Royal County Down

Newcastle, United Kingdom

No doubt living up to its regal moniker, Royal County Down is the best links course in Ireland, as well as the number one links golf course in the world. It was founded in 1889, making it one of the oldest courses in Ireland to boot. 

Since its inception, Royal County Down has continuously set the standard for great links golf. Golfers come from all over the world to test their game on this magical course, where the record of 66, set by James Bruen in 1939, stands to this day.

Royal County Down Golf Club is home to two 18-hole links courses, the Championship Links and the Annesley Links, both nestled in the heart of the Murlough Nature Reserve. As such, players bask in the sheer majesty of the Mountains of Mourne and Dundrum Bay whilst wending their way across these legendary links. 

Players mustn’t find themselves distracted by the natural beauty surrounding Royal County Down however, especially while playing the Championship Links. Designed in part by Old Tom Morris, the Championship Links features narrow fairways, punishing bunkers, and the ever-present wind characteristic of true links courses.

No hole sums up the Championship Links better than the ninth, a world-class, 486-yard par four where players have a blind tee shot over a large mound dropping down to a fairway some 60 feet below. The second shot is played over two bunkers before reaching a raised green. One look is all it takes to see why this is one of the most photographed holes in golf.

After testing their mettle at Royal County Down Golf Club, golfers can find respite in nearby Belfast, located only 40 minutes away. The bustling capital of Northern Ireland is home to historical attractions, such as Titanic Belfast, award-winning restaurants, and more.