The history of golf dates back to Scotland in 15th century and the Old Course at St Andrews, the most ancient links course of them all dates to before 1574. Scotland and the British Isles proudly boast some of the most respected and famous golf courses in the world.
Some of these courses include both the Old and the New Courses at St. Andrews, Kingarrock Hickory Golf Club, Carnoustie Championship Course and The Golf House Club in Elie. In Northern Ireland historic golf courses include The Royal County Down Golf Course, The Portstewart Golf Club, the Portrush Golf Club and the Royal Belfast Golf Club. As the British Empire expanded so did golf throughout the world.
Location: St. Andrews, Fife
Course Length: 6625 yards, Par 71
The New Course, located in stunning St. Andrews is, in fact, the oldest 'new' course in the world. The New Course was built in 1895 to deal with the overflow traffic on the Old Course and has become a world-renowned golfing destination in its own right. It was designed by legendary Scottish golfer Old Tom Morris and engineer B Hall Blyth for tighter play and first opened in April of 1895, quickly becoming a favorite course for locals to play.
The classic layout of this course belies the excitement and fun of some of the most popular holes like 6, 8 and 10. The New Course is widely regarded as one of the top golf courses in the world, with professionals and amateurs alike flocking to Fife, Scotland for a round. First class golfing at its finest, this 6625 yard, par 71 course has something for nearly every golfer brave enough to take the plunge. Were it not to be in such close proximity to The Old Course, The New Course would likely be an even bigger golf destinations for fans around the world.
The New Course is a golf experience you have to play to believe. The beautiful views surrounding every hole of this 18 hole course would almost be distracting if the course itself wasn't so engaging to the player. The New Course truly is one of the finest, and most historic courses that the travelling golf fan could desire to visit, much less play.
Location: Cupar, Fife
Course Length: 4044 yards, Par 68
Kingarrock is the last of the world's Hickory Golf Course links with a history that dates back more than 100 years. This Par 68, 4044 yard course is an adventure through the history of the sport. Kingarrock allows for a trip down golf memory lane with the original clubs, made of hickory wood, and a Gutty Percha ball, the kind commonly used in the early 1900s. This is how many of the pioneers played and the ability to play a round like the golf legends of lore is an amazing experience you won't soon forget.
The Kingarrock course started out as a family course, where many players were simply family or friends of the Sharp family that owned the place. The pace here is a much slower, relaxed pace, aimed again at falling back to the way things were on this splendid, historic course. You can't help but notice throwbacks to the past like the avoidance of new age machinery to keep the course in shape. At Kingarrock, they still utilize sheep to keep the greens and fairways as tame as they can.
Kingarrock is located just a few miles from the birthplace of golf and the clubhouse (Forrester's Cottage) is lined with historic photos highlighting the evolution of the sport. Stay for a while after your round and enjoy a ginger beer, as is the custom at this course. You'll have plenty to talk and reminisce about after an exciting trip back in time playing golf the way the legends once did.
Location: Elie, Fife
Course Length: 6273 yards
Elie Golf Club is one of the oldest and most impressive golf experiences in all of Scotland. The game has been played on these links for hundreds of years with many legends clocking in a round on this 6,273 yard, 18 hole golf course. Fife is undoubtedly home to some of the greatest courses in the history of golf but Elie certainly stands out from the pack. Thomas Mitchell Morris, also known as Old Tom Morris designed the current course in 1895 and the sea views provide an unforgettable backdrop for what is, without doubt, one of the most engaging courses in the region.
The Elie Golf Club has been called 'quirky' by many players, with a periscope, taken from a wartime submarine, used by the starter to ensure that the course is clear and ready for play. Though these features do capture the attention of golfers, the traditional structure of the course is undeniable and makes for fun play.
Beyond the amazing traditional course and legendary flair, lies the history of Elie Golf Club. You can consider that as you battle a half dozen par 4 holes and the unpredictable wind of Fife, Scotland. This is links golf at its finest and overcoming the challenges of a course like Elie Golf Club is part of the fun and adventure that continues to bring players, new and old alike, to give old Elie a shot.
Course Length: 6941 yards
Famously known as one of the most difficult courses in Scotland, the Carnoustie Championship Course has been home to golfers just like you for hundreds of years. This 6,941 yard, 18 hole course has been the setting for exciting rounds from golfers of both the past and present. Carnoustie has been host to the British Open no fewer than 8 times including most recently 2018's event.
While you can't quite see the sea wall from many holes on the Carnoustie Championship Course, you'll always be aware of its presence as the winds are fairly relentless, making for challenging yet exciting play. The winds, atmosphere and history have provided fodder for golf writers and journalists that go back nearly as long as the sport itself. As you finish up on the legendary 18th hole, you'll see just why so much attention has been paid to this beautiful course in Angus, Scotland.
The Carnoustie Championship Course also features a 6th hole, widely regarded as one of the best holes in the world. The 6th hole measures in at 520 yards and is set in between two deeply imposing bunkers. Navigating the wind, distance and other measurable and non-measurable attributes of this hole is why you're traveling to play golf in the first place. Discover what the Carnoustie Championship Course is all about taking in the history of the sport, the difficulty of the course and the beauty of your surroundings as you embark on an 18 hole adventure you'll never forget.
Location: Crail, Fife
Course Length: 5861 yards
A combination of stunning coastal views, centuries of history and hugely enjoyable golf is what makes Balcomie Links one of Scotland's most finely polished golfing gems. This traditional, classic links course was laid out by the old master himself, Tom Morris, and opened in 1895. Created in the days when course design was governed by the natural lie of the land and not the ability to move earth. Extraordinary holes abound, along with those which seriously challenge and those which are more comfortable. The sum total is a layout which both enchants and delights, but which also demands and punishes, testing all the skills in a golfer's armory – as well as his nerve. Those length seekers who believe Balcomie will be a soft touch, do so at their peril.
Not content with a devilishly testing layout, Old Tom designed the course in such a way as to take maximum advantage of its exhilarating seaside location. Shots over rocky bays, long par threes with greens perched on top of vertical cliffs, shots to greens seemingly engulfed by gorse, curving par fours round sandy strands - daring the golfer to cut off too much, shots from cliff tops to greens and fairways invitingly laid out below: all these and more make up the Balcomie experience.
The ferociously challenging fifth, a 447 yard par four, is appropriately named Hell's hole, a name approved by Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance, who added that it was probably the hardest par four in Scotland. It provides the golfer with the classic dilemma of risk and reward: succeed in cutting off much of the out of bounds rocky bay on the right and the green is in reach, or play safe and accept that a third shot to the green is inevitable.
Location: Newcastle, County Down
Course Length: 7,204 yards
Royal County Down was designed by legendary golf designer Old Tom Morris, paid just four guineas at the time, which was right around $20 compensation for his work. The golf club was established in 1889 and has been the site of some of the most historic rounds in the game of golf ever since.
Royal County Down is a beautiful course surrounded by mountains on one side and the shores of Dundrum Bay on another. The bunkers here, referred to as 'bearded bunkers' are famous around the world for the level of difficulty they add to this great course. The ninth hole, a fantastical par 4 checking in at 486 yards, is one of the most photographed holes in all of golf.
The Royal County Down is widely regarded to be not only one of the best courses in Ireland, but in the world. The difficulty, beauty and history of these links bring in golfers from all over the world looking to travel back in time on a course that still holds up to modern competitors. The clubhouse here is absolutely magnificent and, at over 100 years old, contains all the touches of the past combined with the amenities of modern day that make this a place you'll want to visit time and time again.
Location: Newcastle, County Londonderry
Course Length: 6779 yards. Par 72
The Portstewart Golf Club is a splendid 6,779 yard, par 72 course located on the Causeway Coast. This is undoubtedly considered one of the finest golf courses in Ireland, with players traveling from all around the world to take in the scenery and play what is certainly one of the most exciting rounds in all of golf.
Golfers have been teeing up at The Portstewart Golf Club for hundreds of years. The spectacular setting ropes you in as the challenging nature of the course keeps you on the edge. The current course was founded in 1894 by WIllie Park Jr and has been the home to so of the most exciting amateur and professional tournaments in the over 100 years that has past since that time.
Your visit to The Portstewart Golf Club will be about embracing and experiencing the history of the sport while harnessing your skills to battle through some of the toughest holes in Ireland. Some come to Portstewart for the views, others to travel in the footsteps of legends but all come for what is positively one of the best rounds of golf in all of Europe and beyond.
Location: Portrush, County Antrim
Course Length: Dunluce: 7337 yards, Valley Course: 6346 yards
** Royal Portrush (Dunluce Links) is the Host Venue for the 2019 British Open Championship**
Voted by most to be one of the premiere courses in the world, the Royal Portrush Golf Club is a private golf club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Royal Portrush Golf Club is made up of Dunluce Links, a 7,337 yard, par 72 course designed by Harry Colt. The other course is Valley Links, a 6,346 yard, par 71 course. Both courses are absolutely stunning, brilliantly designed and clever in their deployment of course hazards to make this an exhilarating round of golf you won't soon forget.
Dunluce Links is a demanding, yet exciting course designed by legend Harry Colt in 1929. The course is named after the incredible Dunluce castle, which holds court over the historic links with its impressive presence. The signature holes, widely regarded as holes 4, 5 and 16, are the product of much thought and expertise and certainly make this a much more difficult course to navigate. This is, without controversy, regarded as one of the top golf courses in the world and the site of some of the most epic battles to which the sport has ever held witness.
Valley Links is a shorter, and by many measures, less difficult course, often utilized by locals and club members who call Portrush home. The picturesque vistas will grab and hold your attention as you play a round of golf that is as fun as it is challenging on this legendary course.
These two courses make up Royal Portrush Golf Club, a spot that any serious golf aficionado is sure to have on their bucket list. Let us help you make your golfing dreams a reality with a round or more at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.
Location: Craigavad, Holywood
Course Length: Dunluce: 7313 yards, Valley Course: 6336 yards
The Royal Belfast is widely regarded to be the finest courses in all of Ireland. With history stretching back hundreds of years, it's also the oldest course in Ireland. This mix of design, created by the legendary Harry Colt, and history makes for one of the best travel golf experiences any player could desire.
Dating back to the 1880s, this course was home to games played by some of the originators and pioneers of the sport. Royal Belfast took on its name from King Edward VII, who once played the course himself. The clubhouse is full of this vibrant history, including a display of some of the first trophies ever presented at a golf tournament.
This charming course is still played by top contenders to this day, such as Rory McIlroy, a fixture on the PGA tour who often plays a round to soak in the beauty of The Royal Belfast. Play through the oldest course in Ireland, taking on all of its challenges as well as the stunning vistas that make this such a fantastic place for an engaging round with friends. The Royal Belfast is the perfect course for fans of the sport, its history and the art of golf as played out in these wondrous 18 holes.