Royal Portrush Golf Club
As befits a links course of such quality, Royal Portrush has hosted many major events over the years. The Irish Amateur Championships were inaugurated here in 1892, while the first professional event on Irish soil was also hosted at Portrush in 1895. It wasn’t until July 1951 though that Royal Portrush made real headlines on the world stage, when it became the first (and last) Irish golf course to host the British Open Golf Championship, an event won by Max Faulkner with an aggregate score of 285 over four rounds.
Royal County Downs
Laid out beneath the imperious gaze of the Mountains of Mourne and enjoying a magnificent setting along the shores of Dundrum Bay, Royal County Down is truly one of the world’s finest links golf courses. Walking down the first fairway with the sound of breaking waves in your ears is a truly memorable occasion and it is said that you can always spot the first time visitor to Newcastle as they can be seen walking up the first fairway backwards, so enchanting is the beauty behind. In recent years Royal County Down has hosted some major international tournaments in including the Senior British Open and the Walker Cup in 2007 which featured local superstar Rory McIlroy.
Castlerock Golf Club
Situated within minutes of Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock Golf Club is a classic links course set amid towering dunes and is a more than worthy neighbour to both these great Irish links. Today, Castlerock is rated as one of Ireland’s finest links courses and its status in the game is reflected by the fact that it hosted the Smurfit Irish PGA Championship in 2001. Comprising a mixture of inland and links holes, a round at Castlerock will test every department of a your game and the opening hole suitably reflects the exhilarating experience of playing here. Measuring only 348 yards, with the prevailing wind trying to encourage your ball into the out of bounds on the right and a plateau green waiting to receive your approach, a par four here is a good return.
Portstewart Golf Club
Situated on Ulster’s magnificent Causeway Coast, Portstewart Golf Club, the Strand Course at Portstewart Golf Club, is a difficult but fair links layout and offers magnificent views of the Donegal Hills, Atlantic Ocean, Strand Beach and the River Bann. One notable fact for the Strand Course here at Portstewart Golf Club, is that it played host as a qualifying venue for the 1951 Open Championship, as well as hosting numerous major amateur championships since it’s construction. All in all, a golfing trip to Northern Ireland would not be complete without teeing it up here on the Strand Course at Portstewart Golf Club.
Ardglass Golf Club
Located a mere 30 minutes north of Royal County Down Golf Club, Ardglass Golf Club is very much a hidden gem boasting what must be the biggest natural water hazard – the Irish Sea. The first six holes are played right on the edge of the clifftop, Ardglass Golf Club is links golf as it should be. With views of the rugged and beautiful coastline from every hole and the majesty of the Mourne Mountains providing the perfect backdrop, Ardglass has a true claim to be rate d amongst the world’s greatest links courses.