Station Rd, Craigavad,
Holywood, Co. Down BT18 0BP
18 holes. Tree-lined & open parkland. Undulating terrain - several slopes to climb.
Woodland and river estuary.
8 miles NE of Belfast
From the A2 heading east from Belfast and between Holywood and Crawfordsburn, turn left into Station Road direction Guide Association Lorne House (this comes o.3 miles east of the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum). After passing under railway bridge, golf entrance is on your right.
The Royal Belfast Golf Club: Scenically this is the most spectacular golf course in Belfast and its right up there with some of the best in the UK and Ireland. The early parts of the course, including two superb opening par 4's, provide wonderful views over Belfast Lough (the wide estuary that leads shipping into Belfast harbour).
The course is laid out on partly-wooded, partly-open land that slopes down to the Lough's shoreline, with no end of good quality and challenging golf holes along the way. The uphill par-3 11th, starts near the shoreline and requires a blind shot up a gorse covered hill, only the flagstick provides a sighter to aim at. The long par-4 12th also requires a blind drive, and is another potential card-wrecker. Inevitably there is some climbing to do on this undulating layout, but the reward for your physical efforts are great indeed.
Colt's skilful layout contains his trademark subtly-sloping good-quality greens, often defended by solid bunkering. Just about every hole offers wonderful views. Some would argue this is not Harry Colt at his best; clearly they haven't played here, or if they did, the weather must have been atrocious.
Visitors welcome on weekdays and weekends (Saturdays usually after 4:30pm).
Must book in advance. Handicap required.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2018].
Players generally walk this course. Golf carts available for hire (book in advance).
Established in 1881, Royal Belfast has long been recognised as the oldest golf club in all of Ireland (although the Royal Curragh Golf Club, established in 1858, would now appear to have a strong claim as Ireland's oldest club and course). Royal Belfast's Ladies Branch started life in 1888.
The stately mansion house (now clubhouse) and grounds were bought by the club for £6,000, and were then transformed in 1925 into the current Harry Colt layout. In the club's early days, golf was played on common land, with the golfers wearing bright red jackets so they could be seen by other users of the common land. Two of these jackets are on display in the clubhouse.
Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) conferred the Royal prefix on Belfast GC in 1885. By royal prerogative, three Northern Irish golf clubs use the "Royal" title, namely: Belfast, Portrush and County Down.
2019 Golf World rating: 74th best course in Ireland.
Bangor Road, Holywood, Belfast BT18 0EX
+44 (0)28 9042 1066Visit website
The Knock; Belvoir Park; Malone
26 - 28 Quay Street, Bangor, Co. Down BT20 5ED
+44 (0)28 9127 1866Visit website
Royal Belfast; The Knock; Belvoir Park; Kirkistown Castle (25 miles); Malone (25 miles).
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