Bordered by the towering dunes that typify the shoreline of County Antrim, the golf course was originally conceived and realised in 1888 and given Royal status in 1892 by Queen Victoria, but the championship layout in its present state owes thanks to the 1947 redesign completed by Harry S. Colt. The renowned course architect has a stupendous track record throughout the United Kingdom, and Portrush is no exception.
While it may not be the longest championship golf course, Royal Portrush is predicated on the fundamental essence of links golf; totally exposed to the elements, the course's character is heavily dependent on the local conditions, and can change in a heartbeat.
The R&A, and rightly so, are extremely particular about The Open Championship rotation, and Royal Portrush's 1951 and 2019 hosting is indicative of its incredible character - any serious golfer heading to Northern Ireland would be remiss to overlook this golf tour gem.
The Dunluce Links enjoyed one of the finest moments in Northern Ireland and world golf in 2019 with Shane Lowry near-flawless performance in claiming the Claret Jug. Lowry joins Max Faulkner as golfers to have won The Open at Royal Portrush with plans afoot to see the tournament return to this famous links course in years to come.
The course enjoyed a redesign in the run up to The Open with 2 new holes being added with the 7th and 8th replacing the 17th and 18th holes to accommodate the huge crowds (190,000 over the tournament) which visited this famous stretch of coastline for another great edition of The Open Championship.
Whilst Shane Lowry has the course record of this new layout following his 63 in round 3 of The Open, local favourite Rory McIlroy managed to score a sensational 61 aged just 16 years old in the North of Ireland Championship in 2005. McIlroy's round included 1 eagle and 9 birdies and is a mark, much like Lowry's that looks set to stand the test of time.
In 2014, the Dunluce Links course hosted the very best of the amateur game with the 119th Amateur Championship. The field was reduced to 64 plus ties on a qualifying mark of +4 after rounds at Portstewart and Royal Portrush with Daniel Brown of Bedale Golf Club, Yorkshire taking medallist honours by 4 shots with a -8 total. Despite finishing in a tie for 35th in qualifying, Bradley Neil of Blairgowrie Golf Club managed to secure the Championship with a 2&1 victory over Zander Lombard from South Africa. The final was a very close affair with Zander's bogies on 10 and 11 creating a 2 hole margin which he was unable to overturn.
||Harry Colt (most recent)
||1888 (Redesign: 1947)
||Open Championship (1951 and 2019), Irish Open (1930, 1930, 1947, 2012), Senior British Open (1995-1999, 2004), 119th Amateur Championship (2014)
||No. 12 course in the world by Golf Magazine
Signature hole- No. 5 (White Rocks): Par 4, 411 yards, SI 9
Dunluce's 411 yard 5th hole is something of a masterpiece, with the elevated tee providing an opportunity to take in the wondrous seaside links course. The hole itself is nothing short of extraordinary either, and provides the golfer with excellent risk-reward golf.
From the tee, the fairway doglegs right and goes downhill, so when the wind is with you, is possible to play over the large expanse of rough and reach the magnificent green. However, this shot requires complete confidence and precision, since it is not only a matter of reaching the green, but staying on it too. The green hugs a cliff face that has some 50 yard drop to the sand of the White Rocks beach, meaning a few yards could mean the difference between birdie and double bogey...
However, whether you land on the green or not, you are sure to appreciate the stunning views towards the Dunluce Castle. A magnificent golf hole, and if you didn't know risk-reward golf before you definitely will now!
Royal Portrush is ranked as one of the best courses in Ireland
The Open history at Royal Portrush
Royal Portrush has held The Open twice and is the only club outside of mainland Britain to have done so.
Located on the lower ground along the Causeway Coast, the Valley Golf Course might not share the same elevated views of the Dunluce Golf Course but it is of equal interest and challenge. Measuring just over 6,300 yards against a par of 70, this Harry Colt layout enjoys many of the same characteristics of it's 3-year older brother Dunluce with undulating fairways with well-protected greens. A favourite amongst visitors and guests alike is the driveable par-4 5th hole, with dunes surrounding the green it provides a fantastic amphitheatre look and feel with any drives getting close to the putting surface feeling like a real grandstand effort.
As a popular golf course to enjoy as part of a Portrush Tour, golfers can get a great mix of links golf courses as well as access into the popular area of Portrush with an abundance of popular hotels and bed and breakfasts as well as great bars and restaurants, all guaranteed to offer you great atmosphere and local food.
Signature hole- No. 6: Par 3, 237 yard, SI 9
Valley's signature hole plays as a 237 yard par 3 to a well protected green surrounded by mounds. Anywhere left is dangerous, as a bunker is situated front left as well as a steep drop off further out. A thought provoking hole and an obscured view of the green means that this par 3 requires a confident shot!
How to get to Royal Portrush Golf Club
Royal Portrush Golf Club is situated 7 miles north of Coleraine off the A26, just 1 mile from Portrush train station.
Address: Dunluce Rd, Portrush, Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT56 8JQ