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The North/Northwest region of Ireland, which encompasses counties in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has quickly become the must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts.
Ireland’s North and Northwest areas have greatly increased in popularity in recent years thanks in part to the continued rising success of local boys Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. While their success on the PGA TOUR has brought a greater awareness to this region, locals and golf fanatics alike have always had this region on their radar. Filled with quaint Irish towns bustling with personality and home to the country’s most cherished links courses, this region is an absolute must for the avid golfer. From Rosapenna and Ballyliffin, to Portstewart and Royal Portrush; the only course in Ireland to ever host a British Open Championship and site of the 2019 Championship; you won’t have a problem filling your days with unforgettable golf here. Off the links, take in sights such as the famous Bushmills Distillery, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Ardglass Golf Club
Ardglass Golf Course is an 18 hole links course on the north-eastern coast of Ireland with many stunning views and excellent and unique golf holes. The course is just 50 minutes by car from Belfast and only 30 minutes from the world renowned Royal County Down golf links at Newcastle. The course hugs the coastline, with no fewer than 8 holes where the Irish Sea coastline comes into play and is visible from all 18 tees and greens.
Narin & Portnoo Golf Club
If you are looking to golf in Ireland, Narin and Portnoo Golf Club is situated in a beautiful seaside resort in County Donegal in the northwest of the country. It is considered one of the finest natural and scenic 18-hole links Golf courses in Ireland, with sweeping views of Gweebarra Bay. Opened in 1930, it is engagingly old-fashioned, with a meandering routing over and around the dunes. The course has recently been re-developed and the new par 73 layout offers a range of teeing areas and challenges to suit all golfers. All manner of shots are required here: draws around sharp dog-legs; crisp irons to par threes over cavernous terrain; accurate tee shots down snake-like fairways, some wide and some not so generous; low trajectory shots into the Atlantic breezes; high shots down-breeze into raised and firm greens; chip and run shots over the mounds and dips. Throughout the adventure, all are captivated by the scenery and once experienced, it’s a course to which golfers return again and again.
The hands of golfing greats have shaped and moulded the golf links at Rosapenna. In 1891, while a guest of Lord Leitrim at his nearby estate, Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, a winner of four British Opens in the 1860’s took a drive to enjoy the Donegal scenery. Morris was quick to see the golfing potential of this fine stretch of Donegal coastline and he staked out the first Rosapenna Links. In 1906 James Braid & Harry Vardon both travelled to Rosapenna for an exhibition match and made some alterations to the links, mostly adding length and some detailed bunkering. A full century later Frank Casey, today’s owner of Rosapenna, dreamed a dream, a second 18 hole golf links in the dunes overlooking the Old Tom Morris masterpiece. He entrusted the realisation of this dream to Pat Ruddy who mastery of links design is matched only by his knowledge and enthusiasm for the game of golf and the Sandy Hills Links was born in 2003. Rosapenna Golf Resort is now home to two of the finest courses to be found – The Old Tom Morris Links and the new Sandy Hill Links.
Royal County Down
The No. 3 World Ranked Course, Royal County Down is located in one of the world's most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay and zig zag back and forth, providing different vistas from virtually every hole.