What is it about the Old Head golf links on the south coast of Ireland that inspires golfers to describe it as one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world? For nearly twenty years, we have been including the Old Head on south west Ireland golf itineraries, and we cannot recall meeting anyone who did not marvel at the experience. We could say that most people are blown away, not be the wind, but by the combination of the golf course presentation and jaw dropping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and nearby headlands.
As you drive out along the headland a sense of expectation builds as you survey the rich and green pastures of the surrounding countryside. Soon you reach the end of the road, quite literally, and pass through the gates that take you on to the Old Head. It is an assault on the senses from every direction. To the left you see greens perched close to the edge of the headland which tumbles towards the Atlantic. To the right, you catch a glimpse of the 12th hole, with its tee box tucked in by the cliff edge and you wonder how you will navigate your drive to the fairway waiting on top. As yo drive further along, the iconic lighthouse comes in to view as it towers over the 18th tee. The clubhouse, nestles quietly and unobtrusively in the background. There is no better place to enjoy a drink and something to eat either before or after your round.
The Old Head is one of a select few courses in the world that leaves a lasting impression etched in the golfers memory. An Irish golf tour is all the richer for its inclusion.
The course has a number of stand out holes. The par 4 7th demands accurancy as marshland awaits any approach shot that drifts either left or right. This hole was voted among the top 100 greatest golf holes in the world and is dedicated to the bravery of Arnold Palmer.
The Irish sea glistens in the background as you make your way around the course. Where else would you find 20 golf holes in play?
This is as enjoyable a game of golf as you are likely to play anywhere in Ireland and is a must play on an east coast of Ireland golf trip.
Royal County Down will be opening their diary for 2019 bookings from Monday 21st May 2018.
Demand is expected to be unprecedented at the world's number 1 links course. Tee times sold out very quickly for this season and next year is likely to be the same. Should you be planning a Northern Ireland golf trip in 2019 please note that Royal County Down will be closed to visitors 9th through 16th June 2019 as it hosts The British Open Ladies Amateur Golf Championship.
Keep in mind that Royal Portrush hosts The Open Championship in July 2019 so next year is going to be a year like no other in terms of golf in Northern Ireland.
Portstewart Golf Club, a neighbour of Royal Portrush will also be taking bookings. Castlerock Golf Club is just a short drive from Portrush. It unveiled its revamped links this week to much acclaim. The signature hole at Castlerock is the 214 yard Par 3 played to a bowl shaped green guarded by rough and fescue.