Royal County Down Golf Club
Royal County Down in 2004
|Location||Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland|
|Established||1889, 127 years ago|
|Tournaments hosted||Senior British Open
The Amateur Championship
British Ladies Amateur
|Designed by||Old Tom Morris;
Harry Vardon; Harry Colt
|Length||7,204 yards (6,587 m)|
|Length||4,617 yards (4,222 m)|
The Royal County Down Golf Club is a golf club in Northern Ireland, located in Newcastle, County Down. It opened 127 years ago 23 March 1889 and is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland. It has two 18-hole links courses, the Championship Course and the Annesley Links.
Details of the courses
The Championship Course at Royal County Down measures over 7,200 yards (6,580 m) from the back tees, and the fourth and ninth holes are featured in the book The 500 World's Greatest Golf Holes. In 2005 the Championship Course was ranked as the fourth best course in the world outside the United States by Golf Digest, and in 2007 it was ranked first. In 2016 it was voted the best Golf Course in the world by US magazine Golf Digest.
Royal County Down has made outstanding contributions to Irish golf from the Club's beginnings, hosting many important tournaments, starting soon after it opened, and continuing to the present day. Notably, the Club in 2007 became just the second Irish venue, after Portmarnock, to host the Walker Cup. The Irish Open on the European Tour is scheduled for late May in 2015, returning to Royal County Down after 76 years. It previously hosted the event three times, all prior to World War II.
- Senior British Open Championship: 2000 (winner: Christy O'Connor Jnr), 2001 (winner: Ian Stanley and 2002 (winner: Noboru Sugai).
- The Amateur Championship: 1970 (winner: Michael Bonallack and 1999 (winner: Graeme Storm).
- British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship: 1899 (winner: May Hezlet), 1907 (winner: May Hezlet), 1920 (winner: Cecil Leitch, 1927 (winner: Simone de la Chaume), 1935 (winner: Wanda Morgan), 1950 (winner: Vicomtesse de St Sauveur), 1963 (winner: Brigitte Varangot) and 2006 (winner: Belén Mozo).
- Curtis Cup: 1968 United States defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 10.5 to 7.5.
- Walker Cup: 2007 United States defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 12.5 to 11.5.
- Palmer Cup: 2012 Europe defeated United States, 13½ to 10½.
- Irish Open: 1928, 1935, 2015
The first course at County Down was built by Old Tom Morris, hired for the sum of four guineas to build a championship course at Newcastle, which opened on 23 March 1889. His course started and finished by the railway station; thus it played through the general area which the Slieve Donard Hotel now occupies. Joseph Tatlow in his book "Fifty Years of Railway Life" describes how as the then General Manager of the County Down Railway he identified the opportunity for the railway company to build a golf course and hotel at the southern end of their railway. Many of the holes were on the grounds that the present-day Championship and Annesley courses at County Down occupy. George Combe began the remodelling of the course in 1900, and was Convenor of the Green from 1900 to 1913. He was made an honorary life member in 1909 and continued making improvements to the course. Harry Vardon modified the course in 1908, the same year King Edward VII bestowed royal patronage on the club. In 1926, the Club brought Harry Colt in to make further improvements.
Rory McIlroy named Royal County Down his favourite golf course in the world.
- "Royal County Down Golf Course". Discover Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "Royal County Down, Northern Ireland". Top 100 Golf Courses of the World. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "Royal County Down voted world's top golf course". UTV. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
- "Irish Open attracts bumper crowds". PGA European Tour. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "The Royal County Down Golf Club (No. 1 Course)". Golf Club Atlas. Retrieved 2007-08-25.