Ulster Links Courses
The influence of the landmass known as Scotland, home of golf, and particularly links golf, stretched across the narrow divide between it and the province of Ulster to create some incredible courses carved into the dune lands of the Irish coastline.
The greatest of all of Ulster’s courses, and consistently up there in the top of the world rankings, is of course Royal County Down, in Newcastle, located beneath the towering Slieve Donard gaze where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. This was the first of very few adventures from Scotland that Old tom Morris made to design a course in 1889. He only spent two days there, it is said, and in this time had drawn the basis of the 18-holes that were in play some three months later. Could you imagine a links course being designed and built in three months today? Ask poor Greg Norman about the snails that hampered his progress for about two years at his Doonbeg creation in County Clare.
It says a lot for the genius of the man and for the terrain that gave a natural gift of a layout that would become famous the world over in the following century.
It is only one of the many absolute gems that dot the Ulster coastline. Further up the coast in County Antrim, Royal Portrush lays justifiable claim to be ranked among the world greats and has produced over the years many wonderful players, including our latest teenage sensation, Rory McElroy, deemed by many to be the next Tiger Woods.
The Ulster coastline is the long, stretching from Warrenpoint in County Down right around to Murvagh in County Donegal. It is worth a few weeks to do the tour and play as many of those great links as you can. Ballyliffin in Donegal with its two superb courses, Rosapenna, Castlerock in County Derry are just a few that springs to mind.
You will be made welcome by the very hospitable people of the Ulster golfing fraternity and the laid-back ways of the coastal communities.
The following are links golf courses in Ulster.