Castlerock Golf Club - Par 73 - 6,713 Yards (Mussenden Course)
Castlerock is a links course that is of a very high standard, maybe not quite to the same heights as its near neighbours at Portstewart and Royal Portrush but nevertheless it is a fine links. It is set among rolling sand dunes sandwiched between the sea and a railway line and bisected by the River Bann as it flows to the sea.
The two opening holes are traditional links holes requiring accurate tee-shots to find narrow, undulating fairways leading to naturally contoured greens. The next 3 holes, with par figures of 5-3-4, run along the railway line (to the right) and the threat of OOB tends to force tee-shots left and the waiting rough. The par-3 4th - Leg o' Mutton - is one of Castlerock's most famous holes, a 200-yard tee shot with OOB on both sides and a burn also running down the left hand side.
The 6th and 7th play alongside the shore. Beware of the burn that runs in front of the 6th before tackling the 'Armchair' - 418 yards tough and rated the hardest hole on the golf course. The following eighth is also plenty strong, 411 yards uphill in a step like fashion. Another 200 yard par-3 compltes the outward journey.
The homeward nine are contained within the outward loop and are all excellent links holes. The pick is probably the par-5 15th, where a blind tee-shot is followed by an undulating fairway with a lone sentinel bunker waiting to gather wayward golf balls.
The 16th is a lovely par-3 of 157 yards before a terrific finish. The long and narrow fairway on the par-5 17th is full of danger while the 18th is a sharp dog-leg to an elevated green.
Castlerock should be high on every golfers list of Irish priorities. No mention of Castlerock should be made without reference to the greens: always fast, always true and always in excellent condition.
Quotes and Comments
When the wind blows Castle Rock will challenge any of them. Portstewart has a
front nine, so so back nine. Castlerock is equally tough on both side. I've
all in NI and can tell you that Castlerock is a very good golf course. JP 22nd January 2007
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