Ardglass - Down - Northern Ireland

Ardglass Golf Club,
Castle Place,
Ardglass,
Co.Down,
BT30 7TP,
Northern Ireland


  • +44 (0) 28 44 841219

  • Golf Club Website

  • 6 miles S of Downpatrick , off the A2

  • Welcome - contact in advance

  • Jim Cullen

  • David Jones

  • Paul Vaughan


How many of the golfers who flock every year to the magnificent links of Royal County Down are aware that there is another great Irish golfing experience to be had just a few miles along the south east coast of Down in the fishing port of Ardglass?

It is, quite simply, one of the most spectacular courses on the coastline of Ireland, with dramatic elevation changes that offer stunning views of the Irish Sea from every hole as they wind their way from the clubhouse out along the cliffs to a craggy headland then back again.

Arglass Golf Club was formed in 1896 when members fashioned a 7-hole course which was soon extended to form a 9-hole layout. It was not until 1970 that the number of holes on the course were doubled to a full 18-hole configuration. The course is kept in tiptop condition with well-tended fairways, tricky pot bunkers and fast, true greens.

Shortly after the club’s Centenary, a major decision was made to remove three holes – the back-to-back par five 5th and 6th, along with the short 17th – and replace them with three exciting new holes at the furthest point from the clubhouse, creating a wonderful new loop from the new 9th to 11th holes.

From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland , James W Finegan commented: “No more than six holes are authentic undulating linksland; the other dozen are rather meadowy. But virtually the entire eighteen is routed over high ground, with the result that the views – across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man, down over Coney Island Bay, and south to the Mountains of Mourne – are intoxicating. Simply to be abroad on Ardglass is a delight… Admittedly, Ardglass is not a great golf course. But the game here is nonetheless rewarding, studded with Bernard Darwin’s ‘pleasurable excitement’ in a setting of surpassing beauty. I cannot imagine playing at Royal County Down and not finding the time for a game at Ardglass.”

The opening five holes at Ardglass are truly memorable as they are routed along the edge of the cliff tops. The signature hole on the course is played early – the 167-yard par three 2nd, called “Howd’s Hole” where the tee shot is played across a rocky inlet to a seemingly small, distant putting surface. Another thrilling par three is the 12th, called “Cathlin” which is played from an elevated tee way above the green located 198 yards away on the edge of the rocky headland.

The clubhouse is a bit special too – a 14th century Castle that was once the home of the Fitzgeralds, Earls of Kildare – where you find the atmosphere relaxed and friendly. And if you are in any doubt about any of the above descriptions then view the stunning aerial hole by hole photographs of the course on the club website which is a great example of how to promote a course to the golfing public.

Architect Ken Kearney was appointed in 2015 to carry out a long term, multi-phase course improvement project, concentrating primarily on the bunkers.

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Reviews for Ardglass

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Description: With the opening five holes hugging the cliffs with resplendent views across the Irish Sea, it's clear that Ardglass Golf Club is special. Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 28
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Shanksville Tourist

Great course, great views. I gave it a 3.5 as I played it twice last month. One round was 5 hours 15 mins and the second was 4 hours 45. Given length of course that's crazy! It would certainly make me think about returning. The members I played with said it's the tourists that slow it down but where is the ranger

August 07, 2022
5 / 10
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Jake Finlay

The opening holes along the coastline are arguably the best incorporation of landscape for a golf course in Northern Ireland. Although Royal County Down is in close proximity, Ardglass provides a more rugged test and should definitely be included in the trip. Overall a relatively short course in terms of yardages and par. However, weather will the biggest factor in how the course plays with very few places of rest bite from the winds. Each hole is a test and memorable in itself which cannot usually be said about links courses.

April 26, 2022
7 / 10
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robert go

If this course were in America, it would cost you $300 to play. A little rough around the edges, but incredible views and wonderful, authentic Irish feel. Better views than Pebble Beach.

May 20, 2021
7 / 10
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Doug Roberts

Ardglass is a good course which offers a broadening of play options while in the County Down area. It starts with a fury and continues to lose steam as you continue. It's a joy to play. Conditioning is very good.

January 08, 2021
6 / 10
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Christopher Hartley

"Worthy of a full day out"

This is not a long course, but it is so much fun. It is not expensive. It is convenient to RCD. If your travels are taking you to Northern Ireland for golf do yourself a favour and take a day to play it. Super short course, so play the back tees and tee off from a patch of grass beside the 15th Century 'Castle' The par 3 second hole is a short intimidating hole, but once again - so much fun. The rest of the course is a combination of good golf holes on top of the rock and great golf holes along the water. The challenge is far greater than the yardage suggests. I went with a group of guys to play the 'big boys' and we all had more FUN at Ardglass in the same way that when I went to Bandon with a group of guys we had more FUN playing the 13 hole Preserve.

November 18, 2020
6 / 10
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Peter Wood

Ardglass GC was formed in 1896 with the Reverend Thomas Macafee the driving force behind the initiative. Members made a 7-hole course in the land that now occupies the 1st and 18th fairways.

In 1907 a further 2 holes were added and that 9 hole course remained unaltered for the next 60 years. In the late 60's the course expanded to 18 holes and not long after was reconfigured- adding holes 9, 10 & 11 and retiring 3 holes.

Visitors will find a game at Ardglass memorable with no fewer than 8 holes adjacent to the sea, playing along the spectacular cliffs. It is not really Ardglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewer a links course, although it has a linksy feel at times.

A number of the holes in the centre of the property are more parkland than links. These holes are pleasant but not really world class. It is the holes alongs the cliffs by the sea that you come to see- and they demand your attention!

It is a dramatic landscape and when the wind blows it can be challenging for even the best. Ardglass is also known for having the oldest clubhouse in the world – an old castle dating from the 14th century.

Ardglass is not in the championship class of Royal County Down and Royal Portrush.

The maintenance levels are not the same, and the course has no airs and graces. It is just a local course with great character. Some of the holes are outrageous fun, and the overall quality is pretty good.

Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.

September 20, 2019
6 / 10
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John Price

Great course! One of the most picturesque links courses in NI. The development of the course over the last 3 years...has turned this course into a premium detination. Played it recently in strong winds (Hole 2 was a 2 iron off the tee) - second visit, I was a wedge! So can play different! Went into the club house afterwards and haven;t received a friendlier welcome anywhere in NI

March 25, 2019
10 / 10
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2 people found this review helpful

Nicholas Kjelgaard

Ardglass was the last course on our too short a tour of NI. My first introduction to the course was funnily enough as I stood on the 1st at RCD. Upon telling the starter that we were playing Ardglass the following day, he responded with “She will give you enough trouble, don’t you worry about that”.

What stands out for me at Ardglass is it’s routing, it is just perfect. You start with 5 great holes, then it lets you breath until arguably 9 but certainly not 10. 10 to 13 inclusive is again great golf, before a breather until 17 and 18. The breather holes by the way are all really nice with their own challenges.

This is a course that does not ease you in, stand on the 1st and make sure you have warmed up as other than the 11th, there is not a harder tee shot on the course. 1 and 11 are my favourites here. 11 is brilliant go left off the tee, lost ball, go right off the tee, lost ball, go left with your second, lost ball, go right with your second, lost ball.

I think a couple of other reviewers stated that if you are at RCD make the trip to Ardglass and I couldn’t agree more, but what I would say is that this course is worth the trip on its own. If you have played RCD and not Ardglass, go again for Ardglass. I also agree with other reviewers, this is definitely good enough for GB and Ireland top 100, of our tour we all preferred the course over Castlerock and we struggled to work out the better of this and Portstewart.

March 20, 2019
8 / 10
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Ryan

A truly magnificent course. The course is incredibly fun to play and represents excellent value for money (a winning combination!). There are some really memorable holes. Holes 1 – 5 are breath-taking and hug the coast line (it is hard to pick a favourite but I would probably just opt for the 1st over the 2nd, but it’s a debate to be settled over a beer in the impressive club house). The par 3 5th hole is only 125 yards but a mixture of an elevated tee box, a small green complex and a swirling wind make a par on this hole feel like a birdie.

Holes 6 – 9 are all strong but lack the wow of the first 5 holes. The course really comes back to life on the 10th (a great par 3) and is followed by the iconic 11th (a wonderful par 5 that reminds me of the 18th at Pebble Beach and my favourite hole on the course) and the signature 12th hole (reminiscent of the 7th hole at Pebble Beach).

I personally think the 13th hole is very underrated but the run for home isn’t quite as exciting as the early holes on the front 9 but the 17th and 18th holes are excellent risk reward Par 4s and will make any tight match ups particularly exciting.

In my humble opinion, I think this course is a contender to break into the GB&I top 100 golf courses.

November 02, 2018
8 / 10
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Paul Revere CSC

This is a great course. If you have travelled to play RCD dont leave the area without playing here. There is nothing I can say that hasnt already been said in previous reviews except that they have added numerous new bunkers which makes the course tougher and better.

July 14, 2018
10 / 10
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