Golf in Northern Ireland

101 courses
1359 reviews

The history of golf in Northern Ireland goes all the way back to the 19th century with Royal Belfast becoming the first ever golf club in 1881. As word spread of the game, the interest picked up and soon there were a number of golf courses being built by some of the worlds most renowned architects of the period like Harry Colt and Tom Norris.

Nowadays, golf in Northern Ireland has been made famous by the exploits of Rory Mcilroy and Graeme McDowell. The exploits of these two have really put Northern Ireland back on the map and the popularity of the country as a golf holiday destination has improved immeasurably with people wanting to follow in the footsteps of the great players whilst playing at some quality golf courses set amongst beautiful natural landscapes.

The charming Northern Irish coastlines are home to some of the best courses in the country and some of the best links courses in Europe. Royal County Down, in particular, is known throughout the world as one of the world’s best and it is more than ably supported by Royal Portrush; the first golf course on the island to host the Open Championship in 1951.

It is often said that playing a links course in Northern Ireland is a completely unique experience with feelings of being on the edge of the world as you look out to sea and see nothing on the horizon. The wind can turn in a matter of seconds from being your best friend to your worst enemy and the intimidating sand dunes hide all the hazards making what you think is a good shot into a disaster!

It is remarkable that Northern Ireland allows these courses to be played by mere mortals when even the very best in the world can find it tough!

Other courses such as Portstewart and Castlerock offer magnificent views combined with challenging layouts that test golfers of all abilities, and are a real joy to play.

A more recent development has occurred in Enniskillen where Nick Faldo has helped to design the Lough Erne Golf Resort which has opened to great critical acclaim from critics, locals and pros alike. Like many other courses in Ireland, the course has been routed through the grounds of a country estate which gives a bit of the rich heritage that Northern Ireland has to the course.

Ruins of castles, walls and farmhouses are common obstacles on other golf courses in the country, which gives you a real feel of the vast history of the country.

With the extremely tough designs of the courses and the blistering wind and rain that can arrive suddenly from the North Sea, golf in Northern Ireland provides a brilliant test of character and is a perfect golf destination for the most avid of golf fans.

There is plenty to do and see away from the golf course and you will be welcomed with open arms by everyone that you come across. Belfast is a vibrant capital city with a brilliant atmosphere. Just outside the city lies the Giant’s Causeway which is a must visit sight if you’re in the area!

Getting into Northern Ireland is fairly easy with three International Airports that have daily connections with most major European cities. It’s also possible to get the ferry across from Wales/ England and you can combine golf trips with some companies in Northern Ireland and the mainland UK.

All in all, the links courses on offer in Northern Ireland are perhaps the best in the world. If you’re really passionate about golf and love playing challenging layouts in testing conditions then this is the perfect place for you!

Take a look at the various golf holiday packages that include Northern Ireland on our website.

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Destinations in Northern Ireland

destination courses rating
Enniskillen 4 8.8
County Antrim 42 8.6
County Down 23 8.3
County Londonderry 13 8.2
County Armagh 6 7.9
County Tyrone 8 7.2
  • Royal County Down Golf Club - Championship Course
    One of the greatest links courses
    Was fortunate enough to play this course with a friend who is a member at Royal Country Down, and I was absolutely blown away buy its natural beauty and breah-taking views. It's definitely in the same category as St. Andrews Old Course and Trump Turnberry, without a shadow of a doubt. Very challenging track indeed with great variety, didn't have the best of days but still managed to card a sub -100 score. And of course it was in pristine condition. I hope i'm lucky enough to give it another shot in the future, and I can really see the Irish Open becoming one of the top events on the European Tour due to the layout of this wonderful course
    Royal County Down Golf Club - Championship Course
    9.0 / 10 stars
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    this review is the subjective opinion of a GOLFBOO user and not of GOLFBOO S.L
  • City of Derry Golf Club
    Brilliant Course
    City of Derry is always in superb conditions. The greens are magnificent for long periods of the year. The fairways are lush all year round. Very scenic with well established trees and fabulous views over the River Foyle. A tight course which might not be for the faint hearted but even they will be glad they tried even the most difficult shots! Great welcome in the propshop and clubhouse.
    City of Derry Golf Club
    10 / 10 stars
    this review is the subjective opinion of a GOLFBOO user and not of GOLFBOO S.L
  • City of Derry Golf Club
    Best value golf in Ireland
    City of Derry is a great parkland venue in the North West of Ireland. The fairways are lush (some of the best you will play on) and the greens run fast and true. The fairways are tree lined so accuracy is key. The day I played was a Wednesday and the green fee was only £13 for golf and food.
    City of Derry Golf Club
    8.1 / 10 stars
    this review is the subjective opinion of a GOLFBOO user and not of GOLFBOO S.L