Royal County Down golf club Down

Royal County Down golf course Down

Royal County Down Golf Course

Royal County Down Club Crest

Royal Co. Down Golf Club was voted No. 1-ranked golf course in the World in 2016:

Royal Co. Down is the second oldest Golf Club in Ireland founded in 1889 and designed by Old Tom Morris and later redesigned by Vardon and later by Harry Colt. The club has 36-holes the Championship Course measuring 7,037 yards Par 71 with a standard scratch of 74 off the blue tees and the somewhat shorter Annesley Links at 4,708 yards Par-66.

There are a half-dozen or so blind shots and the feature hole is considered by most people to be the 9th. The tee box is perched on a heather-strewn hill, measuring 486 yards Vardon described it as "exhilarating and terrifying". The view from the tee box is truly magnificent with the Mourne Mountains, the peaks of Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Donard, in the distance. To the left is Dundrum Bay, extending to the lighthouse at St. John’s Point. This is one of the most photographed views in the world. Other feature holes are the 13th and especially the Par-3 4th requiring a 200-yard carry to a green protected by no fewer than 10 bunkers.

Royal Co. Down has a magnificent clubhouse catering for the golfers every need, a strict jacket-and-tie applies at this one of the finest links to be found anywhere in the world, many would argue it is the Number One and few would disagre.

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2020 (Up-4);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 5-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2019 (Down -4);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2018 (As was);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2017 (As was);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2016 (As was);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2015 (Up-1);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 2-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2014 (Down-1);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2013 (Same);

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2012;

Royal County Down was voted theNo. 3 Links/Shoreline Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2012, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland;

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2010;

Royal County Down was voted the No. 2 Links/Shoreline Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2010, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland;

Royal County Down was voted the No. 2-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2009;

Royal County Down was voted the No. 1-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2008;

Royal County Down was voted the  No. 1 Links/Shoreline Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2008, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland;

Championship Links:  
Green Fees to February: £90
Green Fees March: £100
Green Fees April: £150
Green Fees May to October:  
Weekday Mornings & Sunday Afternoon: £240
Weekday Afternoons: £230
Green Fees Two Rounds same day: £350
Green Fees Sunday Afternoon: £250
Green Fees with a Member: N/A
Green Fees for Opens: £50
Annesley Links:  
Green Fees to March: £22
Green Fees April to October: £40
Practice Area: Yes
Club Hire: Yes
Buggy Hire: No
Soft spikes: No
Course Type Links
No Holes 36
Members 201
Designer Donald Steele & Tom Morris (Old)
Founded 1889
Address

Golf Links Road,
Newcastle,
Co. Down
BT33 0AN

Telephone 028-437-23314
Email golf@royalcountydown.org
Website Royal County Down golf club website
Secretary/Manager: David Wilson
Captain
Lady Captain:
President: Edna Wilson
Vice-Captain:  
Hon. Secretary: J. B. Gibson & Kathleen Calvert
Club Pro: Kevin J. Whitson 028-437-22419
Hon. Treasurer: J. C. Morton & Cynthia Boston
Comp. Secretary:  
Royal County Down Golf Course Layout Course Layout

Location Map

GPS Coord*
Lat:54.215466
Long:-5.884209
*Please check information before travelling

General Facts & Information

Course opening hours: Daylight hours Clubhouse opening hours: 8.00am to 9.00pm
Mobile phones: Not on course or in clubhouse Dress Code: Neat and casual, no denim
Catering: Full catering, facilities Days to Avoid: Wednesdays & Saturdays
Green Fees and Societies Welcome: Other days  Pre-booking for open Tournaments:14 Days in advance

Royal County Down Golf Club Fixtures 2021 provisional*

Open & Major Fixtures 2020 (to be Confirmed)        
Event Start Finish Type Duration
Captain's Prize     Closed 1
Ladies 3-Ball Team Event Monday 23 March
  Open 1
Ladies 36-Hole Scratch Cup Sunday 29 March
  ILGU 1
Ladies 3-Ball Team Event Monday 8 June   Open 1

*Please check information before travelling

Card of the Course

KeyData
White Par 71 SSS 74 6,878 yd's
Yellow Par 71 SSS 73 6,675 yd's
Red Par 76 SSS 77 6,249 yd's
Blue 71 SSS 75 7,186 yd's

Card

Hole No. Blue White Yellow Par Index Red Par Index
1 539 523 503 5 13 483 5 13
2 444 424 387 4 9 344 4 3
3 475 475 455 4 3 423 5 9
4 229 215 202 3 15 159 3 15
5 440 429 419 4 7 395 4 7
6 396 369 355 4 11 338 4 7
7 144 135 125 3 17 113 3 17
8 429 424 414 4 1 405 5 5
9 483 427 427 4 5 429 5 11
Out 3,579 3,421 3,287 35   3,089 38  
10 196 188 180 3 18 172 3 16
11 442 430 430 4 8 389 4 2
12 525 478 469 5 16 455 5 8
13 446 423 423 4 2 409 5 12
14 212 202 202 3 12 195 3 14
15 468 454 454 4 4 410 5 4
16 337 318 300 4 14 276 4 18
17 433 416 402 4 10 374 4 6
18 548 548 528 5 6 480 5 10
In 3,607 3,457 3,388 36   3,160 38  
Total 7,186 6,878 6,675 71   6,249 76  
SSS 75 74 73     77    

Notable rounds

Men's Course Record: 66 J. Bruen & J. M. Jamison & H. B. Smith (am)

Ladies Course Record:

Members Achievements

The Ladies of Royal Co. Down Golf Club won the Ulster Final of the Irish Senior Cup at North West Golf Club on 19th May 2019 when they beat the Ladies from Shandon Park Golf Club in the Quarter-Final by 4-matches to 1-match and then met the Ladies from Clandeboye Golf Club in the Semi-Final and recorded a similar result.
They met the Ladies from Lurgan Golf Club in the Provincial Decider and again had a 4-matchs to 1-match result. They were led out by Paula Grant (-4) who beat Niamh McSherry by 3 and 2, she was followed by Beth Coulter (-2) who halved her match against Maeve Cummins (0), the next match of Anita McCaw (5) against Niamh Ward was also haled, in the penultimate match Mollie O’Hara (5) recorded a 5 and 4 win against Cara Murphy (5), in the bottom match Kate Evans (5) had a very comfortable 7 and 6 win against Christine Hagan (8).
They made their way to Killarney Golf Club and were drawn against the Ladies from Lurgan Golf Club in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final but the tables were turned when the Armagh team reversed the Ulster Final result when winning by 3-matches to 2-matches.
They were led out again by Paula Grant who lost her match against Annabel Wilson by 5 and 4, she was followed by Katie Poots who went down by 5 and 4 against Niamh Ward, next on the tee was Molly O’Hara who won her match against Cara Murphy by 2 and 1, in the penultimate match of Kate Evans against Aoife Browne was won by 1-hole by the Armagh club, in the bottom match Anita McCaw had a comfortable 4 and 3 win over Fiona McGrady.

The Girls from Royal Co. Down Ladies Club won the Ulster Final of Under-19 Inter-Club Matchplay at Knock Golf Club on Sunday 27th July 2014, when the team was, Laura McCaw, Clair Calvert and Seaghna Campbell.
They proceed to the All-Ireland Decider at Donaghadee Golf Club on 18th August 2014.

The Ladies of Royal Co. Down were runners-up in the Ulster Final of the Irish Senior Cup when they lost out to defending Champions Royal Portrush by 3½ matches to 1½ at City of Derry Golf Club on Monday 13th May 2013.
They made the long journey to Portumna Golf Club to compete in the National Deciders on Friday 16th August 2013, where they were drawn against Enniscorthy in the All-Ireland Quarter Finals. First on the tee was Veronica MacGreevy who halved her match against Aisling O'Leary when called in, she was followed by Anita McCaw who lost her match against Sorcha Howell by 5 and 4, next up was Emma Dickson who lost out to Nicola King by 6 and 5, the penultimate match of Sinead McVeigh was halved against Ciara Sharkey when called in, the bottom match of Laura McCaw against Jennifer King went 4 and 3 to the Wexford team.

Danielle McVeigh was selected to represent Great Britain & Ireland, together with the Maguire Twins, Lisa and Lorna from Slieve Russell Golf Club, in the 36th Curtis Cup match against the United States at Essex County Club, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts from June 11th to 13th September, 2010. The team Captain is Mary McKenna from Donabate Golf Club.

Danielle and Shauna McVeigh were selected on the Ulster ILGU Team for the Interprovincial's. Played at Ballybunion Golf Club from 18th to 20th August 2004.

Royal Co. Down Ladies set out to defend the ILGU Senior Cup at Balbriggan Golf Club on 7th September 2002, having won the Ulster Championship. They were drawn against Munster Champions Douglas in the All-Ireland Semi-Final the team was Alison Coffey, Emma Dickson, Anita McCaw, Vikki McWilliams and Jill McAuley. They were, captained by Cynthia Boston. In a most exiting match they were, edged out by Douglas by 3 matches to 2 matches. Alison Coffey won the top match by 1-hole. Emma Dickson lost her match 2 and 1. Jill McAuley lost her match on the 19th, while Vickie McWilliams went all the way to the 24th and Anita McCaw won her match by 4 and 3

Emma Dickson was selected on the Ulster Ladies team for the AIB Interprovincial Championships at Mount Wolseley Golf Club from August 7-9 2002.

Royal Co. Down Ladies won the ILGU Senior Cup in 2001 at Douglas Golf Club on September the 8th. They beat Douglas in the final by 3.5 matches to 1.5 matches. The squad was Anita McCaw, Jill McAuley, Joanne Black Angela Bradley, Fiona Brown, Alison Coffey and Emma Dickson.

Members who played representative golf for their Province;

H. T. Allen* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1904 to 1906;

M. J. Brice* represented Ireland as a Senior International in 1900;

J. R. Carr* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1931 to 1931;

Vis. Glenawly* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1902 to 1906;

J. H. Goldfinch* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1904 to 1906;

W. J. MacGreagh* represented Ireland as a Senior International in 1902;

E. Morrissey* represented Ireland as a Senior International in 1904;

J. H. Richardson* represented Ireland as a Senior International in 1900;

D. W. Smith* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1923 to 1931;

H. B. Smyth* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1974 to 1979 playing 37-times won 21-matches halved three and lost 13-matches accumulating 45-points. He represented Ulster as a Youth in the Interprovincial Championships from 1969 to 1971 playing 8-times won 4-matches and lost 2-matches accumulating 8-points;

R. W. Barrett* represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1938;

J. M. Jamieson represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1964 to 1968 playing 14-times won 6-matches halved three and lost 5-matches accumulating 15-points;

D. A. Nelson* represented Ulster as a Youth in the Interprovincial Championships from 1964 to 1968 playing 8-times;

W. T. Brier represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1901 playing 1-time won 1-match and lost 0-matches accumulating 1-point;

H. V. Coates represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1905 playing 1-time won 1-match and lost 0-matches accumulating 1-point;

G. Combe represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1901 playing 5-times won 2-matches and lost 3-matches accumulating 2-points;

Lt. Goldfinch represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1904 to 1906 playing 3-times won 0-matches and lost 3-matches accumulating 0-points;

H. Gregg represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1897 playing 3-times won 2-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 2-points;

D. J. Haskell represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1905 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;

H. C. Kelly represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1897 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;

F. B. Newett represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1897 to 1906 playing 10-times won 4-matches halved one and lost 5-matches accumulating 4½ -points;

R. Newett represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1900 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;

P. Parley represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1905 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;

H. B. Smyth represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1905 to 1906 playing 2-times won 1-match and lost 1-match accumulating 1-point;

C. J. Steen represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1901 playing 1-time won 1-match and lost 0-matches accumulating 1-point;

J. H. Steen represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1901 playing 1-time won 0-matches halved one and lost 0-matches accumulating ½ -points;

W. L. Wheeler represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1896 playing 2-times won 1-match halved one and lost 0-matches accumulating 1½ -points;

Joanne Black was selected on the Ulster Ladies team in the AIB Interprovincial’s at the Island Golf on the 8th to the 10th August 2001.

History of Royal County Down

Instituted 1889 affiliated 1891

Royal County Down has the distinction of being on of the nine founder members of the GUI, on 13th November 1891, when George Combe and Dr. Magill attended the inaugural meeting. George Combe was the first Hon. Secretary of the Union and was a major influence in golf affairs during his seven years in office. He was also Captain of Royal County Down in 1895-96, and again in 1904.The Field" on the 23rd March 1889, records that Lord Annesley presided over the first meeting of the club, which had over fifty members, "many of them leading gentlemen". Old Tom Morris was called in at a fee not to exceed £4 in July 1889 he suggested an additional three holes be added and he mapped out six other holes. The ladies club was formed in 1894 and the clubhouse was opened in 1897 a second eighteen-holes, were opened in 1900. After Ben Sayers made a visit in 1907 and some alterations were made to the course.

In 1908, King Edward VII confirmed the title "Royal" making it the fourth Irish club with the prefix Royal. G. L. Baillie was joint Hon. Secretary until 1890 and the first Captain was Mr. Armar Loery-Corry.

In 1899, the Ladies British Amateur Open Championship was held here and in 1970 the British Amateur Open Championship was, won by Michael Bonallack on this famous course. Royal County Down consistently ranks as one of the top golf courses in the world.

Instituted 1889 affiliated 1891

Royal County Down has the distinction of being on of the nine founder members of the GUI, on 13th November 1891, when George Combe and Dr. Magill attended the inaugural meeting. George Combe was the first Hon. Secretary of the Union and was a major influence in golf affairs during his seven years in office. He was also Captain of Royal County Down in 1895-96, and again in 1904.

"The Field" on the 23rd March 1889, records that Lord Annesley presided over the first meeting of the club, which had over fifty members, "many of them leading gentlemen". Old Tom Morris was called in at a fee not to exceed £4 in July 1889 he suggested an additional three holes be added and he mapped out six other holes. The ladies club was formed in 1894 and the clubhouse was opened in 1897 a second eighteen-holes, were opened in 1900. After Ben Sayers made a visit in 1907 and some alterations were made to the course.

In 1908, King Edward VII confirmed the title "Royal" making it the fourth Irish club with the prefix Royal. G. L. Baillie was joint Hon. Secretary until 1890 and the first Captain was Mr. Armar Loery-Corry.

In 1899, the Ladies British Amateur Open Championship was held here and in 1970 the British Amateur Open Championship was, won by Michael Bonallack on this famous course. Royal County Down consistently ranks as one of the top golf courses in the world.

Almost 70 years ago, Bernard Darwin, that doyen of them all, drew aside the bedroom curtains of his hotel to catch his first glimpse of the Mourne Mountains, and wrote that, "to see Slieve Donard’s crest just emerging from a sea of early mist is to taste one of the intense joys of shaving on the morning of a workless day." After the golf he reflected that the course which lay below it was one of "big and glorious carries, nestling greens, entertainingly blind shots, local knowledge and beautiful turf – the kind of golf that people play in their ecstatic dreams." Bill Campbell, who knew the great man,  said that he always looked for the best in people and places and, while his sheer love of the game often lead to joyous prose, Mr Darwin’s eye for detail was beyond question, and he was never inaccurate.

Oddly enough, County Down’s very early development is in some ways a little obscure. Although it was officially founded in 1889 by some influential Belfast business and professional men at the time when Newcastle had become a popular Victorian seaside resort and when formal golf in Ireland was still in its infancy, it seems probable that one or two local residents had already been knocking balls around the rabbit warren and may well have created as many as nine rudimentary holes.

The events of these early days are well documented in Richard Latham’s recent scholarly book on the evolution of the links at Newcastle, but the enormous potential had been realised, and ‘The County Down Golf Club’ was formed in March 1889.

The newly formed council, in a cautious mix of enthusiasm and parsimony, commissioned Old Tom Morris to travel all the way from St Andrews "for a sum not to exceed £4" to inspect what existed and advise on a second nine.

The outcome of this munificence resulted in Old Tom spending two days "on the ground" and suggesting 18 holes which were in play some months later, proof indeed that golf club design in those days was a very different kettle of fish, but proof also that so many of the great links courses of today were created on natural dune land that had always been there.

And so it began to evolve, all the work in the years ahead being carried out by the green staff, little of it recorded, often instigated and certainly supervised by the chairman of the green, George Combe, always authoritative, more often than not autocratic, but like Capability Brown possessing a gift of vision.

As the years progressed, the links changed to meet the demands of the time, so that, with advice from Harry Vardon and Ben Sayers before the First World War, and later some important alterations from H S Colt, little was left to be done by the 1930’s. One or two minor extensions after the Second World War, important improvements to the closing holes in 1998, and a complete new 16th hole in 2004 completed its evolution.

The course is laid out in two 9-hole loops, each staring and finishing at the clubhouse, advantages of which were recorded in an early golfing journal "as being apparent to golfers without enumeration". Very few of the holes can really be seen from any other, and each in its own way is supremely testing. The course is scrupulously fair, when played thoughtfully but will tempt the impulsive. Either way it stimulates and challenges.

In its early evolution the links had an unusual number of blind shots regarded then as sporting challenges. Those that still exist today are sometimes criticised, but it was Tommy Armour that said, "There is no such thing as a blind shot to a man with a memory," and on the brow of the hill at the 9th even the most insensitive will pause to cherish one of the most stunning, and most often photographed views in golf.

Royal County Down has been the scene of many wonderful championships, particularly in the very early days when the greats of the day such as Vardon, Taylor, Ball and Kirkcaldy came to play "for a purse of sovereigns". Over the years it became less used as a professional venue but has always remained a supreme challenge that attracts the top professionals, such as Tiger Woods and Tom Watson, as individuals. The course continues to present a major challenge to the top amateurs, particularly in match play which is, after all, the heart and soul of golf. The Irish Open Amateur Championship was held at Newcastle 15 times until it was abandoned in 1959, the Irish Close 10 times, the Amateur Championship and Home Internationals 5 times between them. Not unsurprisingly, it has also been the scene of many great Ladies Championships, the Irish and British Open Amateurs a total of 18 times and the Curtis Cup in 1968. To crown these championships the Walker Cup matches were held in 2007.

Throughout the years the game has changed, as have the expectations of the players, and the links itself has adapted itself to meet climatic changes and the every increasing demands placed on it by world-wide recognition. But through it all, County Down has never lost its real character, and the majestic sand hills, whiskered bunkers, and stunning views still entice writers of eminence to effuse. Only a few years ago Donald Steel wrote that it was "golf on a heroic scale", and the late Peter Dobereiner that it was" thrilling even without a club in your hand".

Roll of Honour

Member Year Hon. Position
  2000 Ladies Captain
Dr. P. B. Johnston 2000 Mens Captain
  2000 President
  2001 Ladies Captain
G. Menary 2001 Mens Captain
  2001 President
  2002 Ladies Captain
Dr. David D. Boyle 2002 Mens Captain
  2002 President
  2003 Ladies Captain
  2003 Mens Captain
  2003 President
  2004 Ladies Captain
G. R. Perrin 2004 Mens Captain
  2004 President
Mrs. L. Thomason 2005 Ladies Captain
V. A. Hewitt 2005 Mens Captain
  2005 President
Liz Nixon 2006 Ladies Captain
D. M. McAuley 2006 Mens Captain
  2006 President
  2007 Ladies Captain
Brian Turtle 2007 Mens Captain
  2007 President
  2008 Ladies Captain
  2008 Mens Captain
  2008 President
  2009 Ladies Captain
R. D. Maw 2009 Mens Captain
  2009 President
  2010 Ladies Captain
B. Fleming 2010 Mens Captain
  2010 President
Aileen Redmond 2011 Ladies Captain
D. R. McCluskey 2011 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson 2011 President
  2012
Ladies Captain
B. Fleming 2012 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson 2012 President
K. J. Whitson
2013 Ladies Captain
M. A. Harkness 2013 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson
2013 President
K. J. Whitson 2014 Ladies Captain
P. A. E. Brown
2014 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson
2014 President
  2015 Ladies Captain
M. A. Harkness 2015 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson
2015 President
Kathleen Calvert
2016 Ladies Captain
Sam Nelson 2016 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson 2016 President
  2017 Ladies Captain
  2017 Mens Captain
 Edna Wilson 2017 President
  2018 Ladies Captain
  2018 Mens Captain
Edna Wilson 2018 President
  2019 Ladies Captain
  2019 Mens Captain
  2019 President
  2020 Ladies Captain
  2020 Mens Captain
  2020 President
Paula Grant (-4)) 2020 Lowest Ladie's H'cap
Beth Coulter (-2) 2020 Lowest Ladie's H'cap
  2020 Lowest Men's H'cap

Holes in One at Royal County Down

Member Date Hole No. Club Used Distance


6th   221 yd's

If you have had a Hole-in-One on your course and would like it recorded here please contact me on go.golfing@yahoo.ie

Giving your name, the date,the hole, the club used and the distance