a devilish proposition. So every hole is strong, but the closing stretch of Nos. 15-18 is the clear standout, and in the discussion for best finishing stretches in championship golf.

Most surprising course – Baan Course at Castlerock – Castlerock’s “wee course” was one of the most scenic courses we saw on this trip, not to mention one of the most fun. This nine-hole short course has a mixture of par 3s and short par 4s, along with an epic bunker-less par 5 along the sea. Make sure you keep the ball in play, otherwise you might run through a few golf balls.

Best Guinness – Ardglass clubhouse – We scoured Northern Ireland for this. Perhaps it was getting off the course after a day on which we battled 40-degree temperatures and winds upwards of 40 mph, but the Guinness we had at Ardglass really hit the spot. I think that’s part of it: in searching for the best Guinness, you realize the events leading up to the first sip, the people you are with, and the time you are having can all enhance the taste.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter as part of a special series of Eggsplorations dispatches, sponsored by Tourism Ireland. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.