Royal Portrush Golf Club – Dunluce Course
The only course outside of Scotland & England to host a British Open in 1951, Royal Portrush Golf Club Dunluce Course has views of the Irish Sea and Scotland beyond. Designed by Harry S. Colt in 1929, the course has many faces — relatively short par 3’s, long par 3’s, monstrously long par 4’s, undulating and tiered greens, as well as flat greens. Gorse, thick marram grass rough, buckthorn, and some very good bunkering abound. Portrush Dunluce hosted the Irish Open in 2012. Ranked #4 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Royal Portrush Golf Club – Valley Course
The 18-hole tract at Royal Portrush Golf Club Valley Course lies on the sea side of the Dunluce Course and is growing in stature year by year towards a championship course. Formed at the same time as The Dunluce Course, it is the home of the Ladies’ Golf Club. Although nearer the sea than the Dunluce Course, it is mostly laid out in the moderate shelter of the Old War Hollow and is therefore less exposed. One of its features is the reliance on nature for its hazards, and there are roughly only about 20 bunkers on the course.
Portstewart Golf Club – Strand Course
Portstewart Golf Club Strand Course’s front nine covers some if the most intense, high dunes land that you’ll find anywhere. Traps are intelligently placed, and the greens conform to the land’s contours. The River Bann’s presence along the back nine combines to provide you with a challenging links golf experience. In 2009 Portstewart Golf Club completed the construction of a massive new clubhouse.
Castlerock Golf Club
Castlerock Golf Club is a fine links course with great views of Scotland, the North Atlantic, the Inishowen Peninsula of Donegal, and the River Bann estuary. The course has a good intuitive layout among some high dunes. There are a few very strong par 3’s, and many of the greens are on elevated plateaus.
Royal County Down Golf Club – Championship Links
Royal County Down Golf Club Championship Links is arguably Ireland’s most beautiful links, with towering dunes, abundant heather, unbelievable bunkering, and views of the Mourne Mountains and the ocean. Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris, the links will challenge you at every turn including a number of blind shots and superb gently rolling greens. Ranked #1 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Ardglass Golf Club
Ardglass Golf Club is a nearly classic in-and-out configuration over a rather hilly links tract. The course offers terrific views of both the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea. On a clear day you can see the Isle of Mann. The course is blessed with a plethora of heather, gorse, dunes, humps, hollows, and deep frightening gorges; a wind that almost always blows; and all the other joys of links golf. Ardglass Golf Club is a great “hidden gem” and if you have time is well worth playing.