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Royal County Down Golf Course

Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland

At a Glance

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Situated south-east of Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast, lies Royal County Down Championship Links (RCD). The golf course is rated by Golf Digest as the best in the world. Getting a tee-time is more of a challenge than the golf course is to play; advanced booking is a must. The course is wedged on natural links terrain between the town of Newcastle, The Irish Sea, whilst the Mountains of Mourne Loom over the complex. A traditional Irish Links Course, there is little wonder why it is considered best in the world by locals and international golfers; it must be played at least once in your life. Royal County Down Golf Club traces its roots to 1889, and the golf course was designed by Old Tom Morris which opened on March 23, 1889. Enhancements over the years from golf legends including James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Harry Vardon and Harry Colt.


To play Royal County down with the famous spire of the next-door Slieve Donard Hotel looming over the back nine is enchanting. Non-member golfers are welcomed on select days, and caddies are mandatory. The Golf Club is just a short drive from a beautiful Irish gem, Ardglass Golf Club. Golfers can enjoy a Royal County Down and other Irish gems by attending the annual Newry, Mourne & Down Trophy, which allows you to play Portmarnock Links, Ardglass and Warren Point Links. If travelling south to Dublin after playing Royal County Down, be sure to stop off at County Louth and The Island golf courses.

Golf Course Location

Golf Course Information

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.


Widely considered 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. From the Stableford tees, it offers golfers of all standards the opportunity of playing a truly great course with dramatic panorama of the surrounding mountains and coastline. The number of blind tee shots and unforeseen challenges demands caddies accompany golf groups at Royal County Down; their fees are payable directly on your day of play. A visit to Royal County Down in Northern Ireland’s Newcastle is essential as a golfing pilgrimage at least once in your lifetime.

Venue Information

Murlough Bar and Dining Room

After your round, why not enjoy a drink in the Murlough Room, which has views of the 18th green, the 10th tee and the Mountains of Mourne.  The bar and dining room offer visiting golfers the opportunity to relax in comfort after their round.  A menu which includes both light snacks and more substantial meals, all freshly prepared, is available throughout the day, as is the fully licensed bar.


Locker Rooms

Men’s and ladies’ locker rooms for visitors are equipped with individual lockers allowing for clothes and other items to be stored, and there are full shower, washroom and restroom facilities. They have excellent drying facilities.



Visiting golfers appreciate the services provided by caddies at Royal County Down Golf Club.  The Championship Links is challenging with several blind drives.  The caddies are experienced and will add considerably to the enjoyment of your round, particularly for first time visitors. Advance requests for caddies are encouraged at the time of booking. Caddies are independent contractors, not in the employment of Royal County Down Golf Club and therefore or Royal County Down cannot guarantee caddie availability.

Course Gallery

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