Royal Belfast Golf Club

Holywood, Co.Down,

One of only four Irish golf clubs with a "Royal" prefix, Royal Belfast Golf Club was founded in November 1881 and holds the distinction of being the oldest golf club in Ireland. And while the course may be overshadowed to some extent by the great links courses of the northeast, such as Royal County Down, Royal Portrush and Portstewart, there is little doubt that Royal Belfast is one of the finest parkland golf courses in the entire island of Ireland.

As one would expect, the history of the club is a long and colourful one. It was during a holiday in Scotland in the summer of 1881 that one Mr. Thomas Sinclair was invited by friends to play golf at St. Andrews. Having been at once smitten by the game, he returned to Ireland and immediately set about seeking a site on which to build a nine hole course. Renowned architect, Harry Colt, was engaged to design the new course and such was his success, that Royal Belfast has remained largely unchanged to this day.

Today, Royal Belfast provides a stern golfing challenge and offers one of the most beautiful settings of any Irish golf course, with its unrivalled views of Belfast Lough and the Antrim plateau beyond. At the heart of its varied challenge is the constant requirement for accuracy rather than length, while the numerous bunkers and subtly sloped greens ensure posting a low score is indeed a difficult feat.

Among the more memorable holes on the front nine are the short par three 4th, which measures only 142 yards but requires an accurate shot to a green literally surrounded by bunkers; the par four 8th, with out of bounds all along the left hand side; and the 408 yard par four 9th, rated the most difficult on the course and playing directly alongside Belfast Lough. The homeward journey will not disappoint either. From the beautiful short par four 10th playing alongside the water's edge, to the long par five 18th, each hole is a real pleasure to play.

At a Glance

  • Ireland's oldest golf course.
  • 6,185 yards.
  • Par 70.
  • Part parkland/Part links.

Our Take

Royal Belfast was a beautiful course to play with stunning views and grounds, which were excellently maintained- well worth a visit and a round of golf.