Royal County Down Golf Club

5+ (5 gold): one of our top-rated 5-star courses, worhty of 5½ stars.
   Royal County Down Golf Club Est. 1889

Photos Royal County Down Golf Club

The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Where2Golf says: 

Royal County Down Golf Club provides an unforgettable golfing experience. Revered throughout the golfing world for its scenic beauty, this full-blooded links golf course weaves its way through towering sand dunes. Key ingredients in the visual feast are ever-present views of the magnificent Mountains of Mourne, which sweep down to the Irish Sea.

This undulating course, laid out alongside Dundrum Bay in two nine-hole loops, will challenge every part of your game. Tightish fairways, "bearded" bunkers and domed sloping greens create a classic links test at every hole. Catch this course in the spring, and abundant gorse bushes blaze with yellow flowers; in high summer an equally abundant profusion of heather provides a mauve carpet beyond the firm, fast-running fairways. On a first visit it is worth taking a caddie with several blind shots to be made. Without a caddie, white marker stones will guide you over the dunes when hitting blind.

The 486-yard par-4 ninth is one of the most photographed holes in world golf. Your tee-shot is played up and over a huge sand hill to a fairway some 60 ft below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two threatening bunkers to a raised green.

Playing to your handicap on this wonderfully natural duneland links is a worthy but seldom achieved aspiration, especially on a first outing here. If the weather is seriously baring its teeth, just keeping warm and dry maybe become your highest priority. Whatever the weather and whatever you score, a round at Royal County Down is one of golf's greatest treats.

Royal County Down's Annesley Links, may weigh-in at just over 4,500 yards, but the club's No.2 course punches well above its length. It's tight fairways, small greens and abundant bunkering are a match for high and low handicappers alike. The middle section of the layout wraps around the far end of the Championship course, where the dunes are at their biggest, and the sea views at their best.

List of courses in Ireland - North

Map of courses in Ireland - North
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

Making Contact

The Royal County Down Golf Club
36 Golf Links Rd,
Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AN
Northern Ireland
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Office   +44 (0)28 4372 3314
Pro Shop   +44 (0)28 4372 2419

  +44 (0)28 4372 6281

The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Golf Pro
Kevan Whitson (Head Golf Professional)
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

About the course

The course: 18 holes. Seaside links.
Undulating terrain - a few slopes to climb.
Surroundings: Coastal duneland.
Designer: Original nine-hole layout by George L. Baillie (1889); extended to 18 holes by Old Tom Morris (1890). During the early 1900s various modifications were made by George Combe (Club Capt), James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Harry Vardon and Ben Sayers. In 1925 Harry Colt made further modifications, creating the famous par-3 4th and par-4 9th holes. Further changes by Donald Steel (1997 & 2004).

Annesley Links laid out by Old Tom Morris.
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
  Men Back Men Front Women Front
Yards 7181 6651 6243
Par 71 71 76
SSS or Slope 74 72 75
At the Same Location:
Above distances are for the Championship Links. Also at Royal County Down is the 18-hole Annesley Links (par-66; 4681 yds from back tees).
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

How2Get There?

30 miles S of Belfast
Royal County Down is located at the northern end of Newcastle town centre and close to the sea, behind the Slieve Donard Hotel. From the A2 at northern end of Newcastle, follow town centre sign. Then turn left into Railway Street and left again into Golf Links Road. After o.2 miles golf entrance is in front of you.

Essential information

Green Fees:
Visitor fee, 18-holes in high season on Championship course (May thru' Oct): weekdays £270; Sundays (pm) £280. Annesley Links (April thru Oct): £50. Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2020].
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Who can play and When?
Visitors welcome on weekdays (except Weds) and Sundays (pm).  Must book in advance. Handicap required.
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Other Information
This is a walking course. Caddies available. Golf carts (buggies) are not permitted.

Practice facilities
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

Did you know?

Opened in March 1889 as a nine-hole course, Old Tom Morris from St Andrews was commissioned to travel across from Scotland, inspect and improve the existing holes and add nine more, for a fee "not to exceed £4". Thankfully for him, the terrain he had to work with offered an ideal canvas on which to create a great links golf course, with views to match. Looking to the south-west from the course you'll enjoy magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains (weather permitting!). The highest point in the range (850 m), is the peak known as Slieve Donard, from which the neighbouring hotel takes its name.

Edward VII conferred the Royal prefix on County Down GC in 1908. By royal prerogative, three Northern Irish golf clubs use the "Royal" title, namely: Belfast, Portrush and County Down.

Royal County Down has hosted numerous top level competitions, including Curtis Cups and British Senior Opens. For more details see Top Golf Tournaments at Royal County Down Golf Club.

The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Published Ranking
2019 Golf World rating (Championship Links): No.1 course in Britain & Ireland. Annesley Links is rated 50th best course in Ireland.
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses


The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

Click to enlarge Google map

Latitude: (54.217826)
Longitude: (-5.884080)
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses

Where2Stay including nearby courses also detailed in

Slieve Donard Resort & Spa 4-star
Downs Road, Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AH
+44 (0)28 4372 1006

This grand and iconic hotel opened in 1897 and was originally called the Newcastle Hotel, described at that time as "the most modern and best equipped hotel in Ireland" - a standard it is never far away from to this day. The sea and mountain views from the hotel are spectacular.

Golf at this hotel No
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Golf within 5 miles Royal County Down (o.3 km)
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Golf within 20 miles Ardglass (21 miles)
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses
Only golf courses featured in are mentioned above.
The Golf Guide to the Top Courses 5

Find a course

Tip: to find a course quickly, type the first few characters of the course name
Golf course location on a golf map
Search this site


Not signed up yet?

Register now

Share us on

   Follow us on FB     follow us on Twitter


Where2Golf spotlights

For an indefinite period all the world’s professional golf tours have been suspended as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Who's Who: 
Ernie Elsthe “Big Easy” chalks up his first PGA Tour Champions win in just his third start on the Tour.

Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player: join Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to be awarded the USA’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Latest golf course reviews
Sutton Coldfield Golf Club: located to the north of Birmingham, occupies a small corner of the wonderfully expansive and natural environs of Sutton Park. Perhaps not as lauded as nearby Little Aston, and Copt Heath, this heathland gem also lays down a really enjoyable test of golf in a wonderfully natural setting. Read more... 
Walton Heath Golf Club (Old course): Top golfers and golf writers have long acknowledged Walton Heath as one of the finest heathland courses in the British Isles. In fact there are two courses here, the Old and New. Read more...
Most popular golf course videos