Royal County Down - Championship Links
Royal County Down Golf Club, founded in 1889, is located to the north of the seaside town of Newcastle on the east coast of Ireland. It is 30 miles south of Belfast and 90 miles north of Dublin. The club has 36-holes; the Championship Course measuring 7,037 yards Par 71 with a standard scratch of 75 off the blue tees and the somewhat shorter Annesley Links at 4,708 yards Par-66.
The Championship course is a links course that is renowned worldwide as one of the finest links test in the world. The first nine holes are ranked by many as the finest opening nine anywhere. The constantly undulating layout will challenge every part of your game with “tightish” fairways, many grassy-topped pot bunkers and sloping, tricky greens – every hole is a classic links test.
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, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.
The narrowest ribbons of fairways thread their way through as impressive a set of sand dunes as could be imagined. The fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, so beautiful to look at but so punishing for any who may stray from the prescribed path.
The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. The greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction. This is a true test of any player’s command of the traditional bump and run, the preferred way to play any links.
The ninth hole is one of the most photographed holes in world golf. A 486 yard par 4, it is played from one side of a huge mound down to a fairway some 60 ft below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two bunkers to a raised green.
The finest of all links courses, it offers a stern challenge from the championship tees. The record is 66 set by Ireland’s first golfing superstar, Jimmy Bruen, in 1939.