Drama is the word that best describes a golfing journey through Northern Ireland. It starts with the landscape, which is as rugged and breathtaking as any found throughout the British Isles. That landscape while a prominent aspect of nearby sightseeing venues, such as the Giants Causeway and Dark Hedges, is showcased equally across the region’s world-class golf courses.
County Louth Golf Club (Baltray)
Royal County Down Golf Club
Royal Portrush Golf Club
The Bushmills Inn
Portstewart Golf Club
The Bushmills Inn
Castlerock Golf Club
Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links
Royal County Down shines brightest among those Northern Ireland layouts, but travelers will first enjoy a proper warm-up on the Baltray Course at County Louth Golf Club, which stands along the shore of Muir Éireann less than 25 miles south of the Northern Ireland border. Here, golfers will at times be tested by the wind, they’ll be required to hit at least a few blind shots, and they’ll likely watch as at least a few of their tee shots funnel into fairway bunkers.
All of those experiences at County Louth Golf Club prepare golfers for Royal County Down, where their rounds will flow naturally from the first to the eighteenth. As one of Northern Ireland’s oldest courses, Royal County Down packages blind shots with perilous, dramatically shaped bunkers and small conservatively contoured putting surfaces that feel even smaller when winds gust in off the Irish Sea. Just across the bay, Ardglass Golf Club delivers an altogether divergent playing experience on a layout that offers views of the sea on every hole and a clubhouse first built in 1405.
Seventy-five miles to the north, travelers to Royal Portrush can walk an Old Tom Morris gem while also retracing the steps that Shane Lowry took to claim his first Claret Jug in 2019. Dramatic days on the links—nay, epic ones (think 36 holes)—can also be had just a stone’s throw away at Portstewart Golf Club and Castlerock Golf Club, two revered links courses that practically share a boundary.