Royal County Down Golf Club

The Royal County Down Golf Club was founded in 1889 by a group of influential business and professional men from Belfast. There is some evidence to suggest that even before then a rudimentary form of golf was being played by the townsfolk on the rabbit warren at Newcastle. However, it was the development of a railway line from Belfast to Newcastle by the Belfast & County Down Railway and the emergence of Newcastle as a desirable seaside resort in Victorian times which provided the impetus for the first formal golf course.


Newcastle, Co. Down

Championship Course

7,181 yds

Annesley Course

4,708 yds
Royal County Down 9th Hole

9th Hole

Royal County Down 10th Hole

10th Hole

Course Description

The course has witnessed many wonderful championships. From 1893, when the second Irish Open Amateur Championship was held, until the present time, Royal County Down has been synonymous with the best in amateur golf. It has been the venue for the Walker Cup (2007), the Curtis Cup (1968), the Amateur Championship (twice), the Home Internationals (three times) and, on no fewer than eight occasions, the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, as well as numerous other leading amateur events.

The Irish Open Amateur Championship was held at the course on fifteen occasions, before the competition was discontinued in 1959. Professional golfers, too, have long been drawn to Royal County Down.

In 1893, a competition boasting prize money of one hundred guineas attracted almost all the leading professionals of the day, the great Harry Vardon defeating J. H. Taylor in the final. The Irish Professional Championship was held on four occasions, the last being in 1954 when it was won by Harry Bradshaw. In more recent times the course has been less used as a professional venue, but it has always remained a supreme challenge which attracts the best players in the world; Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and many others have played it either as part of their preparation for the Open Championship or just for sheer enjoyment, and Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland’s current world star, is a frequent visitor.

The Senior Open Championship’ was held at Royal County Down in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and such giants of the game as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Gary Player all took part in it.