Last updated on November 25, 2023
There are no less than 58 Links Courses on the island of Ireland!
What does that mean? Golfing right by the sea!
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Gone with the wind, the taste of salt on your skin, gleaming white beaches and breathtaking cliffs. Deep, fine powdery sand bunkers, blazing fast greens and undulating fairways winding between the dunes.
What more could a golfer’s heart want?
Where can you golf like this? Once around the island! This article is all about Northern Ireland. I’ll show you 9 great coastal golf courses, so you’ll have plenty to choose from for a week-long round trip. And besides a great golf holiday, you’ll also get to experience the beautiful coastline of Northern Ireland first hand!
By the way, we live in Ireland (second home) and run our motorbike rental business here in the summer months (www.easycruiser.tours). We also have nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie). We have travelled the island again and again over many years, and some of us have also golfed, so we know it very well.
We start in Dublin, travel northwards and then once along the Northern Irish coast and back to Dublin.
I’m mainly showing you links courses here. The one or other coastal parkland course is also included, namely where it makes sense for the round trip. Of course, there are also beautiful parkland courses inland, but we won’t look at those today, because we’re all about the “island feeling”.
So, let’s get going:
1 The Island Golf Club
In keeping with the “island feeling”, we start with the Island Golf Club. If you’re coming from the airport, it’s only a few minutes’ drive to the small peninsula off Dublin. On the seaward side, Corballis Bay Beach stretches for several kilometres and in front of it lies this beautiful Championships Course. See. https://www.theislandgolfclub.com/.
2 Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club
Just half an hour north of Dublin you’ll find this pretty links golf course on the Irish coast. Too beautiful to just drive through. Play a round and you’re ready to go again. Maybe you’d like to stay overnight in the area? See: https://landbgolfclub.ie/.
3 Royal County Down Golf Club
Wow. The Mourne Mountains on one side, the sea on the other and links golf at its best in between – just wow! See: https://www.royalcountydown.org/.
4 Royal Belfast Golf Club
The Royal Belfast is not a links course, but a beautiful parkland course right by the sea. It also gives you a chance to see a bit of Belfast on your tour. Just enjoy – see: https://www.royalbelfast.com.
5 Ballycastle Golf Club
On a clear day you can see across to Scotland from Torr Head. Ballycastle is “just around the corner”. This north-western corner of Northern Ireland is particularly scenic, especially if you travel along the North Antrim Coastal Route. This is the small coastal road from Larne via Glenarriff. Ballycastle Golf Club blends harmoniously into the rural idyll. See: https://www.ballycastlegolfclub.com.
6 Royal Portrush Golf Club
There are two links courses here, the Valley Links and the Dunluce Links. So you have the choice between “really great” and “even greater” – which one is the “greater” is up to you. But seriously, this is hilly dune golf in front of a white sandy beach – simply beautiful. See: https://www.royalportrushgolfclub.com.
7 Portstewart Golf Club
It’s unbelievable that there is not one, but 3 Golf Links Courses: The Old Course, The Strand and the Riverside Course. The course is amazing, it really is. See: https://www.portstewartgc.co.uk.
8 Ballyliffin Golf Club
This golf course is recommended by Rory McIlroy – and he knows his stuff! The course is located on the coast of the Inishowen Peninsula, which is part of Ireland but very accessible from Londonderry/Derry. The drive around the peninsula is also very scenic. See: https://www.ballyliffingolfclub.com.
Portmarnock Golf Club
From Derry/Londonderry you return to Dublin. You can easily spend another night here and play the Portmarnock Golf Course as a nice finale. Portmarnock is a small harbour town in the north of Dublin. From here you can quickly get to the airport. See: https://www.portmarnockgolfclub.ie/.
The Irish island is simply beautiful, especially the coasts. A round trip by car is fun in itself, but when you can combine that with fresh air, lots of exercise and scenic golf courses, it really is “the cream on the cake”!
So, what are you waiting for? Off to Ireland – to play golf, of course!
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Cover photo credit: photo by Andy Gill on Unsplash)