Castlerock (Mussenden) - Londonderry - Northern Ireland

Castlerock Golf Club,
65 Circular Road,
Castlerock,
Co Londonderry,
BT51 4TJ,
Northern Ireland


  • +44 (0) 28 7084 8314

Castlerock is a seaside village, located on the Causeway Coast. The Mussenden course (named after the nearby temple which is perched dramatically on the cliff edge) lies at the mouth of the River Bann where it meets the mighty Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, the Isle of Islay is visible to the north, and to the west, the rolling hills of Donegal.

The club was founded in 1901, originally as a nine-hole layout, and was extended to 18 holes in 1908 by the famous Scottish club maker, Ben Sayers. In 1925, Harry Colt made further modifications to the course.

Living in the shadow of its famous neighbours, Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock Golf Club is every bit as good, and should not disappoint. This is one of the toughest links courses around, with some exceptional holes. Play close to your handicap and you are doing very well.

The wind is huge factor and when it blows, hold on to your hat. This will no doubt affect scoring. So much so, that in 2001, during the Ireland PGA International, Paul McGinley registered the course record of 64 on a calm day. The previous day, when the wind was up, the eventual winner Des Smyth, was the only player to score better than par. As with most links courses, you must keep your ball in play. Your short game must be of the highest standard because these greens are very quick, even during the winter. Maintaining concentration is important all the way round, because there are no easy holes at Castlerock.

The 4th, a 200-yard par three, is the club's best-known hole, called “Leg O’ Mutton”. The tee-shot is played to a raised green, with the railway line running the full length of the hole on the right and a meandering burn running diagonally from right to left. Do not try to bump and run your approach shot to the short par four 6th – the hidden burn runs across the front of the green. The 15th is a great par five, called “Homewards”. A blind tee shot needs to be struck slightly right of centre, providing a great chance to score well. The 18th is a lovely finishing hole – a tough dogleg to the right and the highest, double-tiered, green on the course.

James W Finegan on the course: “The entire course lies neatly between the railway and the river and the sea… Many holes meander through inviting duneland, but equally many occupy less attractive ground, among them the famous and very much inland 4th… This highly penal if rather ordinary-looking hole demands a straight, solid strike.” From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland.

We recommend a visit to Castlerock as part of a triple deal (with Portstewart and Royal Portrush). In 2003, the actor Michael Douglas visited Castlerock and he loved the course – a fatal attraction, you might say!

Castlerock also has a 9-hole course called the Bann. The layout is similar to the main Mussenden course, and the par five 5th is considered to be “one of the most scenic holes in Irish golf” – we can’t disagree. The club is is 'twinned' with Niagara Golf Club, considered to be North America's oldest existing golf course (1875).

In 2017 Martin Hawtree was commissioned to renovate the Mussenden course. Phase one of the project commenced in October of that year with updates to bunkers and greens (under the stewardship of SOL Construction) across six holes. Phase one was completed in April 2018 then phase 2 was carried out over the winter of 2019/2020, installing new bunkers, run off areas and mounding around several greens, along with the addition of new tees on another three holes.

Castlerock upgrades the Mussenden course

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Reviews for Castlerock (Mussenden)

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Description: Living in the shadow of its famous neighbours, Portstewart and Royal Portrush, Castlerock Golf Club is every bit as good, and the Mussenden will not disappoint. Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 38
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Neil Wallace
Fantastic course but pray you get a calm day because this couse is exceptionally difficult on a windy day. The greens are the best ive played on and the view from the 17th tee is spectacular!
August 04, 2005
10 / 10
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clarkey
A beautiful golf course and a great challenge for the amateur golfer looking to improve their game, really enjoyed playing here
July 28, 2005
6 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Great opening at Castlerock, dog leg right uphill – a really nice hole. A couple of straight forward holes early on but the great collection of links holes continues with only a couple more that may come into the ordinary category (11th and 13th). Castlerock is a much better course than the current rating suggests. Highlights must include the run from the 6th to the 9th – pure delight………..Strong finish too. Had a fantastic time here and I recommend it highly
February 01, 2005
8 / 10
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Keith Baxter
Castlerock has the potential to be a top-notch golf course. As it currently stands, the Mussenden is certainly a must-play when visiting Ulster and the course stands up reasonably well, even against the mighty Royal Portrush. After a strong start, the Mussenden leads you to the 3rd, which is closest to the railway line, and it's these holes (3rd and 5th) that inspire the least. If only the 5th (and some of the par 3s) on the excellent 9-hole Bann course could be incorporated into the Mussenden, I think Castlerock would be a permanent fixture within the GB&I Top 100. Why not take a leaf out of Ballyliffin's book and ask a celebrated architect to take a look at the routing? Castlerock has GREAT potential, but it's well worth a visit and it certainly didn't disappoint me.
January 29, 2005
6 / 10
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Jason Henderson
I am completely amazed that this course is not in the top ten. It's simply delightful. It provides the ultimate test for a golfer. The greens are lightning fast which means bad putters will soon be found out. The fairways are also always in top condition. In my eyes there is no better links course in Britain than Castlerock. Not only is it a great course, it is a feast for the eyes as it contains some of the most scenic holes in golf. The new par 5 overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the nine-hole Bann course is quite beautiful. I would advise you to play this course as soon as possible before word gets out. Oh, and watch out for the par 3 fourth, Leg o Mutton, it's a treat.
July 28, 2004
10 / 10
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Jason Henderson
Castlerock should be number 1. It is 50 or so places behind an unnamed course which I have played and found quite an unpleasant experience. This is links golf of the very highest order. A warm welcome is assured from the fantastic Irish people. Take plenty of balls.
July 28, 2004
10 / 10
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Hugh
No idea as to why Castlerock is not rated more highly. The course is significantly better than its current ranking suggests. The views are staggering and the challange is extreme when the wind blows. Wonderful downhill finish, falling down to the clubhouse.
June 14, 2004
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Played here in Feb 2004 - and did the wind blow ! When the elements are not in favour this is tough. Loved it here despite the weather - Links golf of great standard.
April 06, 2004
8 / 10
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