Castletown - Isle of Man

Castletown Golf Links,
Fort Island,
Derbyhaven,
Isle of Man,
IM9 1UA


  • +44 (0) 1624 822211

The Isle of Man is very different from anywhere else in the British Isles. It doesn’t belong to the UK, or the EU. It’s self-governing, with its own currency, culture and postage stamps. During the first two weeks of June, the place goes motorcycle mad. The T.T. – the world famous motorcycle event – is staged on the island’s mountain circuit.

Castletown Golf Links is located at the southeastern tip of the island, on the rocky Langness Peninsula, better known locally as Fort Island. On a clear day, the distant Cumbrian Mountains can be seen. The peninsula is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a number of formally listed ancient monuments, including an Iron Age fort. The triangular headland is bordered on three sides by the Irish Sea and is connected to the mainland by a thin strip of rocks. It’s breathtaking.

Old Tom Morris originally laid out the course back in 1892 and Philip Mackenzie Ross revised it after the Second World War. Little has changed since.

Castletown is full of natural hazards – wild rough, rocky beaches, gorse and, of course, the wind. The course is laid out high above sea level and, with no sand dunes, there is no protection from the elements. The upside to this are the unrivalled, panoramic views of the Irish Sea. It’s hard to imagine that any other course could possess more coastal frontage than Castletown.

There are many great golf holes at Castletown, but one of the best, and most memorable, is the par four 17th. The tee-shot must carry across a deep rocky gorge. Try not to let the sea – crashing into the rocks below – disturb your concentration.

Some people draw a parallel between Castletown and Turnberry. Mackenzie Ross is certainly a common denominator, as is the dramatic rocky coastline. Turnberry is perhaps a sterner test, but we think Castletown is more thrilling, dramatic and much better value for money.

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Reviews for Castletown

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Description: Castletown Golf Links is located at the southeastern tip of the Isle of Man on a triangular links headland which is bordered on three sides by the Irish Sea. Rating: 8.6 out of 10 Reviews: 12
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Ed Battye

If you’ve got an itch sometimes you’ve just got to scratch it… even if it’s in a hard-to-reach place! And in my personal quest to play all the true links golf course in the British Isles that was exactly the case with Castletown.

It’s sad I know, but I’ve got a Great Britain & Ireland map on my office wall with a pin pushed into all the venues still to play and the one that occupied Castletown Golf Links, on the Isle of Man, has been bugging me quite some time now.

Set in a truly stunning location on Langness Peninsula the links at Castletown is just about as raw, rugged and rustic as they come (never underestimate the value of the 3 Rs!) It is a style of golf that suits my eye and lends itself to pure links golf, often played along the ground and where missing on the wrong side is treacherous but equally fun in terms of recovery. Situated mostly above sea-level the course is flanked by a couple of bays on two sides and dramatic cliffs on the third; a stretch of coastline which if not the better of Turnberry then certainly its match. Because you are mostly some way above sea level the panorama is not only exceptional but also varied.

Rabbit holes litter a few of the fairways, dry stone walls come into play, rocks protrude from the links at times. All magic stuff and befitting of the surrounds. The land is quick draining and with wispy fescue and clads of heather the scene is set for great golf.

Not dissimilar to the island’s “Three Legs” symbol the links plays to three distinct limbs. The first tee and 18th green, located close to the clubhouse and an abandoned hotel, are on a protrusion of land jutting out into the sea. Meanwhile, at the furthest point the seventh hole extends back towards town whilst the 15th green is the end-point of the course towards the south.

The routing of the course is tantalising good with several high points early on, a little dip in the middle before a grandstand finish of the highest order.

I was particular impressed with the majority of the first ten holes. The first is an awkward little son of a bitch…. but all the better for it! With a wind whipping off the left the hole plays as a 253-yard par-four and should be an early birdie opportunity, and at the very worst a safe par, but the raised knob of a green can cause innumerable problems.

Holes six through to ten are absolutely rock solid in terms of design with lots of low-level ground contouring, fine green sites and rollickingly good golf to be had. The first every Derby horserace was held on this section of the course – most likely the 7th hole.

The pick of the bunch may just be the short 8th – the first par-three we encounter – its plateau green location is so good it doesn’t require a single bunker. I also enjoyed the ninth with its hogback fairway and an approach which feeds in from the right.

There’s nothing particular wrong with holes 11 through to 15. In fact taken individually they are all very good holes with some excellent green complexes and putting surfaces but as a run of holes they lack the magic which the rest of the course has in abundance. They are mostly played on flatter land, or in the case of the 14th and 15th slightly uphill, which into the wind did feel like a bit of slog.

All is quickly forgiven as we turn for home and play three holes along some of the most impressive coastline you will encounter and this makes for a closing stretch which is just about unmatched.

Castletown is probably not visited by enough people to raise its stock in the golf course ranking world. The top 100 website – of which I am a big admirer – ranks it as number one of the Isle of Man but it does not make their top 100 GB&I list and because it understandably does not fall into the English links section it is difficult to see just how close it comes to making it. It can’t be far away though and in my opinion I would probably have it in there so hopefully it’s knocking on the door and next time it may just squeak in.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

June 13, 2019
8 / 10
Castletown
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David Oliver
June 13, 2019

Wish I had not read this outstanding review as my itch is now amplified. I have 8 of top 100 links to play and Castletown is beckoning.

Will Ellefson

If Castletown Golf Links were in Scotland it would be easily a top 100 course. I couldn't believe how good the course is, the layout is fantastic, and the tee shot on the 17th is something that feels like it belongs on the Monterrey Peninsula (minus the weather). So many holes hug the coast, and the ones that don't are still loads of fun. Between fun elevation changes, changing hole directions, and cleverly placed bunkers, Castletown is definitely a fantastic course that doesn't get nearly enough recognition. Nobody will say it's the most challenging course, but it is easily one of the most fun I've played. If you are ever on the Isle of Man go and play Castletown Golf Links, you will not regret it.

June 11, 2019
9 / 10
Castletown
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Colin Townsend
As a South African visitor to the Isle of Man for the annual Parish Walk in June over the last three years, the Thursday golf day before the Parish has become very special to me and a number of my walking friends.In 2014 there was ‘Brit versus Boer’ challenge which was played in great spirit and we ended making some really special friends along the way. This year, 2015, the club hosted a ‘Heritage Day’ competition with teams from the IoM, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and South Africa, with the Scottish team walking away with the bragging rights for the day – but a wonderful golf experience and meeting some very special people along the way.Coming in to land at the Ronaldsway Airport certainly gave me a glimpse of a fantastic layout on the peninsula, but also made me think that there was more to the course than just its natural beauty - that Mother Nature could be a bigger handicap than the official one. I have only played 6 or 7 rounds on the Castletown course over the last couple of years, but can assure you that I will take (and make) every opportunity to get a game in there when I am next on the Isle of Man and any time thereafter.
December 22, 2015
8 / 10
Castletown
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David Moller
Great and a classic course. Layout is interesting and it givesyou that links feel. Greens are currently in a very good condition. Clubhouse is very professional including the staff. my experience has always a wow when i palyed at Castletown.
September 04, 2015
10 / 10
Castletown
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Roland Teare
Played Castletown last week after way too long away. Fondly remember childhood holidays staying in the hotel playing the course and it is so sad to see the hotel fenced up and deserted. Many have described it as national disgrace and, given the pride which the island takes in other sports notably cycing both motorised and not, this is not wide of the mark. No matter, the course thankfully remains and is still the jewel in the manx golfing crown. The Langness peninsula on which the course is situated, as described in other reviews, can not be bettered, with sea and mountain views in every direction on every hole. The course itself is fully deserving of it’s ’championship’ billing and even in a mild breeze seems to play tough. If the uphill and short 1st and 15th holes are discounted the comparisons with more lauded tracks such as Turnberry seem valid and the it’s fair to say that were the course located on the mainland it would be far more than the hidden gem it is that most have not even heard of. The banana shaped par 4 5th ‘Road Hole‘ is is no more unfair than its namesake at St Andrews and with no par threes until the 8th it definitely feels longer than its yardage on the way out. The bunkering seemed to have been dramatically improved since my last visit while the small greens remain tricky. As others have described, the final 3 holes feel slightly different from the rest of the course as they negotiate the rocky coastline back towards the hotel which still looks welcoming - from a distance. The iconic 17th, with a large carry over the sea, remains memorable. I was even able to almost forgive the sideways bounce my second shot took off a rock in the middle of the fairway into deep rough resulting in a lost ball. If bad luck like that is a key part of links golf then I guess this course passes that test easily!The 18th is a great finish with a blind drive to a downhill fairway that leads to another green perched amid the cliffs with only the crumbling remains of a swimming pool behind the green spoiling the view. If the hotel buildings could be sorted out things would be better but the most important thing here is the course and hopefully it has many good years ahead as it really is too special a place to be allowed to fade.
September 22, 2013
8 / 10
Castletown
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Chris Homer
June 22, 2015
Everything about the course is as reported, fun, inspirational,challenging, fair. In short this is my bucket-list course of 2015 and I loved every minute of it. I found the members very helpful and welcoming. The bar and catering were well staffed and poerated as you would hope for. The pro and his staff were enthusiastic advocates for their course and I'm going back next year!!
Martin O'Connell
This really is a stunning course with wonderfull sea views on so many holes. It is a pure unrefined links that fills you with terror on every shot. The first hole lulls you into a false sense of security but then after that....hang on to your hat. This course has narrow fairways,pot bunkers and all the natural defences you could want. Greens were small but ran so true. The last 3 holes were as good as any in the world. Very basic changing rooms add to the purist golf feel. I have to agree with the previous comment with regard to members. One of them i met was to say the least very strange...however i managed to get a drink and the frenchman behind the bar even made me a sandwich. A true gent! Andy the pro is worth a mention...great guy. In short...a great course...fix the hotel and you have a winner! MO
November 01, 2010
8 / 10
Castletown
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David
Stunning course. One of the best courses I've played in the world - made even more enjoyable by strong winds and glorious sunshine. Fair golf but tough with the sea all around - wonderful viewsRegretablly contrasted with an appaling clubhouse offering a lunch menu which was a parody of the Monty Python "Spam" sketch. Probably the most unfreindly members I've met for a long time - soup is for members only!Play it - you won't regret that part but have your after golf drink in the town
March 24, 2010
8 / 10
Castletown
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Ivan
A great day out. This is a links course with fantastic views as it is surrounded by water on 3 if not all 4 sides. The course is not tough but is still challenging and a great venue for all standards of golfer. When playing the top courses I have the camera test, this course past it as you are constantly taking photo's.
July 03, 2008
10 / 10
Castletown
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John S
Castletown is quite simply one of my favourite courses in the world and I am sure if it wasn't for it's remoteness would be far more famous. This may however detract from the experience, this is a course for golfers so don't expect luxurious changing rooms and great practice facilities. It is a great golf course pure and simple. When the wind blows it really blows with no shelter to speak of from sand dunes or the like. The road hole 5th is one of the most difficult par 4's you can imagine with trouble down the left and out of bounds down the right, a 6 here is often a good score into the wind! The 17th is probably my favourite, especially from the blue tees with a 200 yard carry over the raging irish sea to reach a good position on the fairway for your next shot. Fantastic.
June 12, 2008
10 / 10
Castletown
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W
A fantastic links experience and a spectacular setting. The wind is an ever present but the course weaves its way around the pensinula and it is rare that the wind is in your face for more than two consecutive holes. 'Tough but fair' is a cliche but at Castletown it is apt. The 5th is a very memorable hole from an elevated tee to a narrow landing area, but even then the danger isn't over with Out of Bounds just off the right side of the green, use of the contours is essential. Keep it on the fairways and you can score very well round here but equally natural hazards such as the beach, the gorse and the ocean come into play and there is more than one simple enough looking hole that can wreck your card!All in all, a fantastic place to play golf and well worth the trip.
October 26, 2005
6 / 10
Castletown
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