Royal County Down Golf Club

Royal County Down Golf Club, County Down is a 36 hole club with the 18 hole, par 71 (7186 yard) Championship Links & 18 hole, par 66 (4548 yard) Annesley Links Courses. A private, links golf course.

Contact Information

36 Golf Links Road, Newcastle, County Down, BT33 0AN United Kingdom

Tel: 028 437 23314 | Fax: 013967 26281

Website: http://www.royalcountydown.org

Golf Pro: Kevan Whitson | Tel: 028 4372 2419

Contact/Secretary: JH Laidler

Tee Time Information

  • Midweek Guide: Championship: £110.00 per round£125.00 weekends Annesley: £19.00 & £30.00 *

* Any prices shown are guide prices, please confirm with the course prior to booking.

Facilities & Visitor Information

Course Information: 36 holes | Par Championship 71; Annesley 66 | Championship 7186; Annesley 4548 yards | Private | Links

Facilities: Golf clubs for hire, Golf pro shop, Changing rooms, Golf clubhouse, Bar, Food available, golf course.

  • Societies Accepted to Play
  • Society Deals Available

Location: http://www.royalcountydown.org/location.aspx

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Score Cards

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Course Tee Par SSS Yds
Annesly LinksMedal67654594
Annesly LinksStableford67634397
Annesly LinksRed67614218
Championship LinksChampionsh7175 [142.000]7186
Championship LinksMedal7174 [131.000]6878
Championship LinksStableford7173 [126.000]6675
Championship LinksRed7677 [148.000]6249

Royal County Down Golf Club Reviews & Information

Golfshake Rating

  4.84

Golfshake Golf Course Rating from 24
Breakdown Averages

4.83 ... Overall Rating
4.79 ... The Course
4.67 ... Facilities/Serv.
4.38 ... VFM
Reviews

Recent Reviews

24 ratings from Golfshake members - Ranked out of 1971.

HIGHLY RATED - 100% would play again or recommend

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What the club says: 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, the Championship Links Course stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.

The Annesley Links shares the same magnificent setting as the Championship Links and is full of character. Although much shorter than the Championship Links, it is still a very testing course, with magnificent views of sea, mountains and duneland.



Most Helpful Review

Very short course - this is Royal County Down's little brother course so plays like a proper links course. Greens superb. Rough and bushes brutal. It's small but can be very tough - especially if windy as it is very tight off the tees.

(Round played: Mar 2013 - Score: 78 Handicap: 14.7) - Mar 7 2013


Golf Course Reviews for Royal County Down Golf Club

17 reviews for Royal County Down Golf Club sort by: Date | Review Rank | Rated High | Rated Low

Robert W rated 5 out of 5 - Dec 3 2017

Sunday stroll
Excellently maintained course with good greens and fantastic views. Would play again!!

(Round played: Dec 2017 - Score: 107 Handicap: 28)
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John P rated 5 out of 5 - Sep 26 2017

Bucket list golf!
Wonderful golf course which is intimidating throughout but seems to provide an enjoyment factor above many similar 'top' links golf courses. I played in benign conditions and found it to be gettable off my mid-handicap, when straight off the tee. Fairways and greens pristine. The welcome (admittedly alongside a member) was very warm. Would return in a heartbeat.
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William B rated 5 out of 5 - Jun 11 2017

Beautiful links course
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Stephen K rated 5 out of 5 - May 1 2017

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John P (Jack) C rated 5 out of 5 - Sep 21 2016



(Round played: Sep 2016 - Score: 101 Handicap: 12)
A great links course, which doesn't overly penalize the errant shot. A lot of blind shots, and a caddy is recommended for the first time you play it. Long; regardless of handicap, consider using the yellow ("Stableford") tees. Very fast, hard greens; probably from the constant wind off the sea; hard to stop the ball. Not cheap, but a once-in-a-lifetime must play! jpc
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Andy S rated 5 out of 5 - Sep 13 2016

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Ian W rated 5 out of 5 - Jul 4 2016

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Christopher W rated 5 out of 5 - Jul 1 2015



(Round played: Jun 2015 - Score: 88 Handicap: )
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Sean M rated 4 out of 5 - Jun 14 2015


Incredible place. Immense course. Definitely to play again.
(Round played: Jun 2015 - Score: 110 Handicap: 25.2)
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James H rated 5 out of 5 - Apr 13 2015

Excellent course. A good test of golf and stunning views. I'm sure the professionals that are playing the Irish Open there will do much better than me.

(Round played: Apr 2015)
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Sean M rated 5 out of 5 - Mar 13 2015



(Round played: Feb 2015 - Score: 93 Handicap: )
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Stephen K rated 5 out of 5 - Mar 13 2015



(Round played: Nov 2014 - Score: 101 Handicap: )
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George E rated 5 out of 5 - Feb 14 2015



(Round played: Jun 2013 - Score: 108 Handicap: 0)
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Peter C rated 5 out of 5 - Jun 12 2014

Loved it! One of the best courses I have ever played. Better the second time than the first.

(Round played: May 2014 - Score: 109 Handicap: 28)
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Lee H rated 5 out of 5 - Nov 25 2013

great course for winter playing value for money at 20 pounds

(Round played: Nov 2013 - Score: 99 Handicap: 21.5)
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Ireland rated 5 out of 5 - Nov 20 2013

Royal County Down
My friend David flew in from the United States, landing in Dublin before sunrise. He drove his hire car ever northwards for almost two hours, heading for the rust-coloured Mourne Mountains. Once there and in glorious sunshine he teed it up on the par five 1st of one of the world’s greatest courses and split the fairway with his drive.
It doesn’t get much better than that… but it did. Two shots later, David sank an eight foot putt for an eagle. Royal County Down doesn’t give up many eagles, and one on the 1st hole is as good as a trophy on the mantelpiece.
There is something perfect about playing links golf on a raw autumn day. The wind like sandpaper against your cheeks, the sun carving shadows across the dunes, the sea trembling over sand and rock.
This is the time of year that links courses are at their most generous, with softer fairways and more forgiving greens… more forgiving green fees too.
There are disadvantages, however, and not simply the weather. Of greater concern for many is the prospect of playing off mats, or having to lift your ball off the fairway and place in the rough.
Royal County Down, nestled under the Mourne Mountains, suffers from neither of these, being playable all year round. It gives the club a magical charm, a superiority richly deserved and the type of aura that rises through the soil and into your very being. It starts the moment you drive into the club.
It is said that St Andrew’s is the home of golf… if that is so, then Royal County Down is its soul. The names of Old Tom Morris, with a touch of Braid, Vardon and Sayers, and the important contribution from Harry Colt in the 1920s and Donald Steel in the 1990s and 2000s, are ingrained in the club’s history as well as in the turf that golfers walk over every day. When you step through the white gate to reach the 1st tee, you pass between two practice greens: the expansive, rolling Himalayas on your right and a smaller, almost inconsequential green on your left. Ignore the latter at your peril. Not only is this one of Old Tom Morris’s original greens, dating back to the 19th century, it will also give you the exact speed of the greens on the course.
David and I played from the forward tees, a reassuring 6,675 yards (par 71). It made the course more manageable, but unless you’re playing from the Championship tees (7,186 yards), Royal County Down is no beast. Famous it may be for its blind shots but it is not ungenerous. Assuming, that is, you stay clear of the fabled bunkers with their beards of marram grass and heather. The marram thrives in the wind, so much so that some bunkers look like they should be playing in the opposite direction. But put your shot in one and you could be splashing out sideways.
The opening three holes run along the sea shore, the second presenting a blind drive and, possibly a blind approach. A caddie will prove invaluable as there is much to fool the eye. There are no hard and fast rules for Royal County Down, but the one tactic to remember is that you can (and probably should) always land the ball short of the green. The par three 4th is a case in point. A long par three (200+ yards) it is both the best viewing point of the round and one of the most intimidating shots you’ll face. From the tee box you have the sea to your left and the Mourne Mountains laid out dead ahead – the only thing between you and them being the run of dunes that make up this sublime golf course and the striking Slieve Donard Hotel (where many golfers stay – budget permitting). The surroundings are drenched in gorse and the hole is slotted in, with fall-offs around the green… yet there is 15 yards of unseen landing area short of the putting surface.
Royal County Down is laid out in two loops, the front nine being closer to the sea. Many would say that the opening nine holes are among the best on the island – and even further afield – and with holes like the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th and 9th, it is hard to argue. The 9th is par four Index 1 and is a more intimidating tee shot than the 4th… in fact, it may be the most intimidating drive in the game of golf. It is a blind shot that rises up an enormous dune’s shoulder and then drops sharply to a valley before streaking straight to the green. The drive needs to be long and straight or your ball may never be found. There will be some golfers who simply won’t have the distance to breach the dune and will have to play it as a par five.
The back nine starts in much the same vein, with the 11th offering another tall dune to be hit over and climbed. The 13th is the favourite of many golfers, a sliding dogleg right, tucked low between gorse-infested ridges. A pole indicates the green position, but it can only be attacked from the left hand side of the fairway. There is nothing like the joy of playing a course this spectacular and finding your drive on the fairway; there is nothing as humbling as discovering you are on the wrong side to hit in to the green. Royal County Down is, blissfully, not as harsh as some links courses in this regard (holes 2, 13 and 18 being the most demanding) which makes it all the more playable… and enjoyable.
The course changes pace after the 13th, turning inland, but apart from the odd 17th (a pond mid-fairway) the holes still thrill and test.
It is worth noting that the smaller Annesley course weaves through the big championship links and is also worth playing – preferably first – as it will introduce you to the shapes and challenges to come. It is only a par 66, but it is certainly entertaining. Also entertaining is the clubhouse where you’ll find hordes of photographs of the greats playing the course. Spend some time and soak up the atmosphere of a remarkable golf club.
Green fees rise to £185 during the summer peak, but drop to a mere £50 from November to February.
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Jonathan R rated 4 out of 5 - Nov 14 2013

very nice course with interesting tight fairways. Need to be on target.

(Round played: Nov 2013 - Score: 93 Handicap: 16.2)
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Stephen D rated 4 out of 5 - Mar 7 2013

Very short course - this is Royal County Down's little brother course so plays like a proper links course. Greens superb. Rough and bushes brutal. It's small but can be very tough - especially if windy as it is very tight off the tees.

(Round played: Mar 2013 - Score: 78 Handicap: 14.7)
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John H rated 5 out of 5 - Jul 2 2012

Simply the best course ever played....There is no fault with it, except I wish I was a better player.

(Round played: Jun 2012 - Score: 101 Handicap: 11.6)
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Ray L rated 5 out of 5 - Jul 9 2010

Played the smaller (and cheaper) Annesley Course at Royal county down.

The first thing I will say is that the SSS is wrong. And it's wrong by about 5 shots!!! It is short but narrow, twisting and highly undulating. There are maybe 10 blind shots off the tee, three par 3's to island-style greens over 50 foot chasms of gorse.

Leave your driver at home. Only use your straightest clubs off the tee even if they only carry you 100 yards. (And I'm really not joking there!)

The greens were fantastic and the fairways looked spectacularly good, I only wish I would have had a chance to play a shot off one of them! What I can tell you is the rough was the toughest I've ever played out of, but at least I got plenty of practice playing out of it....

Thoroughly recommended for anyone too skint, tight or sensible to pay the £150 on to the championship course but still want to play a world class links course.
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The golf courses reviews are the personal opinions of members of Golfshake who completed a review after playing the course. These opinions do not necessarily represent the views of Golfshake.com

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