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Royal County Down – Championship Course

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These rankings are based solely on post-trip surveys received from clients. Although the surveys are not accessible via our website, you can click on "testimonials" above to read the actual comments in their original format.
Founded: 1889
Designer: Old Tom Morris
Championship Length: 7,037 yards
PAR: 71
Type: Links
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Overview:

Royal County Down (ranked #6 by GOLF Magazine): the very words are enough to send a shiver up your spine. Designed by Old Tom Morris back in 1889, Royal County Down is not only one of the most beautiful courses in the world, it is also one of the most challenging. Laid out beneath the Mountains of Mourne and along the shores of Dundrum Bay, this strip of dune land was 90% along the road to being a golf course before some key man-made adjustments. Within four years, Royal County Down was considered good enough to stage the Irish Open Amateur Championship, and by the dawning of the 20th century, the course was rated as the finest course in all of Ireland.

Unlike many of the great natural links courses, Royal County Down doesn’t have the traditional out and back layout; rather, there are two distinct loops of nine holes. The outward half is closer to the sea and offers consistently larger dunes than on the homeward loop. Walking down the first fairway with the sound of breaking waves in your ears is a truly memorable occasion. First time visitors to Newcastle are easily spotted, as they can be seen walking up the first fairway backwards.

Many people consider the front nine of Royal County Down as the finest nine holes in golf. Among the most memorable are:

  • The par 4, 3rd, with its split level fairway
  • The par 3, 4th, measuring over 200 yards
  • Both the doglegged 5th and the long 9th have an uphill drive followed by a long second shot to a plateau green

The back nine may not have so many enormous dunes, but there is an overgenerous supply of heather and gorse. A few holes that stand out from the rest are:

  • The par 4, 13th, where the fairway curves its way through a beautiful heather-lined valley
  • The par 4, 15th is one of the more difficult holes
  • The recently remodeled and re-bunkered par 5 18th hole
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Testimonials

“Jim, Gonzalo and I had a great time in Ireland. I don’t think it could have been better. We enjoyed all four courses.”

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Tours that include this Course

Ardglass Golf

Ardglass

Experience Northern Ireland

Five rounds of golf:

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

County Louth (Baltray)

Dublin + Northern Ireland’s Best

Five rounds of golf:

  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course
  • Portmarnock-Championship Course
  • The European Club
  • County Louth (Baltray)
European Club

The European Club

Highest Ranked Top 100 – Ireland & N. Ireland

Eight rounds of golf:

  • Waterville
  • Ballybunion-Old Course
  • Tralee
  • Portmarnock-Championship Course
  • The European Club
  • Lahinch-Old Course
  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course
Lahinch Golf

Lahinch-Old Course

Along the Coast – Southwest to Northern Ireland

Seven rounds of golf:

  • Waterville
  • Ballybunion-Old Course
  • Tralee
  • Lahinch-Old Course
  • Old Head
  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course
Ballyliffin Golf Club Glashedy

Ballyliffin-Glashedy Course

Northern Ireland + The North of Ireland

Five rounds of golf:

  • Ballyliffin-Glashedy Course
  • Rosapenna-Sandy Hills Course
  • Portstewart-Strand Course
  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course
Royal County Down Golf

Royal County Down-Championship Links

Scotland + Northern Ireland

Six rounds of golf:

  • St Andrews-Old Course
  • St Andrews-New Course
  • Carnoustie-Championship Course
  • Kingsbarns
  • Royal County Down-Championship Course
  • Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course