Royal County Down Golf Club

Last Updated:

What we say

The most complete links test combined with sublime scenery places it head and shoulders above any other course in Britain and Ireland – it needs playing a second time to be truly appreciated. In good weather, when the gorse is in full bloom, it must be the perfect experience. The course is beautiful as well as being a fantastic design with a great variety of holes that are all tough and never give time to relax. The par 3s are brutally tough.

The best front nine holes in the world? Possibly. Yes, there are half a dozen blind shots, but the fairways from these holes are more generous. The green complexes are the best in Britain; some raised, some bowl-like, some angled. Fearsome bunkers.

If the weather is kind the views of the Mourne Mountains are truly spectacular, especially if you play late on a summer’s afternoon. The clubhouse oozes history, with stories of the amateur championships it has hosted. Originally designed by Old Tom Morris, it has evolved with some of the game’s great architects suggesting improvements. The results are a life-enhancing golfing experience.

The opening three holes follow the coast northwards, before turning and twisting back to the clubhouse after nine. All are epic holes in their own right, after a gentle par-5 opener that offers deceptive difficulty if you go for the green in two.

Beware of the finish! Two of the final three (16 and 18) are first class and offer birdie opportunities as well as potential double bogeys or worse!

The one drawback? The blind water hazard in the middle of the 17th fairway, but only if you hit your best drive – hardly fair. RCD is the complete test for golfers of every ability. It’s links and heathland, all in one and every par is hard fought.

Royal County Down is widely regarded as one of the finest links in the UK, but if you're playing Old Tom Morris's masterpiece for the first time, you should be aware it's one of the quirkiest layouts around. If the wind is blowing, Co Down can be a 'hit and hope' course in that you're asked to play a series of blind shots to crisp, fast-running fairways while the bounce of the ball can be the difference between a good score and a disaster. We recommend you take advantage of a local caddie's knowledge - he could save you a lot of shots and heartache. 

It's is no stroll in the park: the long, unforgiving rough and gorse is everywhere and demands supreme accuracy while three of the par 3s measure more than 200 yards so you're often having to hit long irons into greens. Make no mistake, it's hard as nails...but you'll love every minute of it.

The Top 100 Golf Courses in Britain and Ireland

Royal County Down is one Ireland's oldest golf clubs with traditions dating back for more than a century. Situated in Newcastle, where "the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea," County Down is not only a fine test of golf but has accompanying scenery that is spellbinding.

Alongside the Championship Links, County Down has a second golf course, Annesley Links, which is nowhere near as intimidating or as formidable a challenge as the Championship Links. 

Royal County Down is currently looking forward to hosting the 2007 Walker Cup match between Great Britain & Ireland and America, becoming only the second golf club in Ireland, after Portmarnock in 1991, to host the biennial contest.

Stay & Play: Take your pick from these: Slieve Donard Hotel; Enniskeen Hotel; Donard Hotel and The Burranden Hotel.

Course Information

Course 71 par
Course Style -
Green Fees £50-£185
Course Length 6,900 yards (6,309 metres)
Holes 18
Difficulty Hard 0-10
Course Membership Private

Course Features

  • Course has: Bar
  • Course does not have: Buggy Hire
  • Course does not have: Driving Range
  • Course does not have: Practice Green
  • Course has: Pro Shop
  • Course has: Restaurant
  • Course has: Trolley Hire
  • Course does not have: Dress Code
  • Course has: Club Hire
  • Course has: Handicap

Your Reviews

  • 4.5 out of 5 Royal County Down

    By wspurdy

    A truly brillant links course. The course was in great condition when I played it in march. Make sure you bring your A game for it is a difficult course.

Write a Review

Thank you, your review has been submitted successfully and will be included on the page once approved.

Sorry, there was an error in submitting your review. Please try again later!

You must enter your name.
You must enter a valid email address.

By submitting a review you agree to be bound by our terms and conditions.

You must select a rating.
You must enter a title.
You must enter a review of between 100 and 2000 characters.