36 Golf Links Rd,
Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AN
18 holes. Seaside links. Undulating terrain - a few slopes to climb.
Championship Links: original nine-hole layout by George L. Baillie (1889); extended to 18 holes by Old Tom Morris (1890). Various modifications made by George Combe (Club Capt), James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Harry Vardon and Ben Sayers (early 1900s). 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: laid out by Old Tom Morris.
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).
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 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.
Visitors welcome on weekdays (except Weds) and Sundays (pm).
Must book in advance. Handicap required.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2020].
This is a walking course. Caddies available. Golf carts (buggies) are not permitted.
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.
World: 6th best course in the world (GOLF magazine, 2020/21).
GB&I: 2nd best course in Britain & Ireland (Golf World, 2020/21).
Ireland: 2nd best course in Ireland (Golf World, 2019).
Ireland: 50th best course in Ireland.
Downs Road, Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AH
+44 (0)28 4372 1006Visit 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.
Royal County Down (o.3 km)
Ardglass (21 miles)
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