Clandeboye has come along way since the year 559 when the monks of St Comgall's Bangor monastery grazed their flocks on what is now the Dufferin course. Clandeboye Golf Club is located a mere twelve miles to the east of Belfast and a local linen merchant called William Renwick Robinson originally formed it in 1933.
The Ava course was Robinson’s original design, but it’s the Dufferin course that everyone now talks about, which was laid out by German architect, Bernhard von Limburger. The partners behind the famous Brabazon course at the Belfry, Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas, helped von Limburger. The result is certainly one of Ireland’s very best inland courses and the views from the high ground across Belfast Lough are pretty impressive too.
Measuring 6,559 yards from the back tees, the Dufferin course is not quite long enough to test the world’s very best golfers, but it will certainly present a stern challenge to most of us. Accuracy, especially on approach shots, is the order of the day. The fairways undulate in a links-like way and trees, bracken and gorse flank many. They say variety is the spice of life and it’s here in spades at Clandeboye with stage-like greens, blind drives and daunting carries from some tees.
Belfast might not be a natural choice for a golfing break but there are some fine courses situated within a short distance of the historic city centre. Play Clandeboye alongside Malone, Royal Belfast and Belvoir Park and you will not be disappointed, but make sure you leave enough time to soak up the atmosphere of the old port and the docks where the Titanic was built. A new and vibrant city is emerging. The future is bright for Belfast.
The Dufferin course at Clandeboye is an excellent test of golf. It is always in good condition despite the unpredictable Irish weather. Coupled with the sporting Ava course and a fine clubhouse it is a good place to visit where good golfers can be well challenged by the Dufferin course and others can enjoy the tricky but interesting Ava course. The Dufferin is consistently regarded as one of the best parkland courses in Northern Ireland with a good balance of holes in a beautiful setting within Clandeboye estate. The first is a lovely opening hole played from a high tee looking towards Belfast Lough and don't be put off by the long uphill par 3 second as it is probably the poorest hole on the course. From the 4th tee you will be well tested by the variety and shape of each hole.
This is a must play course in the Greater Belfast area along with Belvoir Park, Malone and others. Favourite hole is the par 5 6th.