Royal Portrush Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,845 Yards
Royal Portrush golf links consistently rates as one of the world's top ten golf courses - and with good reason. As the holes tumble between the sand dunes on a stretch of linksland washed by the Atlantic ocean, the overwhelming feeling that this is what links golf is really about is all consuming and highly intoxicating.
Poor golf shots are penalised at Royal Portrush, whether by sand hills, gorse and other seaside shrubbery, bunkers or out of bounds. The course really doesn't need the Atlantic winds to bolster its defences but it is rare to find a day when there is anything less than a strong breeze here.
The championship links, also known as the Dunluce Links, opens with a terrifying tee-shot that must be hit between two out of bounds lines that run the entire length of the fairway. The target is no more than sixty yards wide, there is no staying short and no blasting over it. Straight or its your third shot without having taken a step!
From the first to the mighty 18th, a par-4 of 450 yards with OOB all the way up the right hand side, Royal Portrush tests your game to the limit in a thoroughly beguiling fashion. Once in trouble there is usually a chip out and you are back on track, while every error leaves you with a sense that it could have been done better.
All in all, Royal Portrush will nearly always win but will always win with a grace and charm that will make you return again and again.
(12 Jan 2005) - The full course description will be posted shortly.
Golfers playing at Royal Portrush have a number of accommodation choices inclusing Portstewart, Portrush, the larger town of Coleraine or one of the many country houses in more rural settings. A favourite amonst visiting golfers however is the pretty village of Bushmills, located about 7 miles east of Portrush and home to the Bushmills Inn, an old coaching inn. Despite protests to the contrary we suspect that the real attraction is the Bushmills Distillery which has a museum and visitor centre.
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For a guide to Nothern Ireland and its golf courses visit our regional golf pages.
Although Ireland looks pretty small on a map, being approximately the size of Vermont, journeys can take time. Royal Portrush is as far north as you can go, 150 miles (3.5 hours) from Dublin airport. From County Kerry however it is 300 miles and Waterville (see left) is 343 miles or 8.5 hours. In short, it is possible to include Royal Portrush and the northern courses combined with the southwestern links on a golf tour itinerary, but either hire a helicopter or be prepared for some long journeys!
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** This golf guide is under development and any feedback or comments are appreciated. If you have played golf in Ireland please let us know where and your thoughts on the golf courses you have played.
For suggestions on golf tour itineraries in the north of Ireland see our Ireland Golf Tours page.