Curtis Cup, Sign up here for our newsletter and you'll never slice a drive again. home to some rare protected newt so it could not be touched – how true that There are arguably fifty of these golf courses that have entered into the top 100 lists such as Friars Head and Sand Hills, (Coore/Crenshaw), Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, Tara Iti, Cape Kidnappers (Doak), Ellerston (Norman), Ohoopee Match and Castle Stuart (Hanse). Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. penalty that often doesn’t fit the crime. A view down the long third from the tee benched into the dune. 1 person found this review helpful The 8th has been described as “the hardest par four in golf that no-one talks about” and it is one of several unsung holes at County Down that get overlooked because of the more obvious brilliance of others. It is a perfect introduction to golf at Newcastle, or a lively pick-me-up It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. After this benevolent start, the challenge steadily increases. A handful of blind shots exist throughout the course which are often marked with a painted stone or a towering target to give players an indication of the safest line to take. The first is a good starting hole, not difficult, and sets... Read all 183 reviews. And that is the essence of Royal County Down: Never has the phrase ‘take the rough with the smooth’ been more apposite. There are perhaps a couple of blind drives too many but I can live with Once I played the hole several times it no longer became an issue as the ground there is low and there is room to miss the pond with one’s drive. Location. Playing Royal County Down is an uplifting experience, and losing a few balls here and there while returning your highest score for years is a small price to pay for one of the highlights of your golfing life. It is the last 3 holes that are often critiscised at County Down as not quite up to the standard of the rest of the course. The Fourth and Ninth get loads of notoriety (and rightfully so), but there are so many other world class holes there. Dunes on both sides squeeze the fairway 140 to 60 yards from the green and these natural landforms were used to great effect in creating different playing strategies. Harry Vardon modified the course in 1908, the same year King Edward VII bestowed royal patronage on the club. Each of these holes are top class, and they set the scene for one of the best nines in golf. Cunningly, and against the golfer’s instinct, the best line is down the left. well in excess of 7,000 yards (7,186 from the blue tees) but has much more No matter where you are on the fairway, the approach shot to this green is tough and challenging to play. See other reviews from Freddie. However, please do consult the yardage book or your caddy to identify how far you need to play the shot. A drive long down the left gives the golfer the best view of the green, though at the expense of a longer approach. Some offer spectacular views of the ocean. Playing along side Dundrum Bay, a tee ball down the right can bring the sunken green in reach in two. Each hole was unique and interesting. I loved every single minute on that course, through the downpours and harsh winds, and I immediately wanted to play again. They are mostly played to narrow, undulating fairways before pitches to wonderful green-sites. Bogey Beware:  13th Hole – 446 Yard Par 4 – The most celebrated hole on the back nine and an exemplary display of how Mother Nature is golf's best designer if you will let her reign supreme; even if it means the occasional blind shot as is found at the 13th. The 4th must be one of the most scenic long par threes in golf described as follows by one commentator: “Innumerable gorse bushes, ten bunkers, three mountain peaks, and one spire equal the most magnificent view in British golf”. The famed 4th and 9th holes on the front-nine are indeed exceptional but in truth the course doesn’t miss a beat on the outward loop. The hairy-edges, that border many of the bunkers, also have their detractors and I am one; I had a couple of near misses from what would have been an unplayable lie. The elevated tee serves only to make more explicit the difficulties that lie ahead, namely three bunkers on driving distance into the breeze. Approaches from tee balls missed wide left or right can still be blind, a very clever design feature that puts a premium on accurate driving. Respond to above review  It takes a genuinely well struck long iron to find a green heavily protected at the front. Also, the hole is a total beast! This Then hold your finish for as long as possible, sigh, take a deep breath, and hope that once you reach the fairway down below your ball will be in view. Having recently held the 2015 Irish Open the course can be stretched to Then comes one of the most famous views in golf. Reaching this green in regulation is a feat few players manage while playing Royal County Down, but after playing such a remarkable hole, you don't really care about your score. dunes and hope our swing holds true. Far more holes genuinely take the breath away than do not. It’s a mystery that this fantastic course, with one of the finest outward nine holes in golf, has never hosted an Open. Never mind that you cannot see the fairway. Please leave your own comments below, Fairmont St. Andrews (Torrance & Kittocks), Golf Course Review of Royal County Down (Championship & Annesley). been an unplayable lie. tantalising glimpses of the real thing which simply serves to whet the Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole. However, what for instance would be gained if the blind tee balls on the aforementioned holes were altered? captivating of pictures. It is the epitome of the quintessential form of the game. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The Top 50 Holes in Irish Golf - top ten: Portmarnock, Ballybunion or Royal County Down - which is the best? is I don’t know! Steve Carroll, by The inviting While in my reviews I normally go through every hole, I see no reason to do that for the championship course at Royal County Down as I would be using the same adjectives over and over: wonderful, beautiful, challenging, spectacular, strategic, magnificent, special, decision-making, difficult, etc.. Other than perhaps the 15-17 at Cypress Point, there are no better views in golf than from the tee on four and the crest of the hill on nine at Royal County Down. Fifth hole, 440/410 yards; The golfer is given every opportunity not to play well at County Down as the design does more to disconcert the golfer than any other course with which the author is familiar. Travelling in the opposite direction, the 6th can be a mere drive and a pitch downwind. I was lucky enough to play RCD or as the members like to call it “Newcastle” in the beautiful summer time with a friend who is a member at the club. The back nine doesn’t quite deliver to the same exceptionally high standard but the 13th, 15th and driveable 16th are among my favourites on what is undoubtedly an awe-inspiring links. See other reviews from Ed Battye. during this time changing the routing to two loops of nine. The back nine gets some slack for not being as good as the front, but frankly I don't think any group of nine holes on earth would be able to compare to the front nine at RCD. DeChambeau ready to topple Augusta … As you can see, many hands have helped shaped Royal County Down but each 18th and a brand new 16th. It was firm, fast running and just how nature intended the course to be played. Tom Paul likens playing County Down to playing Oakmont because of their shared high demand; architecture. We created a practice ground to the right of the hole but have built a line of He then positioned the 9th tee whereby a cracking drive would clear the towering dune and fall down to the flat ground below. So the question is begged: who is George Combe? The 17th is a head scratcher that just does not seem to fit, but this is a very minor criticism of one of the best courses in the world. unrelenting challenge it is easy to understand why the course is cherished Architect Martin Ebert kindly supplied the following short update at the start of 2017: Already In the opinion of the author, the outcome would be more the latter than the former, which is ironic as part of the goal of this site is to highlight the resurgence in classic golf course architecture. Grade A+, Cost:  £60 - £220 (£45 for a senior caddie, £30 for a standard caddie, £60 for a forecaddie for the group) Click for current rates. The 9th, a long par four, is perhaps one of the world’s most photographed holes, the line from the elevated tee is directly at the Slieve Donard peak and the sweeping fairway lies eighty feet below—magnifique. George L. Baillie, Old Tom Morris, Harry Vardon, Harry Colt, Donald Steel, Championships hosted: The green complexes were brilliant although extremely exacting…most were raised and the run offs gave the player the opportunity to use every facet of their short game. Brown. Dune-lined valleys, up-and-overs, We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.


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