Golf in Northern Ireland | Ireland Travel Guide
Royal Portrush Golf Club, County Antrim

Northern IrelandGolf

Northern Ireland Golf Regional Picks

Northern Ireland golf is probably best known for its two 'jewels in the crown' courses of Royal Portrush and Portstewart but wherever you venture won't stray too far wrong in a landscape of lakes and misty mountains. Having seen a resurgence amoungst young player over the recent years, thanks in no small part to the success of local golfing hero Rory McIlroy, while always having a strong following from foreign visitors, Northern Ireland golf is known for its challenging golf played out on a canvas of spectacular vistas.

Royal Portrush Golf Club

Par 72 • 7,319 yards

Golf has been played at Royal Portrush since 1888, but it was in 1947 that Harry Colt's 18-hole masterpiece was unveiled. It has been know ever since as the Dunluce Links. Like all great links courses, the Dunluce takes masterful advantage of an undulating coastal landscape with well-placed bunkers and merciless rough. The greens, among the best in the world, permit no lapses in concentration. Also typical of links courses is the wind and unpredictable weather. But Royal Portrush remains a fair test of the game for mid-level golfers to world-class pros. The recent addition of two new holes (7th and 8th) has taken the Dunluce to the next level and was rewarded in 2019 with the much-anticipated return of The Open. The Dunluce's sister-course, The Valley Course, would rank as a top-flight championship course if it were situated anywhere in the world but immediately next to the Dunluce.

Royal Portrush Golf Club
HoleParYards
14416
25572
33174
44479
54382
63189
75590
84430
94431
104458
115475
125530
133191
144470
154418
163236
174405
184473
Visitor Info

royalportrushgolfclub.com

Castlerock Golf Club

Par 73 • 6,767 yards

The third part of the trinity of Northern Irish Golf, Castlerock thoroughly deserves its place alongside Royal Portrush and Portstewart. Just three miles away as the crow flies, the latter's clubhouse can actually be seen from the 19th hole at Castlerock, although a 30-minute drive is required to get there via the twisting country roads of this charming coastal region. Castlerock is famed for its narrow fairways, its blind shots, its deep rough and its high sandhills. Combined with the persistently re-emerging presence of a stream throughout the course, these manifold hazards make the 18-hole championship Mussenden Course a real test for any golfer. While you may travel to this region to visit Royal Portrush and Portstewart, you would be a fool to leave without stopping at Castlerock.

Castlerock Golf Club
HoleParYards
14367
24375
35523
43200
55477
64347
74418
84411
93200
104391
115529
124430
134382
143192
155518
163157
175493
184357
Visitor Info

castlerockgc.co.uk

Portstewart Golf Club

Par 72 • 7,118 yards

One of three fine courses at Portstewart, The Strand course offers one of the most spectacular opening nines in all of world golf. The course was originally built by Willie Park Jr in 1894 and underwent later alterations under the supervision of Des Griffin. But much of what is played today is credited to an impressive 1990 overhaul. This was undertaken not by a celebrity architect or household name, but by three local men who knew the course best - the club secretary, the groundskeeper and a local school teacher. The results are a Mecca for serious golfers looking to test their links game and, for visiting any player, a serious challenge awaits.

Portstewart Golf Club
HoleParYards
14427
24366
33218
45583
54461
63143
75516
84445
94378
104407
114407
123167
135555
145522
153198
164418
174436
184471
Visitor Info

portstewartgc.co.uk

Ardglass Golf Club

Par 72 • 6,132 yards

With so many top-flight links courses in the region, Ardglass might not commonly be a tourist's first choice destination in Northern Ireland. But anyone venturing to Royal County Down, just a few miles along the coast, would be foolish not to make the detour to a course that is a challenging but fair test to players of all abilities. As with most Irish links courses, a clear day promises incredible views and, to the east, The Isle of Man adorns the vast expanse of the Irish sea. Allow time to enjoy a visit to the clubhouse which is a fourteenth-century castle, once home of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare.

Ardglass Golf Club
HoleParYards
14335
23167
34334
44375
53151
64414
73219
84439
95527
103205
115488
123198
134397
144400
155491
164422
174361
184345
Visitor Info

ardglassgolfclub.com

Royal County Down Golf Club

Par 71 • 7,204 yards

Although the course will be busy in summer, the blooming heather and gorse during the peak season make Royal County Down one of the most beautiful places to play golf anywhere on the Island of Ireland. Old Tom Morris was paid four gold guineas to build the original course in 1889 before Harry Vardon, two decades later, established what golfers enjoy today. With such a vintage, this is unsurprisingly a very traditional links with natural bunkers, blind tee shots and obscured holes on approach. That might not be to everyone's taste. But visitors from across the pond have plenty of modern courses to choose from at home in the USA. Those travelling to Ireland to experience the traditional game of the Old World should certainly make the trip to this fine example of just that.

Royal County Down Golf Club
HoleParYards
15539
24444
34477
43228
54448
64398
73145
84430
94486
103197
114440
125527
134444
143212
154467
164337
174435
185550
Visitor Info

royalcountydown.org

The Best of the Rest A directory of Northern Ireland Golf Courses