Categories: GolfOutdoors

Golf tourism in Northern Ireland has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity in recent years and continues to go from strength to strength, drawing enthusiasts from around the globe to experience the unique blend of stunning landscapes, historic courses, unique culture and warm hospitality.

The perfect backdrop to play a round of golf

Within the region of Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion the Slieve Donard Mountain sits at 850 metres and is the highest peak in Northern Ireland.  It provides the perfect backdrop for what is arguably one of the most scenic locations on the entire island. Though lengthy to climb, the slopes are not severe meaning that patience rather than physical fitness is the primary requirement and once you reach the top the rewards are plentiful. On a clear day, from the top of the mountain, you can see as far as Dublin Bay to the south, Belfast to the north and the Isle of Man to the east, with the picturesque Dundrum Bay situated at the foothills. The nearby Ring of Gullion in County Armagh is the perfect accompaniment to Slieve Donard. A unique geological landform, it was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna native to the area. Walking, cycling and angling are just some of the activities to be enjoyed, while the area is steeped in legend and was home to Cúchulainn among other giants of ancient lore.

An unmissable opportunity to play a variety of golf courses

The ‘Heart of Down Golf Pass’ offers players the unique opportunity to play three courses from the selection of Arglass, Kilkeel, Spa, Warrenpoint and St. Patricks, all for the reasonable price of £120 (c. €140) combined.

Golf in Ardglass, County Down  

Ardglass Golf Club can be found slightly north-east of Royal County Down, next to the South Down fishing village of Ardglass from which its name derives. Situated along the rocky shoreline, the opening six holes are classic linksland, hugging the breath-taking coast as the course meanders its way towards the craggy headland before circling back inland. Standing on the first tee, you’re backed by the cannons of the 14th century castle that is also the oldest clubhouse in Irish golf. Incredible views are available throughout, with the distant Isle of Man visible on a clear day and the rock outcroppings that feature heavily on the opening holes are eerily reminiscent of California’s famed Pebble Beach.

Golf in Warrenpoint, County Down

Warrenpoint Golf Club is located midway between the Mourne Mountains and Carlingford Lough, set in the Narrow Water Estate next to Narrow Water Castle, on the banks of the Clanrye River. A beautiful parkland course, relatively flat at the outset and becoming more undulating as the round progresses, and from spring to autumn, the course is always impeccably presented. The club has a rich history with Ronan Rafferty and Raymie Burns among the members who’ve gone on to play on the European Tour. The standout hole is ‘Cloughmore,’ the par-4 eighth that requires a 170-yard carry over water off the [back] tee, followed by a blind approach to the green. The hole gets its name from the large 30-tonne boulder that sits atop the nearby Slieve Martin ridge which geologists believe was carried over from Scotland in a glacial shift over 10,000 years ago. Local legend, however, has it that Fionn MacCumhaill hurled it at an advancing enemy from the Cooley Mountains the other side of Carlingford Lough.

Where best to stay when playing golf in Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion?

The Avoca Hotel, Newcastle Situated at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, with stunning views of both the mountains and the Irish Sea, this boutique hotel has excellent food and beverage services and is a short walk from the main promenade in the town. Killeavy Castle Estate, Newry Originally a Mill and Coach House, it has been transformed into an elegant hotel where modern conveniences and antiquated charm blend seamlessly and, set in the heart of a 365-acre estate, peace and tranquillity are guaranteed.

(Credit Tourism Northern Ireland)

Ardglass Golf Club
Links Golf Course
A birds' eye view of Ardglass Golf Club, Ardglass

Located 30miles from Belfast on the beautiful County Down coast, Ardglass Golf Club is links as it should be.

Kilkeel Golf Club
Parkland Golf Course
View of clubhouse from 17th tee box

Encapsulated by a wealth of unspoilt natural beauty, this superb course presents a myriad of challenging holes, while a newly built clubhouse offers a warm and inviting atmosphere for food and relaxation.

Spa Golf Club
Parkland Golf Course
Spa Golf Club

Nestling in the Drumlins of County Down Spa Golf Club is considered to be one of Northern Ireland’s premier parkland courses, but don't take my word for this come and play the course and experience it for yourself.

Warrenpoint Golf Club
Parkland Golf Course
Image of Warrenpoint Golf Course

This very attractive parkland course overlooking the dramatic scenery of Carlingford Lough has hosted several high profile events including the Irish Professional Championship and a Ladies’ European Tour.

St Patrick's Golf Club
Parkland Golf Course
View from St Patrick's Golf Course

This parkland course measures 6,120 yards, and with tight tree lined fairways, fast and true greens and well placed bunkers provides a serious test of shot making.

Royal County Down Golf Club
Links Golf Course
Image showing Royal County Down Golf Course and Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, with Slieve Donard mountain in the background.

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.