Northern Ireland is a golfers paradise, boasting some of the best courses in Europe. From lush parkland to dramatic links, these 15 stunning courses provide both challenge and beauty.
Royal Portrush Golf Club
Located on the scenic north coast of County Antrim, the Royal Portrush Golf Club is one of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated sporting destinations. Home to 36 holes of golf, including the renowned Dunluce Links, the club traces its roots back to the late 19th century when it was founded amid the expansion of the UK railway system. Today, the challenging and picturesque Dunluce Links is a testament to the vision of course designer, H.S. Colt. Testament to its high standing in the world of golf, the club played host to the prestigious Open Championship in 2019, further cementing its reputation as a world-class golfing destination.
The Dunluce Links
Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Links is a golf course steeped in history. Nestled next to the 13th century ruins of Dunluce Castle, the course has seen its fair share of challenges, both on and off the green. The course hosted the Open Championship in 1951, and was not chosen again until 2019, following a long period of political upheaval. The famous Big Nellie bunker at the 17th hole may have been lost in the recent redesign, but the recreation of the bunker on the right side of the 7th hole is a testament to the care and attention to detail that the course designers, such as Martin Ebert, take in ensuring that every hole is a unique experience. The steep dropoff short and right of the green at “Calamity Corner,” the long par 3 hole, has become legendary among golfers. Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Links is a must-visit destination.
The Valley course
The Valley course in Portrush is a stunning addition to the famous Dunluce golf course, situated between the East Strand and the Atlantic shore’s sand hills. Despite its name, the course offers plenty of challenging humps, hollows, and undulations to keep even the most skilled player on their toes. Two of the standout holes on the front nine are the fifth and sixth, both played from the furthest point from the clubhouse. The 336-yard fifth hole is a short par four with a challenging green framed by towering dunes and deep bunkers, while the slightly uphill 237-yard sixth hole offers a green with a tantalizing tip hidden behind a dune tongue. With a par of 71 and a total length of 6346 yards, the Valley course is a must-play for any serious golfer in the area.
No matter which course you choose, both deserve a shot! The Dunluce Links is steeped in history and offers a unique challenge with its Big Nellie bunker and Calamity Corner dropoff. Meanwhile, The Valley Course provides plenty of humps, hollows and undulations that will keep even experienced players on their toes. So why not try them both?
Address: Dunluce Rd, Portrush BT56 8JQ, United Kingdom
Royal County Down Golf Club
Nestled between the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Bay, Royal County Down Golf Club is a spectacular golfing destination. Royal County Down’s pristine links course overlooking Dundrum Bay consists of two loops – the 18-hole Annesley Links and the championship 18-hole course known as The Championship Links. With its generous fairways, deep bunkers, blind shots, and hidden greens, the challenging links are sure to test all levels of golfer’s skills.
The Championship Links
The Championship Links is a golf course that has captured the hearts of golfers from all around the world. Situated against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the Links provides breathtaking views from every hole. The narrow ribbons of fairways provide a challenging yet beautiful course, as they wind through incredible sand dunes and are surrounded by vibrant purple heather and golden gorse.
The famous ‘bearded’ bunkers add to the charm of this course, with their overhanging lips of marram, red fescue, and heather. The greens on this course are fast and contoured, always testing the golfer’s skill. The ninth hole is one of the most iconic in all of golf, capturing the imaginations of golfing enthusiasts around the globe. It is a 486-yard par 4 that features a huge mound and requires a shot over two bunkers onto a raised green. The Championship Links offers a challenging yet unforgettable golfing experience for any avid golfer looking to test their skills.
Annesley Links course
Annesley Links, designed by Old Tom Morris and revamped by architects Donald Steel, Tom MacKenzie, and Martin Ebert, is a lesser-known but equally charming course that offers a lot to golf enthusiasts. Measuring 4617 yards, this public links course is a strategic masterpiece and will put your golfing skills to the test with its tight fairways and slick greens.
Although it lacks par fives, the six par threes make up for it with their unique designs. The course shares the same stunning location as the Championship Links, and golfers can immerse themselves in the gorgeous seascapes, mountains and dunes. Plus, the newly added holes nestled in the highest dunes provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. The Annesley Links at Royal County Down may be smaller than its big brother, but it’s just as awesome, and visitors are guaranteed a memorable golfing experience.
These courses are gonna offer a challenging yet unforgettable golfing experience for any avid golfer looking to test their skills.
Address: 36 Golf Links Rd, Newcastle BT33 0AN, United Kingdom
Malone Golf Club
Edenderry Golf Course is unarguably one of the most muscular courses in the country. Its elongated space, dense tree cover, and the allure of the lake contribute to its overall grandeur.
Begun as an 18-hole course, the Lady Captain Peggy Valentine enhanced it to an exceptional 27-hole layout that is the pride of golf enthusiasts.
The course’s front nine is a true test of skill, with each of the nine holes possessing its unique charms. The green’s bounce changes with the seasons, making the course more challenging. The back nine, encompassing the beautiful lake and the surrounding foliage, will definitely spike player’s adrenaline levels. The par-three challenge is a must-try, but golfers should watch out for the thirteen and the eighteenth hole as these two are the hardest to conquer.
The Edenderry nine, named after the nearby village, is, by far, the most undulating of the three nines, hosting sharply steep doglegs and surrounding waters. If you are looking for a challenging golfing experience, you need to visit Edenderry Golf Course.
Address: 240 Upper Malone Rd, Dunmurry, Belfast BT17 9GA, United Kingdom
The Roe Park Golf Course
Renowned golf course architect, Marc Westenborg, was handpicked by The Roe Park Resort to revamp holes 16, 17 and 18. With over 14 years of experience in course design under his belt, Westenborg has worked alongside the world-renowned architects at Hawtree. This resort has a reputation to uphold, having been named ‘Best Golf Resort in Ulster’ by the Golfers Guide to Ireland.
To stay at the forefront of the golfing industry, The Roe Park Resort recently introduced its ‘Golf Academy.’ Holes 16 and 17, once updated by Westenborg, now provide an even more memorable golfing experience. This perfectly sets the stage for hole 18, which holds a special place in many golfers’ hearts. With a par of 70 and length of 6180 yards, hole 18 has remained a fixture of the resort since it was built in 1993 by Westenborg and Jeff Howes.
Address: 40 Drumrane Rd, Limavady BT49 9LB, United Kingdom
Balmoral Golf Club
Balmoral Golf Club is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts visiting Northern Ireland. Founded in 1914, this stunning 18-hole, par 70 golf course, located just three miles from Belfast City Centre, is home to 1947 Open Champion Fred Daly. Measuring just over 6,200 yards, the narrow tree-lined fairways and gently sloping greens present a challenge for even the most skilled golfer, making it one of Northern Ireland’s finest parkland courses.
The course is further complemented by some of the best-kept greens, ensuring an exceptional golfing experience. Architect David Jones’ design incorporates mature trees and beautiful landscaping, creating a serene and relaxing atmosphere for golfers to revel in. So, don’t miss the chance to experience this fantastic golf course at Balmoral Golf Club.
Address: 518 Lisburn Rd, Belfast BT9 6GX, United Kingdom
Moyola Park Golf Course
Moyola Park Golf Club is a truly stunning destination for avid golfers in Northern Ireland. Situated within the peaceful woodland park of Shanmullagh, this picturesque course is widely renowned as one of the best parkland experiences in the region. Featuring a seemingly endless array of unique layouts and demanding holes, every player – regardless of their skill level – is sure to enjoy a challenging and satisfying round on the fairways and greens of Moyola Park.
With a friendly, accommodating atmosphere and exceptional facilities, including the challenging 18 hole, 6383-yard course with a par of 71, this club is the perfect choice for any serious golfer looking for an unforgettable day on the green. Whether you’re tackling the top-notch front nine or navigating the scenic back nine, featuring one of the most attractive parkland holes in all of Ulster, Moyola Park Golf Club is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Address: 15 Curran Rd, Castledawson, Londonderry, Magherafelt BT45 8DG, United Kingdom
Temple Golf & Country Club
Temple is a prestigious private resort in Northern Ireland that boasts one of the finest 9-hole golf courses in the area. The course played host to the ‘National Nines’ on two consecutive occasions, highlighting its esteemed position in the golfing world. With a par 68 and a length of 5370 yards, Temple offers a great challenge for both novice and experienced golfers.
What sets this course apart from others is its unique concept of 18 tee boxes that give a different aspect to each hole on your back 9! The course is maintained to the highest standards, ensuring year-round golfing pleasure for all enthusiasts. Schedule a tour with one of their friendly staff members to experience the thrill of playing on this impressive course.
Address: 60 Church Rd, Lisburn BT27 6UP, United Kingdom
Mayobridge Golf Club
Set in breathtaking countryside, Mayobridge Golf Club is a truly magnificent private golf club boasting an impressive 18-hole par 67 course. The course, built in 2005, is designed in the picturesque parkland style, and effortlessly follows the natural contours of the land. With its mixture of challenging par 3s, 4s and 5s, amongst glittering lakes, ancient trees, and historic farmhouses dating back centuries, this course is a feast for the senses.
But it’s not just the unique features that make Mayobridge a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. The high-quality condition in which the course is always kept ensures that every round played here is an experience to remember. And with stunning panoramic views of the Mourne Mountains and surrounding countryside, the striking scenery alone is reason enough to visit this exceptional golf club.
Address: 50 Crossan Rd, Newry BT34 2HY, United Kingdom
Blackwood Golf Centre
Blackwood is a name synonymous with excellence in Northern Ireland’s golfing world. Known as the premier “pay & play” golf facility, it boasts two 18-hole courses and a range of activities suited for golfers of all skill levels. Situated within the picturesque confines of the Clandeboye Estate, Blackwood offers a stunning backdrop of parklands just 3 miles from Bangor and 12 miles from Belfast City Centre. The championship Hamilton course with a par of 71 is the pride of the facility, but the Temple course with a par of 54 will also offer an enjoyable challenge. Blackwood also features a 26 bay floodlit driving range, putting green and short game area. The facility is the perfect choice for golfers looking for a top-notch golf experience.
The Hamilton Course
The Hamilton Course is a stunning Par 71, stretching across 6392 yards of beautiful woodland. With gorse and water features lining the course, each hole provides a unique challenge demanding different shots from players. Eleven of the 18 holes incorporate water features, making gameplay even more exciting. Moreover, the USGA Greens add to the already existing level of challenge with their slopes and undulations.
The signature hole, the 166 yard Par 3 12th is a picturesque yet demanding hole over water, testing even the most skilled golfers. Interestingly, the course offers more than just challenging golf shots. Throughout the course, players can catch glimpses of the diverse wildlife, including the resident family of swans breeding for the last two years. Putting on the USGA Greens truly is a pleasure, making this course a must-play for golfers of all levels.
The Temple is an exceptional 18 hole Par 3 golf course that was designed by Simon Gidman in 1994. The course, which is only 2492 yards long, is a miniature replica of the challenging full course, The Hamilton. Located in a beautiful woodland area, the course is lined with gorse and lakes, which add beauty as well as hazards to the game.
The Temple is a great place to improve your short game, and its bunkers and water hazards allow for a challenging game for golfers of all levels. Winding through pristine surroundings, the course is perfect for a relaxing walk, particularly for mature golfers. Overall, The Temple is a fantastic golf course that should be a must-visit destination for any professional golfer or avid fan.
Address: 150 Crawfordsburn Rd, Bangor BT19 1GB, United Kingdom
Ballyclare Golf Club
Just 1.5 miles north of the bustling market town of Ballyclare is Ballyclare Golf Club, which sits nestled within the tranquil Antrim Hills. This beautiful course, established in 1923, has quickly become one of Northern Ireland’s premier golfing destinations, attracting visitors worldwide.
Characterized by its tree-lined fairways and well-positioned sand traps, Ballyclare offers a challenge to golfers of all abilities and promises a memorable experience. In particular, the Ilsekelly River, which meanders through the course, presents a natural hazard that will test the skills of even the most seasoned players. With excellent proximity to airports and ports and only a 20-minute drive from Belfast, Ballyclare Golf Club is the perfect choice for any golfing enthusiast looking for an unforgettable break.
Address: 25 Springvale Rd, Ballyclare BT39 9JW, United Kingdom
Down Royal Park Golf Course
Down Royal Park Golf Course is one of the most highly regarded golf courses in Northern Ireland, and for good reason. Their 18 Hole Classic Course and 9 Hole Valley Course are impeccably maintained, and its heath land features and strategic hazards provide an engaging and challenging golfing experience. The course’s location is a huge plus for any golf enthusiast, as it’s surrounded by the top class Down Royal Racecourse and the sparkling River Lagan.
As if those features weren’t enough, the sandy soils and high water table mix together to form a natural arrangement of fairways and water features, making Down Royal Park Golf Course incredibly playable all year round. With the inclusion of junior and adult coaching through the Down Royal Golf Academy, any visitor is sure to leave a better golfer, with memories to last a lifetime.
Address: 6 Dunygarton Rd, Lisburn BT27 5RT, United Kingdom
Bentra Golf Course
Bentra Golf Course, positioned in the charming County Antrim town of Whitehead in Northern Ireland, is a mature 9-hole course designed to cater to both the experienced golfer and the novice. What sets Bentra apart from other golf courses in the area is its wide fairways with some long holes that ensure a steady round.
As a public/municipal golf course, Bentra offers an attractive and inexpensive day’s golf, making it a popular destination for golf enthusiasts looking to enjoy a leisurely day out. Plus, with the course open for members 7 days a week, golfers can play at their convenience. Originally designed in 1935 by James Braid, Bentra Golf Course has remained a favorite among golfers for decades.
Address: Slaughterford Rd, Whitehead, Carrickfergus BT38 9TG, United Kingdom
Foyle Golf Centre
At Foyle Golf Centre, golf enthusiasts will find that they’re well catered for with the 18 hole ‘Earhart’ championship length course. This top-quality course boasts an extensive modern drainage system and sand-based greens laid to USGA specification, providing the ideal conditions for year-round playability. The putting surfaces are famed for their pace and precision in the summer months, offering golfers of all levels a challenging round.
While those with length off the tee may initially have an advantage, accuracy will also benefit shorter hitters who steer clear of the hazards. The 4th hole, also known as ‘Thornhill’, is likely to be a highlight for many, where a par score at this Stroke Index 2 hole is certainly worth celebrating. With a long, tree-lined drive followed by a lengthy second shot into an insulating Par 4 green that’s surrounded by sand on all sides, this hole presents a true challenge.
There’s also the well-maintained 9-hole ‘Woodlands’ Par 3 and Footgolf course if you’re looking for something fun. So why not tee off in style and see just what Foyle Golf Centre has to offer?
Address: 12 Alder Rd, Londonderry BT48 8DB, United Kingdom
Mount Ober Golf Centre
Set in the heart of Belfast lies the ever-popular Mount Ober Golf Course. With a rich history dating back to 1985, the course has undergone extensive transformations over the years, with the help of passionate designers and diligent tree planting and drainage work. Today, Mount Ober Golf Course stands tall, boasting undulating parkland and stunning surroundings that are just as much of a draw as the challenging round of golf it has to offer.
This 5203-yard course represents great value for money, and while it may be tough – with a par of 67 never having been bested – golfers continue to flock to Mount Ober to test their skills. The seven par threes scattered throughout the course will lure you into a false sense of security, but make no mistake – each of them is a true card wrecker. This is a course that any avid golfer should have the privilege to experience.
Address: Mount Ober Golf Club, 24 Ballymaconaghy Rd, Belfast BT8 6SB, United Kingdom
Ashfield Golf Course
Ashfield Golf Club, established in 1990, is a parkland delight located in the heart of South Armagh. With 18 holes spanning over 5606 yards and a par 69, this championship course poses a challenge to golfers of all skill levels. Built by the brilliant architect Frank Ainsworth in 1990, this public course has everything you need for an unforgettable golfing experience.
The lush green landscape and stunning views of the surrounding countryside make for a serene and captivating game. The club is G.U.I. affiliated since 1992, ensuring that all members and guests have access to the highest standards of golfing amenities. Conveniently located just an hour’s drive from both Dublin Airport and Belfast, Ashfield Golf Club is an unmissable destination for any golf enthusiast.
Address: 44 Cregganduff Rd, Cullyhanna, Newry BT35 0NA, United Kingdom
Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging golf courses. From Ballyclare Golf Club’s tree-lined fairways to Down Royal Park Golf Course’s strategic hazards, golfers of all abilities will find something that suits their level. There’s also Bentra Golf Course, Foyle Golf Centre and Mount Ober Golf Course for those looking for a fun and challenging round. The crown jewel in the region is Ashfield Golf Course – an 18-hole championship course that’s sure to make your golfing holiday an unforgettable experience. No matter which of these courses you choose, Northern Ireland is a must-visit destination for any golf enthusiast. So why not tee off today? You won’t regret it!