Royal County Down
County Down is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Ireland with traditions
dating back for more than one hundred years.
Situated in Newcastle, where in the immortal words of Percy French,
"The Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", Royal
County Down is not only a fine test of golf but has accompanying
scenery that is spellbinding.
Alongside the Championship Links, Royal County
Down has a second course, The Annesley Links. Laid out beneath
the same massive, almost menacing backdrop, the Annesley Links
is nowhere near as intimidating or as formidable a challenge as
the Championship Links, but then it was never intended to be.
It is a course for everyone.
Golf Club Two links courses:
Best days to play Championship course Mon, Tues, Thur and Friday
Annesley any day except Sat am.
SSS (1) 18 HOLES, 7,065 yds, sss 74
(2) 18 HOLES, 4,708 yds, sss 65
November 2015 to February
2016 £60 per round
March 2016 - £85
April 2016 - £125per
May to October 2016
Weekday Mornings and
Sunday Afternoon - £200 per round
Weekday Afternoons - £185 per round
Two rounds in one day - £300.
are available throughout the summer to golfers who are members
of The GUI (Ulster Branch) and ILGU (Northern District). Contact
the Secretarys Office for details.
April 2016 to October
2016 - £40 per round
November 2015 to March
2016 - £22 per round
Length in yards Championship course 7181 yards
Annesley course 4708 yards
Par of course Championship course 71.
Annesley course 66
Handicap/certificate requirements None required
County Down has been voted the world's top golf course in the
2016 annual rankings of US magazine Golf Digest.
By Joel Zuckerman,
Golf Publisher Syndications
NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland (Nov. 16, 2002)
-- It may be an ocean away on Ireland's northeastern coast, thousands
of miles from the States, and far from the typical tourist trail.
But do yourself a favor, and don't let your golf career peter
away without a visit to Newcastle, Northern Ireland, and its extraordinary
links course known as Royal County Down.
A great golf writer once wrote of the futility
of the profession. He said there's not a description, sentence
or paragraph that can do justice to a single hole of great golf.
How then, does one do justice to an entire links course, particularly
one as astonishing as Royal County Down?
Bernard Darwin is one of the legends in the
golf writing business. He once said of County Down that it's "the
kind of golf that people play in their most ecstatic dreams."
That's an apt description to be sure, but lacking in the particulars
that help define the surreal golf experience that awaits.
One can refer to County Down as a green and
golden moonscape. It's something otherworldly, with massive gorse
covered hills in different hues of indigo and dark green, with
terrifying blind tee shots and gaping acreage of sand. One might
suggest that the course is a bit like a primeval forest, where
straying from the path, or in this case the fairway, will result
in an unpleasantness better left to the imagination.
You could focus on an unceasing, unyielding
collection of bunkers. These bearded sand chasms are as deep as
they are plentiful, covered with heather and Marram grasses. They
are as lovely as a dream from close observation, but most often
a nightmare when stuck deep within the confines.
The course sits beneath the imperious gaze
of the Mountains of Mourne, which loom heavily in the sky just
west of the links themselves. Close by Dundrum Bay, an inlet of
the Irish Sea, you'd be remiss not to take heed against the vagaries
of the weather. Rare is the day without some wind or rain, and
if the sea is boiling, watch out. The gusts on this magnificent
will topple the trolley (pull cart), bend the flagstick, bend
the ball flight and bend, perhaps even break, a player's will
The wind can blow so hard, and I speak from
personal experience, that it will jostle the contact lenses across
your pupil. Caught in a fight I couldn't win, I caved in mid-fairway.
I removed said contacts between strokes and continued the game
Why then does this potential chamber of horrors,
at least to the average player, come so highly recommended, while
occupying a worldwide top 10 ranking by most of the mainstream
golf publications? Renowned English golf writer Peter Dobereiner
said it best. "The essence of golf is to say that it enhances
the feeling that it is good to be alive. That's the first priority
and absolute justification. The links of Royal County Down are
exhilarating even without a club in your hand. This strip of dune
land was 90 percent along on the road to being a golf course long
before the game was invented."
The course is some 30 miles south of Belfast
and 90 miles north of Dublin, but it's the remote quality of the
grounds that helps to explain why County Down is so special. It's
the feeling of splendid isolation as one ambles the foot paths
or mounts the wooden steps to the next teeing grounds and encounters
yet another stirring vista. This, arguably the greatest of links
courses, is the polar opposite of a typical American golf experience.
It's as different as George Will and Will Smith.
It's normally gray, brisk and windy, not hot, muggy and sunny.
The surroundings are a color carnival of ochre, lilac and bottle
green, without a condo, road crossing, out-of-bounds stake or
lagoon to be found. The turf runs fast and hard, not soft and
spongy. Target golf, the aerial game, is left behind like golf
carts and sunscreen. Here you must learn to play the bounces.
Prepare to hit a mid-iron 230 yards downwind, but beware a driver
that can't surpass 190 when turned back into the breeze.
Dobereiner goes on to praise the easy informality
of the club members as well, a rarity in the often stuffy world
of top echelon golf. After all, how easy is it to let one's hair
down at places like Augusta National, Cypress Point, Seminole
"The Irish are the custodians of the
genuine spirit of golf," states Dobereiner, author of numerous
golf books. "They like to sling a bag across the shoulders
and have at it, with no fuss or formality. I have never felt embarrassed
or uncomfortable in an Irish golf club or golf course, which is
more than I can say for any other golfing nation."
In short, a course like County Down is a thrill
ride, joy and panic, a fearsome but fabulous trek through one
of the most memorable golf vistas imaginable. It's a journey and
an experience no matter how tough or trifling the conditions.
It's an expedition that any serious player or lover of the game
should make at least once in their lifetime.
Visitors are welcome at Royal County Down
parts of each day besides Wednesday and Saturday. Contact the
Secretary's Office to plan a visit at 44 (0) 28 4372 3314.
In 2005 the Championship Course was ranked
as the fourth best course in the world outside the United States
by Golf Digest.
The 2015 Irish Open golf tournament
was hosted by Royal County Down - the first time in 75 years
the prestigious event has been held at the Newcastle course.
Royal County Down was the venue for the
2007 Walker Cup.
the course so special? click here