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Castlerock – Mussenden Course

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Founded: 1901
Designer: Ben Sayers, Harry Colt
Championship Length: 6,713 yards
PAR: 73
Type: Links
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Who this course is best for:

A golfer who enjoys traditional links golf, a golfer playing Portstewart and Royal Portrush, a golfer who enjoys quick greens and challenging wind.


Situated within minutes of Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock Golf Club is a classic links course set amid towering dunes and is a more than worthy neighbor to both of these great Irish links. Founded in April 1901, the original course comprised nine holes and was laid out on the western part of the present course. Additional land was leased in 1908 and Ben Sayers, the professional from North Berwick in Scotland, was commissioned to design an 18-hole layout. Though better known as a club maker, Sayers produced a superb layout and insisted that the links of Castlerock would equal those at Troon, North Berwick and Sandwich.

The formal opening of the new 18 holes took place in July 1909, and the club prospered until activities declined with the outbreak of the First World War, during which time it was decided to allow sheep to graze on the course, in order to economize. Though not officially recorded, it is known that Harry Colt, while spending much time in Ireland with his work at Royal Portrush, was consulted regarding the redesign of the Castlerock links around 1930. Today, Castlerock is rated as one of Ireland’s finest links courses, and its status in the game is reflected by the fact that it hosted the Smurfit Irish PGA Championship in 2001.

Comprising a mixture of inland and links holes, a round at Castlerock will test every department of your game, and the opening hole suitably reflects the exhilarating experience of playing here. Measuring only 348 yards, with the prevailing wind trying to encourage your ball into the out of bounds on the right and a plateau green waiting to receive your approach, a par 4 here is a good return. The 200-yard par 3, 4th hole, called “Leg o’ Mutton,” is probably the signature hole at Castlerock and requires a tee shot struck over a river, with a railway track lurking to the right. Other excellent holes on the front nine include the par 4, 6th and the tough par 3, 9th, with its green surrounded by dunes.

The homeward stretch offers many interesting holes and starts with an excellent par 4, where due to some severe slopes, the fairway and green are both elusive targets. The par 5, 15th requires a tee shot, struck over a large mound to a fairway invisible from the tee, while the short par 3, 16th presents a green, encircled by bunkers and protected by some wicked slopes. Great courses offer great closing holes, and the short par 4, 18th at Castlerock is no different. Even with a good drive on this slight dogleg, due to the contours of the fairway you are often left with a relatively blind approach to a plateau green.

Course review content courtesy of Golf Publisher Syndications

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Tours that include this Course

Ardglass Golf


Experience Northern Ireland

Five rounds of golf:

  • Ardglass
  • Castlerock-Mussenden Course
  • Portstewart-Strand Course
  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course