The Clubhouse

Royal Portrush Dunluce Course review

On the north coast of Northern Ireland lies the Royal Portrush Dunluce Course, a Harry Colt masterpiece. Join us as we explore the many reasons why this Open Championship course is a must-play for golfers across the globe...

Chris Bowles
Chris Bowles
4 mins read
IrelandUK & IrelandLinksBucket listThe Open

Royal Portrush has a special place in the history of Irish golf, since it is the only course outside Great Britain to host The Open Championship.

The Dunluce Course is, and always will be, destined for the big stage. In July 2019, following a 68 year absence, Royal Portrush was once again provided the dramatic setting of The Open Championship, when the whole world watched as Shane Lowry secured his first major victory and became Champion Golfer of the Year.

It was once famously described as a 'spectacular monster'. Some of the hole names probably speak for themselves - 'Purgatory', 'Giant's Cave', 'Himalayas' and 'Calamity Corner'.

6th Hole, Dunluce Course, Royal Portrush Golf Club

By the way, you may be interested to learn that the course record at Royal Portrush is held by a certain Rory McIlroy. At the age of 16 he negotiated the links in a scarcely credible 61 strokes during the Northern Ireland Amateur Open. He played the front nine in 33 and came home in 28.

There are many spectacular holes, but we are going to focus on the closing stretch which is where games will be won and lost. The tee shot and approach at the 15th are blind, so you need to aim at a huge marker pole that is set behind the green. Thick gorse sits to the right of the fairway, and the green is well guarded with lots of trouble at the back.

The 16th is 442 yards and calls for a drive directed to the left of two fairway bunkers to open up the green. The 17th measures 480 yards and is a par 5, but it will play as a par 4 for The Open. A yawning bunker on the right, called Big Nellie, is to be avoided at all costs. Bunkers lie in wait on the left and right of the putting surface.

7th Hole, Dunluce Course, Royal Portrush Golf Club

And then we come to the 18th, a brute of a par 4 measuring 470 yards. As if bunkers to the right and left were not bad enough, the hole features two cross-bunkers in the middle of the fairway and a green protected by half a dozen deep bunkers, with the car park located just a few feet to the right.

Feeling inspired?
Challenging, historic and beautiful, it's clear why Royal Portrush's Links is ranked among the best in the world.


Chris Bowles avatar
Chris Bowles

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist - UK & Ireland

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I help golfers find their ideal golfing getaway overseas

Related articles