Royal Portrush Golf Club is home to one of the best and most challenging links golf courses in the world, the Dunluce Links, and the hidden gem, the Valley Links. The only club in Ireland to have hosted The Open Championship, Royal Portrush is a member’s club which welcomes visitors all year round to face the challenges of its courses and to brave the testing conditions. Host of the 148th Open Championship in 2019, the second time it has ever been held outside of the main British island, and the second time it has returned to Portrush, the Golf Club is a jewel in Northern Ireland’s crown. When the club was formed in May 1888, it was known as The County Club. It became The Royal County Club in 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron, and ‘The Royal Portrush Golf Club’ three years later, with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron.
The Valley lies between the East Strand and the Dunluce golf course in Portrush. As its name suggests, the course is situated between the huge sand hills immediately along the Atlantic shore and the higher ground on which the Championship course is laid out. That is not to say the holes of the course are routed over anything like plain, level lying land, far from it, as the Valley has more than its fair share of the humps, hollows and undulations to be found on any links worthy of the name.
The Valley Course at Portrush does not deserve to be overlooked when visiting the area, even though 90% of people barely give it a second thought as they drive away after having experienced the Dunluce Course. James W Finegan on the course: “The Valley Links, as its name suggests, is tucked away, down in the lower reaches of the club property, tall sand hills enclosing the acreage and blocking out any view of the sea. A sheltered quality, an attractive snugness, if you will, characterizes the course… The Valley course is full of very good golf holes. Even accomplished players are challenged – and all of us are charmed.” From Where the Golf is Great – The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland.
Because it is tucked away from the main drag at Portrush, the Valley Course is much cheaper to play and much easier to get a tee-time, meaning it is well worth your while as a top golf course on the Irish Island. It is a true links-course that’s played between massive sand dunes that denotes its ‘valley’ name. Two feature holes on the card are played back-to-back on the front nine and they are situated at the furthest point from the clubhouse. They epitomise all that is good about golf at Royal Portrush. The 336-yard, short par four, 5th hole is played from an elevated tee in the sand hills to a green framed by towering dunes and protected on three sides by menacing bunkers. The 237-yard, par three, 6th hole is then played slightly uphill and semi-blind to a green hidden by natural mounding.
The Clubhouse Dining Room is open 7 days a week from April to September, and operates a snack menu, with reduced hours between October and March. Tee, coffee and sandwiches are available in the Dunluce Room.
Scotty Cameron Centre
Royal Portrush Professional Shop is the only Scotty Cameron fitting centre in Northern Ireland. Head Professional Gary McNeill and his staff are fully trained to help you choose the best Scotty Cameron Putter to suit your game. The Professional shop carries a full range of Cameron Putters, as well as headcovers, grips and weights from Scotty’s Custom Shop. Limited edition releases are also available from time to time – contact Gary for further details.