Get lucky with the Irish: Northern Ireland’s hidden gems 

16th May, 2022 by The Caddie

A place with picturesque golf courses and stunning views along with friendly towns – what could be better than that?  Northern Ireland; Bunkered Golf Breaks latest region to be added to the family. This week The Caddie takes a look at some of the top golf courses Northern Ireland has to offer, and what to get up to when you are there.  

Royal County Down – Championship Course 

Located in Newcastle, (No, not that Newcastle) Royal County Down opened its doors in 1889 by a group of local businessmen from Belfast. Since then, its growing landscape has become one of the best golf courses in the world, in fact it’s classed as the number one golf course in the UK (top100golfcourses).  

The front nine has got some of golf’s best holes, in particular the 4th and 9th. These two signature holes are highly admired by members and visitors. The 4th, a long par 3 measuring out at 215 yards, is a hole with no room for error. Options to run it up to the hole can be done, but visitors should be aware of the six bunkers surrounding the area and the gorse bushes parallel to the green.  

The beautiful mountain peaks which you see in the background of the below photo sits behind the hole (at a distance) and encapsulates golf in Northern Ireland with it’s scenic views.  

The long par 4 9th runs at 427 yards and is one of Royal County Downs most photographed holes. The tee box sites high on an elevated angle providing golfers a view right over the Slieve Donard peak – a truly stunning hole.  

Royal County Down

(Royal County Down)  

The course nestles nicely into the mountains of mourne and is only an 11 minute walk to the town centre. For food, we highly recommend Villa Vinci, a beautiful Italian restaurant which sits on main street. Expect great food, drinks and a friendly environment for everyone to enjoy, it really is a must visit.  

Malone Golf Club  

Located further North and only 5 miles outside of Belfast city centre, Malone Golf Club is one of Northern Ireland’s best parkland courses. Designed to test golfers’ accuracy on every hole as the course is surrounded by trees both left and right of the fairway – it’s definitely a course where smart golf is required.  

Having had many changes over the years, Malone Golf Club measures at over 6,600 yards. The front nine is called Drumbridge and the back nine is called Ballydrain – both named after the local areas that surround the course. Remembered for its memorable holes with two, in particular, standing out; the 15th and 18th.  

Malone Golf Club

(Malone Golf Club) 

The 15th, a short par 3 measuring 130 yards of the whites provides a real test. Not the longest by any means however, a carry over the lake is required to get close to the green, amazing what a hole with water surrounding it can do for the nerves! The same lake appears again on the 18th. Measuring 425 yards with water on the right-hand side, golfers are urged to keep it left at all times and not cut the corner…easier said than done.  

Located 5 miles outside of Belfast City Centre, Malone golf club is a great location to get to and from the city. A whole range of pubs, restaurants and cafes for everyone to enjoy. In particular, John Long’s, Belfast’s best fish and chip shop. You can take away or sit in but guests are told to get there quickly as it’s known for its queues, especially if the sun is out.   

Castlerock Golf Club 

Placed in the heart of the Causeway Coast, Castlerock Golf club lies in the mouth of the River Bann where it connects with the Atlantic Ocean. On a beautiful summer’s day, you can actually see the hills of Donegal, showcasing the beautiful scenery that is to offer.  

A friendly neighbour to the famous Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock often lives in the shadow of them; however, The Caddie disagrees and in fact we think Castlerock matches the standards of Portstewart and Royal Portrush.  

Measuring just over 6,500 yards off the white tee’s, the course is designed to test your golfing ability in every way. The wind is a huge factor here, given it sits right on the Causeway coast, there’s very few days where the wind doesn’t swirl, however, that’s links golf for you.  

Castlerock 2019

(Castlerock Golf Club)  

Key holes which stand out are the 4th, known as ‘Leg O’ Mutton”, and the 6th. The 4th is an 84 yard par 3 which runs the entire length of a railway line and alongside a burn which crosses the middle of the fairway. Golfers need to catch one good here and keep it right to avoid hitting the water. The 6th measures at 336 yards, and golfers need to think smart. For long hitters, a long iron could be the club here to avoid hitting the burn which sits right in front of the green bump. Runs are out of the equation also, otherwise a shot penalty will be given.  

Enjoy a pre-round breakfast at the famous Surf Shack Coffee shop. Situated two minutes away from the golf club, it’s the perfect location to enjoy a nice breakfast before taking the fairways. Stunning views of Castlerock beach allow guests to relax and watch the world go by.  

Playing in Northern Ireland is a must-for every golfer. It’s fantastic landscape offers you the chance to play some of the most beautiful courses in the world, and the Irish hospitality off-course is unrivalled. What are you waiting for? Contact one of the team today! 

Call us on 0141 212 8889 to help you start planning a dream golf break today or look at our current offers here.