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Clandeblog The 10 best scenic golf courses in County Down, Northern Ireland

From the rugged coastline to the lush green countryside, Northern Ireland's natural beauty is on full display on these golf courses in County Down.

1. Royal County Down Golf Club

Royal County Down Golf Club, Chris Hill Photographic

Considered one of the most naturally beautiful links settings in the world, Royal County Down is situated in the Murlough Nature Reserve. With its breathtaking views, it's no wonder why it has been voted the best golf course in the world. With the breathtaking views of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea, it's no surprise that this course is so highly regarded. In fact, the ninth hole of this course is known as one of the most photographed holes in world golf!

Top tip: To secure a tee time at Royal County Down, it's important to book well in advance due to limited availability.

2. Clandeboye Golf Club

Clandeboye Golf Club

Located in Bangor, Clandeboye Golf Club is set in the beautiful woodland grounds of the Clandeboye Estate. The championship Dufferin course offers compelling coastal views across Belfast Lough.

Top tip: Book a golf stay and play package with Clandeboye Lodge. The perfect round package includes a round of golf at Clandeboye Golf Club, dinner, overnight stay and freshly cooked breakfast the next day.

3. Ardglass Golf Club

Ardglass Golf Club, Mel Maclaine Momentum Photography

Ardglass Golf Club is renowned for its cliff-top course that offers golfers stunning views of the Irish sea and St. John’s Lighthouse. The uphill first hole, in particular, has been listed by 'Golf Advisor' among the scariest opening holes in golf. Did you know that it’s also home to the world's oldest clubhouse dating back to 1405AD?

Top tip: Always bring an umbrella and waterproof clothing - in Northern Ireland there’s always a chance of rain!

4. Royal Belfast Golf Club

Royal Belfast Golf Club

Royal Belfast Golf Club, the oldest in Ireland, is a hidden gem that provides some of the most scenic golfing views in Northern Ireland. Located in North Down, the course provides unrivalled vistas of Belfast Lough and the Antrim plateau beyond.

Top tip: After a day on the course, unwind at the nearby Coq & Bull brasserie for a delicious meal.

5. Scrabo Golf Club

Scrabo Tower, Earth & Sky Media

Scrabo Golf Club is a picturesque golf course located in Newtownards. The course is set amidst the rolling hills of County Down and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The iconic Scrabo Tower, standing tall above the first green, is visible for much of the round and provides a stunning backdrop to this already beautiful course.

Top tip: Beforehand, why not practise your swing at the nearby Blackwood Golf Centre. With Top Tracer Technology, you can track the accuracy and distance of your shots.

6. Holywood Golf Club

Rory McIlroy, Holywood Golf Club

Holywood Golf Club, home club of golf legend Rory McIlroy, is set amidst rolling hills, mature trees, and offers stunning views of Belfast Lough and the surrounding countryside. Golfers will appreciate the unique layout of the course, with the first nine holes winding through the hilly terrain and the back nine set along the coast.

Top tip: Check out Holywood Golf Club’s indoor golf simulator where you have access to over 100 golf courses from around the word or practice at the virtual driving range.

7. Blackwood Golf Centre

Driving range at Blackwood Golf Centre

Blackwood Golf Centre is located in the heart of Clandeboye Estate, just across the road from Clandeboye Lodge hotel. It offers a range of facilities for golfers to enjoy including a driving range, putting green, Championship and Par 3 course. Golfers can enjoy views of the Clandeboye Estate and Helen’s Tower on the Hamilton Course.

Top tip: Book a golf stay and play package with Clandeboye Lodge. The perfect round package includes a round of golf and 250 balls on the driving range at Blackwood Golf Centre, dinner, overnight stay and freshly cooked breakfast the next day.

8. Helen’s Bay Golf Club

Helen's Bay Golf Club

Spread over nine-holes, Helens Bay golf course is bordered by mature woodland, Crawforsburn Country Park and Helen’s Bay beach. On clear days, golfers can see Ailsa Craig, a rocky island located forty-six miles away, just off the coast of Scotland at Turnberry, adding to the charm and beauty of this stunning golf course.

Top tip: Northern Ireland has plenty of attractions to offer beyond golf so make sure you plan some time to explore the region.

9. Bangor Golf Club

Bangor Golf Club

Bangor Golf Club is a parkland golf course located in the city of Bangor, Northern Ireland. The course offers stunning views over the Irish Sea and you can even see the Scottish coast from the top of the 4th hole hill on a clear day.

Top tip: It’s the Northern Irish school holidays in July and August so book your hotel and restaurant reservations well in advance to avoid ensure availability.

10. Carnalea Golf Club

Friends enjoying a round of golf

Carnalea Golf Club has a rich history that dates back over a century. In fact, it became Ireland's first municipal golf club in 1927, and has been providing golfers with a scenic golfing experience ever since. The course is spread over 88 acres of rolling hills and seaside scenery, with the Bangor to Belfast rail line dividing it into two distinct sections.

Top tip: With shorter daylight hours in Winter in Northern Ireland, golfers should plan accordingly and make sure to schedule tee times earlier in the day to maximise playing time.

Golf stay and play offers at Clandeboye Lodge

Lounge suite at Clandeboye Lodge

Clandeboye Lodge has a range of golf stay & play offers. Choose from Blackwood Golf Club, perfect for holiday golfers and families or Clandeboye Golf Club for the more accomplished players. After a day on the course, enjoy the comfort of the hotel and unwind at the Coq & Bull brasserie for a delicious meal. Read our other blog to discover why you should choose Clandeboye Lodge for your golf break in Northern Ireland.

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