The Royal County Down Golf Club

36 Golf Links Rd,

Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AN

  • Office

    +44 (0)28 4372 3314
  • Pro shop

    +44 (0)28 4372 2419
  • Fax

    +44 (0)28 4372 6281
  • Golf pro

    Kevan Whitson (Head Golf Professional)

About the course

  • The Course:

    18 holes. Seaside links. Undulating terrain - a few slopes to climb.

  • Surroundings:

    Coastal duneland.

  • Designer:

    Championship Links: original nine-hole layout by Scottish schoolteacher, keen golfer and Honorary Secretary of Royal Belfast Golf Club, George L. Baillie (1889). Extended to 18 holes by Old Tom Morris (1889/90). Various modifications (early 1900s) made by George Combe (Club Capt), James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Harry Vardon and Ben Sayers. Harry Colt made further modifications (1925), creating the famous par-3 4th and par-4 9th holes. Further changes by Donald Steel (1997 & 2004).
    Annesley Links: originally laid out by Old Tom Morris.

SSS or slope

At the same location:

Above distances are for the Championship Links. Also at Royal County Down is the 18-hole Annesley Links (par-67; 4594 yds from back tees; SSS 64).






How to get 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.

Royal County Down Golf Club (Championship Links)

5-PLUS: In the world’s elite - has few peers; one of our top-rated 5s!

Est. 1889

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 (especially tee 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. Whatever the weather and whatever you score, a round at Royal County Down is one of golf's greatest treats. And don't overlook a chance to play the club's No.2 course, the Annesley Links. It may weigh-in at just over 4,500 yards, but the Annesley punches well above its length.

Stay&Play at Royal County Down: luxury onsite accommodation available, see Where2Stay section below.

List of courses: Ireland - North


Who can play and when?

Visitors welcome on weekdays (except Weds) and Sundays (pm).

Must book in advance. Handicap required.

Green fees

Visitor fee, 18-holes in high season on Championship course (May thru' Sept): weekdays and Sun pm £325. Annesley Links (April thru Sept): £60.

Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2023].

Other information

This is a walking course. Caddies available. Golf carts (buggies) are not permitted.

Practice facilities


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.

Published ranking

Championship Links:
Ireland's No.1 course (Golf World, 2023).
Britain & Ireland's 2nd best course (Golf World, 2022).
World's 6th best course (GOLF Magazine, 2023/24) and 2nd best public access course (Golf World, 2023).
Annesley Links:
Ireland's 36th best course.
Britain & Ireland's 191st best course.


  • Slieve Donard Resort & Spa5-star

    Downs Road, Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AH

    +44 (0)28 4372 1006

    Visit website

    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:

      Royal County Down (Championship and Annesley Links).

    • Golf within 5 miles:


    • Golf within 20 miles:

      Ardglass (21 miles)

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