Spotlight on…. Co Down
Located on the eastern coast of Northern Ireland, Co Down is surrounded by natural, shoreline beauty. The town of Downpatrick is the ancestral home of St. Patrick and Down Cathedral offers a wealth of information for tourists and locals alike.
Coastal towns such as Bangor, Holywood, Strangford, Portaferry and Newry all offer a wide variety of fantastic restaurants and quaint pubs. Also located in Co. Down is Newcastle, home to former Irish Open Venue Royal County Down. Newcastle is also home to one of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular natural landscapes, the Mourne Mountains.
Co. Down is a stunning location that combines fabulous golf with beautiful scenery and a lively social scene. Here are some of our top tracks…
Bangor Golf Club measures 6,410 yards from the medal tees and standard scratch is 71. Situated close to the town centre, the course provides a great test of golf and some stunning views over Belfast Lough and beyond. On a clear day the coast of Scotland can be seen from the top of the 4th hill. The club was founded in 1903, and James Braid designed the 18-hole layout. The course has been redesigned in recent years to modern standards and presents the golfer with a challenge in scenic surroundings. The course has attracted some major events, including the Ulster and Irish Professional Championships and Pro-Ams. Former Professionals at Bangor Golf Club include Belfast born Norman Drew and Rory McIlroy’s coach Michael Bannon.
Blackwood Golf Centre is home to two 18-hole courses. The Hamilton Course is the championship layout while the Temple Course is an interesting par-3 course. The centre is situated within the beautiful parklands of the Clandeboye Estate located only 3 miles from Bangor & 12 miles from Belfast city centre. Set in beautiful woodland, The Hamilton Course provides spectacular views of the Clandeboye Estate and Helen’s Tower. Each hole is unique, demanding different shapes of shot with water features coming into play on 11 of the 18 holes. USGA Greens provide challenging slopes and undulations while making the greens a pleasure to putt on. The Temple is an 18 hole Par 3 course which acts as a mini version of the full course, including bunkers and water hazards. It is a great way to hone your short game for the more experienced player while remaining a challenge for beginners.
Holywood is the golfing home of Rory McIlroy. McIlroy is a lifetime member of the club and it was the course where the four-time major champion honed his skills. The front nine is fairly open, playing at 2,873 yards from the back tees. The back nine features elevation changes and challenges at every turn that will test your game as well as your course management skills. Accurate drives are required to score well, and good approach shots are needed to find the greens.
If you fancy a links challenge, then Kirkistown Castle Golf Club sits along the edge of the Ards Peninsula. There is hardly anything separating the course from the Irish Sea. The vast views stretch to the Isle of Man in the east, the Mountains of Mourne in the south, Scrabo Tower, Newtownards to the northwest and Scotland in the northeast. The area has the lowest rainfall in Northern Ireland and when this is combined with its free-draining sandy base, it delivers excellent playing conditions all year. The seaside location provides the ideal landscape for true links golf. The layout is two loops of nine holes that both begin and end at the clubhouse. The inner nine and the outer nine plays in opposite directions, which mean golfers will face prevailing winds from every direction.