Best Courses in Northern Ireland
Ballyliffin Golf Club
36 holes of links golf at its finest. Just 26 miles from Derry, Ballyliffin is only 20 miles from the most Northerly point in Ireland. Ballyliffin's Old course is sublime - a terrific links of the truer kind where the luck of the bounce plays as much a part as good striking. The more recent Glashedy course is even better - at TMGT we can't choose between it and Belmullet for the honour of best course in Ireland.
Old Course: Par 71 - 6,612 Yards - Eddie Hackett
Glashedy: Par 72 - 7,135 Yards - Pat Ruddy & Tom Craddock
Castlerock Golf Club
Completing a triumverate of superb links courses on the north coast, Castlerock is set among rolling sand dunes. The championship Mussenden course is a par 73 measuring 6,713 yards. It's best known hole is the par-3 fourth (Leg o' Mutton), 200 yards framed on either side by a railway line and a burn with an elavated green. Castlerock hosts the mouth of the River Bann and has superb views to Donegal and to Scotland and the Isle of Islay.
Par 73 - 6,713 Yards - Ben Sayers, Harry S. Colt
Donegal Golf Club
It's hard to compete with Ballyliffin and Belmullet, but Donegal (also known as Murvagh) certainly does. A massive links (7,300 yard from the tips) isolated between a forest and the wild Atlantic, Donegal is a beguiling challenge - the peace and serenity belying the daunting nature of the links. Another Eddie Hackett design, Donegal will probably beat you up and invite you back.
Par 73 - 7,295 Yards - Eddie Hackett
Dunfanaghy Golf Club
Dunfanaghy is one of those fascinating links courses that provides entertainment rather than punishment. Not to be underestimated with a par of 68, Dunfanaghy provides respite from the rigours of the bigger links courses. A chance to restore confidence and enjoy some fantastic scenery in a wonderful village atmosphere.
Par 68 - 5,771 Yards - Henry Vardon
Portstewart Golf Club
For a long time Portstewart was overshadowed by it's near neighbour Royal Portrush. However the addition of seven new holes through the dunes in the late 1980's has made the Strand Course a must play for the visiting golfer. The first hole is widely regarded as the best opening hole in Ireland. Portstewart offers a stern test on a true links course with superb greens that are always in top condition.
Par 72 - 6,895 Yards - Des Giffin
Portsalon Golf Club
In a remote and beautiful setting, Portsalon is a true hidden treasure. A marvellous links on the Fanad peninsula, Portsalon provides a bracing opening 3 holes before continuing through traditional linksland with a variety of fine holes. A major redesign project, undertaken by the renowned architect Pat Ruddy, has been completed (2003) and will propel Portsalon into the premier league of Irish links courses.
Par 72 - 7,120 Yards - Mother Nature
Rosapenna Golf Club
Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris and later improved by James Braid and Harry Vardon, Rosapenna is a charming links. The first ten holes play along Sheephaven Bay between the beach and a range of tall sand dunes. The last eight play inland and uphill in meadow where the high grounds present distracting and delightful views. The 2003 addition of the Sandy Hills course provides another 36-hole facility in Ireland's North West.
Old Tom Morris Course: Par 70 - 6,514 Yards - Braid/Vardon
Sandy Hills Course: Par 71 - 7,155 Yards - Pat Ruddy
County Sligo Golf Club is one of Ireland's great Championship Links located on the Rosses Point peninsula, 6km from Sligo. Established in 1894, the present Championship links was designed in 1927 by the famous golfing architect, Harry S. Colt, with a variety of holes to create a test for the very best golfers. Over the years legendary players such as Walter Hagen, Bobby Locke, Henry Cotton, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Darren Clarke have made the pilgrimage to this classic course that lies under the imposing shadow of Ben Bulben.
Par 70 - 6,041 Yards - Harry S. Colt
Host course to the 2004 Senior British Open (which was also held here from 1994-1999), Royal Portrush is consistently ranked as one of the world's greatest golf courses. The dramatic sea views should not (but do!) divert one's attention from the serious challenge posed by the 6,900 yards. The signature hole (14th) is named "Calamity Corner", a par-3 that requires almost 200 yards of carry to a perilously perched green with a huge fall to the right. The Dunluce course is given its name by the 13th century castle, the ruins of which overlook the course.
Par 72 - 6,845 Yards - Harry S. Colt
Opened in 1992, Slieve Russell has recently been voted in the top twenty inland courses in Ireland. The unique design of the course incorporates the beauty of the local lakes and the drumlin landscape of County Cavan. The signature hole is probably the par-5 13th - a crescent shaped hole that bends around a lake and forces a choice on each shot of how safe (or bold!) to be. Slieve Russell has a 4**** hotel on site.
Par 72 - 7,053 Yards - Paddy Merrigan