The Lonely Planet just rated Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland as its number one Region to visit in 2018. Citing the remarkable transformation of Belfast and the timeless beauty of the Causeway Coast, it also notes its “high grade distractions – golf, whiskey and beautiful rocks” as more reasons for its choice. How dare they call golf a “distraction”!
Real Irish Golf is no expert on rocks, but golf, now that is something we can talk about … a lot. So lets take a trip along the Causeway coast and check out some great links golf courses along the beautiful Causeway coast.
Ballycastle Golf Club
Let’s start in the very north east corner of Ireland at Ballycastle Golf Club. Ballycastle, a very welcoming and friendly golf club, which starts out with five parkland holes and then shifts to a links terrain. Featuring significant elevation changes, Ballycastle boasts some of the most spectacular scenery of any Irish golf course with views of Rathlin Island, Fir Head and on a clear day, the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. The town of Ballycastle is also recommended as a great place to spend the evening. Fun fact – Darren Clarke’s dad worked as a green keeper here for many years, and both he and Darren are life members.
Royal Portrush Golf Club
A short drive west of Ballycastle will lead you to Portrush. While the town slightly disappoints with its amusement arcade feel, the golf won’t. Royal Portrush is special and the only course in Ireland to have hosted the British Open. The Open Championship will make its long awaited return after a 68 year absence in 2019. While the Dunluce course takes the plaudits, the Valley course, known locally as Rathmore, is also a very fine links golf course. Fun fact: Graeme McDowell grew up playing golf at Portrush and represented the Rathmore Club. What odds, a perfect Hollywood ending and Graeme to lift the Claret Jug in 2019 at Portrush.
Portstewart Golf Club
Three miles further west along the Causeway coast will take you to the beautiful town of Portstewart. As for Portstewart golf course, when you step on the first tee box, be ready to play. Unlike many courses, Portstewart does not give you a few early gentle holes to get warmed up, but rather tosses you head first into a cascading series of holes through spectacular dunes. If, in our not so humble opinion, Tralee has Ireland’s best back nine, the Strand Course at Portstewart must be a candidate for the best front nine. Fun fact: Portstewart has 54 holes in total, to our knowledge the most of any single golf location in Ireland.
Another five miles west as the seagull flies and another fantastic links golf course on the Causeway Coast. Less well known than its Causeway Coast neighbors, Castlerock is a true “hidden gem” and a definite candidate for the best ‘hidden gem’ links course in Ireland. Currently undergoing significant improvements, it is likely to come back even better in early 2018. And a word for 9 hole Bann course. Although a bit short, it delivers the right amount of links quirkiness and is worth a jaunt. Fun fact: You’ll even get to take a bite out of a ‘Leg o’ Mutton’, the name for the treacherous “Leg of Mutton” par 3 fourth.
Ready to get distracted?
Contact Real Irish Golf today and we’ll get you sorted.