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

  • Desmond Connolly

  • David Jones

  • Paul Vaughan


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Ardglass

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.

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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: 5 out of 6 Reviews: 20

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.

5 / 6
Ardglass
November 02, 2018


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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.

6 / 6
Ardglass
July 14, 2018


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This wonderful gem proudly sits in my top 3 courses where measuring the all important "glad to be alive" factor (alongside Cruden Bay and Bamburgh Castle). You are never apart from the sea, and at times you are nearly in it! Stunning views of the rugged Down coast, and the Mountains of Mourne to the south. There's also some pretty good golf to be had! Holes 1 and 2 are real knee knockers with carries required over cliffs, and anything left will be swallowed up in the waves. The spectacular golf continues, with highlights at 11 and 12, 11 a brutal par 5 along a beach, with thick gorse left and rocky beach OOB right either side of a narrow fairway with a brook running through it, then 12 a glorious par 3 playing from a high rocky outcrop down back to the sea. The weakest part of the course is probably 14-16, but 17 and 18 are crackers, 18 in particular a classic risk/reward short par 4 that can end in eagle/birdie or much much worse. Luckily for me it was a birdie. I can still picture several of the holes so clearly in my mind a few weeks after playing, a sure sign of a course well worth travelling for. The only negative was the speed of the round (and I don't mind a slow round). 2 big groups of Americans ahead (playing off back tees when they really shouldn't have been), slowed us down to 5 hours (despite them going round with caddies!). Meant we didn't have time to enjoy a beer in the spectacular castle that is the clubhouse.

5 / 6
Ardglass
June 05, 2017


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Many overseas visitors when coming to Northern Ireland usually have the desire to book tee times at both the Championship 18 at Royal County Down and the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush. And for good reason. Both are world class -- rightly rated among the world's best.

The flip side is that both courses are especially demanding -- pity the hapless player unable to control one's tee shots consistently. The steady diet of looking for lost balls and then reloading time after time can be fatiguing to say the least. Amazingly, just 30 minutes from County Down is a layout blessed with stellar scenery and a worthy test without all the grueling rough to inhibit one's backswing.

Ardglass Golf Club represents the kind of "fun" golf many players need to include when in Northern Ireland.

While the course is not overly long -- make no mistake about it -- winds can whip off the Irish Sea adding a good bit more to any hole played.

The 1st tee is located immediately next to a magnificent castle structure that serves as the clubhouse. With water to one's left -- the short par-4 opener turns left then uphill to a green set in a saddle with ample rough serving to thwart the half-hearted play. The best angle is from the left side but be forewarned on the high grass that awaits. Be especially mindful if the pin is placed in the deepest area of the green. Possible birdie -- yes. Possible double-bogey too! A vintage opener to get the golf blood flowing.

The 2nd is a solid 167-yard par-3 -- again with water to the left for an engaging view with a green totally exposed to the elements. The next two holes also follow the coastline -- both are short par-4's. The 4th is particularly well done -- the preferred landing area is left center which is hard to accomplish given the proximity of the rough and coastline on that side. However, if one misses too far right there is a large grass dune blocking one's path very effectively.

At the short 5th you face a drop-shot par-3 featuring a putting surface maddeningly difficult to hold with any serious wind blowing.

Once you reach the 6th the course swings inland and the holes encountered are fairly repetitive and don't really add much to the total equation. They are sufficient -- but not especially noteworthy.

That changes with the start of the back nine -- following another downhill par-3 at the 10th -- the par-5 11th is exceptional. Lined with gorse left and a parallel sea wall to the right. Birdie is possible but not without being in play right from the start. The 12th is a quality par-3 that follows and the par-4 13th is well done -- turning left in the drive zone and ending with a subtle green that is hard to fathom.

After the 13th you play another series of holes that are fairly rudimentary -- not bad per se -- just not memorable. The concluding trio is a return to quality. The 16th slides uphill -- the green elevated above the fairway. The 17th is good short par-4 with another elevated target.

The final hole is a quality closer - presenting a slew of options -- from driving the green to possibly throwing away one's round with a foolish play. At 345 yards and going downhill - the temptation is there. Do you go for the max? Do you play conservatively? The thing about 18 is that those who bailout right will face a devilish pitch uphill to a narrow green. There is a speed slot and one an fit the tee shot to this area the reward can mean an eagle putt. It's a fascinating hole because the numbers can be so varied among all players.

Ardglass provides a design that wants players to get emotionally connected -- relishing fun shots played well. Not endless slogs with little hope for success. Too many links courses have overdosed on the inclusion of brutal rough - making holes more demanding does not add to greatness but simply shows a weak crutch unnecessarily added. Elasticity in design is not about accepting mediocre plays -- but giving players space to elevate themselves. Ardglass provides such a platform -- combining scenic vistas and enough quality holes to carry the day.

by M. James Ward

4 / 6
Ardglass
March 01, 2017


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The scorecard says "Stunningly Natural Naturally Stunning". After playing Ardglass during the afternoon on Sunday July 26th with my son, the views were strikingly impressive and thoroughly enjoyed playing the course despite the high winds and heavy rain conditions. I must say the playing conditions were about the worst I have ever played in. We truly got to experience the wrath of the Irish Sea.
Ardglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewer
The next day after playing Royal Portrush a golf tour operator said the conditions on Sunday were the worst he has experienced in his 12 years on the job. He said his group had delays due to extremely high winds. Not only were the winds howling on this day but the rain also never stopped. Ardglass was an extremely challenging test of golf and pars were very difficult to achieve on any of the holes. Would like to play Ardlass again on a less brutal day. My son and myself virtually had the course to ourselves as I could understand why not many golfers would want to play on this day, at least the time we played.

As far as the condition of the course, I thought the greens were better than Royal Portrush and high praise to the greens crew as the tees, fairways, and bunkers were all in excellent condition. My favorite holes were the holes thaArdglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewert hugged the Irish Sea coastline and they were certainly stunning. I especially enjoyed the first 5 holes and the par 3 12th and par 4 13th. On this day the 13th was certainly the most difficult as we played directly into the howling wind and the heavy rains almost hurt walking into it. Playing the 18th hole was a nice way to end the day. The views again were stunning highlighted by the 14th century majestic castle clubhouse, the 14 flags from various countries behind the green whipping in the wind, and of course the waves crashing into the coastline.

The Ardglass Golf Club was a pleasure to play and would highly recommend it to any golfer visiting County Down as it is truly unique and stunning. Even though it never stopped raining did take some photos and videos of Ardglass. The quality was not as good as would like and had a hard time keeping the camera dry, but click here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdqxNFhnD0pBu02133O4c6e-IP4A7QtJt if you would like to see some pictures taken on a very difficult day. Jim Brady
5 / 6
Ardglass
August 18, 2015


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Played this as a bonus on the way up from Dublin to RCD. Memorable, unusual course with an amazing opening few holes. I was worried I was going to run out of balls after 3 holes with the prevailing Southerly turning the first few holes into a cliff and gorse studded nightmare. My heeled drive from the cannons in front of the clubhouse (told you it is unusual !) on the first just failed to gain the fairway leaving me with a fairly unique sideways recovery shot back up to the fairway from a grass pathway between 15 ft rock walls. There are a few relatively humdrum back and forth holes in the middle but most of the holes are in outstanding runs finishing with a relaxing pint in a great clubhouse with really friendly, interested members. Would be five balls with a bit more variety in some of the flatter holes. However, the sunny coast drive south to Newcastle with the Mountains of Mourne slowly coming into view will live with me forever and ensures that Ardglass will always be a fond memory and would love to go back.
4 / 6
Ardglass
June 08, 2015


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What a start to the round at Ardlass! The cliff top par four 1st and par three second 2nd are as good as you will encounter anywhere, with both holes demanding nothing other than mighty heroic carries across the jagged rocky coastline to far distant greens.

Another couple of thrilling par three holes follow on the front nine: the 151-yard 5th, Ardglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewerplayed downhill to a green fronted by a couple of fiendishly positioned bunkers and the 219-yard 7th, where an old cottage to the right of the green stymies pushed tee shots.

Continuing the memorable par three theme, the “Amen Corner” section of the course at holes 10 to 12 begins and ends with long one-shot holes that plunge down to the water’s edge from elevated tees benched high into the hillside above.

There’s a bit of respite to be had in the latter stages as holes are routed inland, away from the coast, before the downhill 18th returns golfers back to the seaside in front of the castellated clubhouse.

It’s hard to expect Ardglass to compete against the more salubrious world class links courses in the north of Ireland but it more than holds its own with the best of them, offering an engaging cliff top test of golf that’s guaranteed to entertain from start to finish.

Jim McCann

5 / 6
Ardglass
April 19, 2015


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I was told some months before going, when some customers came back, that the course was not that good despite 5 great starting holes and aArdglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewer couple more that were worth. I have to say unfortunately totally disagree with my customer! I arrived early in the morning on a sunny and windy day in August, with the good luck to be playing in bermudas! I was marveled by the old building of the Club House and gave a walk inside to learn some more history about the course, which was fantastic. Then I received my 24 golfers group spending some time between the putting green (which rolled at 10 feet at least) and first tee taking pictures of them. Finally it was my time for the round with the club captain, which is a very big honor as a visitor. First hole is one of the most challenging opening tee shots I have faced, where you have to carry more than 200yds and also be precise to have a better angle to an elevated green Ardglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewerin between the rocks. It was very nice to start with a birdie from 20 feet downhill which rolled extremely pure. Then second is a dramatic over the cliff par 3 which that day played 165yds into the wind. 3 and 4 2 great par 4s, one of them with the semi blind shot which made it tough into the wind. All 4 holes go along the cliff on the left. Then 5th is a nice par 3 where if you hit the right side bunker you need to donate money as it is called the “Captain´s Bunker”. After that 6-7-8 are just standard holes which in my opinion might need some creativity to make them more interesting. 9-10-11-12-13 is a stretch that I loved starting on a great par 5 uphill with a very tough second shot. 10th is a tough par 3 that ends by the shore before a spectacular par 5 (11th) with the shore on the right and a very well protected gree, in which plaArdglass Golf Course - Photo by reviewerying into the wind I hit the shot of the week with my 3 wood to 2 feet for an eagle. 12th is a dramatic downhill par 3 in which hybrid was the club and then 13th is a very tough par 4, long and with a blind second shot. 14-17 have nothing special before very nice finishing hole, where the elevated tee and downwind made it reachable with the tee shot. The views there of the ocean and the club house are amazing and maybe the nicest I was able to experience in Northern Ireland. After the round a big dish of mussels completed a very nice experience which I really hope to repeat. If you go to this part of the country, you have to play the course. Some holes maybe just “standard” but the views all along the way and more than half of the holes are thrilling. Very well kept, fast and true greens, crew very kind and helpful, everything at Ardglass is just as a golf course has to be.
5 / 6
Ardglass
December 18, 2014


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1st hole is among the best in golf. 2nd is almost as good. 3rd and 4th and 5th are spectactular with tee boxes above rocks and pounding waves. The course then gives you time to draw breath before hitting you with 10th downhill par 3, 11th par 5 with gorse left and water right and water short and water long and that's just off the tee!! The 12th par 3 is another amazing hole. Blind tee shot and 2nd shot on the 13th stroke index 1 and draw breath again. turn for home and 17 is difficult and nasty, while 18 is a pure delight off the tee. Well worth playing, great value for money, and while there are a few bland holes, the amount of great holes make this a very very good course.
5 / 6
Ardglass
July 07, 2014


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Played this course yesterday and absolutely loved it. The opening hole is a real cracker which you should play from the white tees to experience it properly. You’ll find that position is everything on your approach shot, with the left hand side of the fairway being the preferred landing area, but more of the rocks have to be carried. Not a long hole, but a thinkers hole, and it sets the tone nicely for a run of beautiful cliiftop holes which are reminiscent of some of the clifftop holes at Old Head of Kinsale although not quite as dramatic. The inland holes have more of a links feel to them and reminded me a little of Baltray GC. Like some of the other posters have said, the 12th is a fabulous par 3, but I think if they could raise the tee boxes a bit, more of this fabulous hole would be visible. All in all, well worth the visit, cheap green fees also. Favourite hole was without doubt the awesome par 5 11th.
5 / 6
Ardglass
October 13, 2010


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JP
December 23, 2011
I am an Englishman living in NI and this course is something for ulster to be proud of! Although the controversial view amongst fellow golfers is that this isn't a tue links ( I think it is!) not many courses in the world will give the same views, ocean hugging holes and challenge as this jewell in the crown..I've played this a few times bow and love it! The best holes for me are 1,2,5,6,9,11,12,18!! The only negative is that there are some holes that are bland,plain and uninteresting!!! Burning think that is only because the aforementioned holes are stunning! The friendliest members,pro-shop and bar youll find! A definite must!!!
Ebrahim Vahed
May 28, 2012
Ardglass proved to be the 'find' of our tour. A great hillside course. The best holes undoubtedly are the first five, but it has a fantastic layout and keeps you interested right until the great 17th and 18th holes. Best clubhouse by far. Friendliest staff with meet and greet by ex captain. an underrated course. Great to play along with RCD. A must play course. It will appeal to golfers of all levels. Must play from White tees to be a challenge. Can't say enough abo0ut this course. Ebrahim Vahed. South Africa
Mark
August 19, 2015
Tee box at the 12th has been raised now to give you a view of the green.