Clandeboye (Dufferin) - Down - Northern Ireland

Clandeboye Golf Club,
Tower Road,
Conlig,
Newtownards,
Co Down,
BT23 3PN,
Northern Ireland


  • +44 (0) 28 9127 1767


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.

In recent times, club volunteers have helped to clear old walls out on the property that were long covered up by ivy and scrub, adding more character to the premises and framing holes on both the club’s courses. Clearance work also included woodland management projects which have helped reduce the arboreal inventory.

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Reviews for Clandeboye (Dufferin)

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Description: The Dufferin course at Clandeboye Golf Club offers compelling coastal views, a sea of dazzling yellow gorse and a wonderfully strategic challenge. Rating: 6.5 out of 10 Reviews: 6
TaylorMade
Andy Newmarch

The Dufferin course is well worth seeking out. Just a little out of the city within the massive Clandeboye estate and should be on any tour in this Belfast area.

If the nearby courses at Malone and Belvoir Park are the manicured parkland style, then the Dufferin is most certainly in the rustic and natural class and I am a fan. Gorse, bracken and majestic trees are all around and be prepared for plenty of twists, turns and a few ups and downs, in places it is difficult to remember which way you are facing!

For me, the first three holes can be described as the warm-up act, with the uphill par-3 2nd, needing a little re-think right now.

but…….from the 4th tee we have some special holes. The 4th is named, ‘Cairo’ - now I am not saying you need a ‘night-boat’ to score well but you do need two very good shots to hit this 403 yard (Blue tee) hole. Firstly hitting out of a bracken/gorse tunnel and then over more foliage and if you are not towards the right side of the fairway, this approach will be blind - a great but tough hole and stroke index-1 says it all.

The three remaining par-3’s (5th, 11th and 14th) are all really very strong and at varying lengths which is a huge plus - a couple of these could be enhanced further with the re-routing of the paths that lead away from the tee - just a touch too much in your eye-line at present.

My favourite hole on the front nine, is the par-5 6th, named Rathgill. 520 yards from the blues and crossing a ditch, slightly doglegging left and then with some very strong bunkering at the green and two more offset at 60 and 40 yards short to catch the longer hitters as seen back in August when EuroPro’s NI Masters was held here.

The 9th is another strong hole; 409 yards and the drive is to a generous fairway but the approach is played across a fairly steep valley, so driving distance has to be precise otherwise you play from a downhill lie.

The very next hole also has a rather big dip when approaching, similar holes in some way but so different in others, both really strong tests though.

My favourite stretch of three holes are from the 16th to the end… three brilliant and varied par-4’s. the 16th played from a low teeing ground to a generous fairway that turns a little right to a kidney shaped offset green, a tough cookie too at 424 yards. The 17th hole offers possibly the best views, the hole named ‘Panorama’ for obvious reasons as you look out across the Belfast coastline, with Scotland not too far away. The hole plays shorter than it’s 375 yards and offers up a good birdie chance.

The last, at 433 yards, slightly uphill from the tee and carries a stroke index of 10 (which feels a touch unkind!) is a beast of a finishing hole. Favour the right side and hope for your Sunday best from distance; a large green helps but if you need a par to win your match, be prepared to work hard…

The club at Clandeboye is popular with around 1300 members - they are also very lucky to have the Ava course too, which is shorter and with a more of a heathland feel - I have yet to play this one and will next time without a doubt. Great club atmosphere, very friendly members and a team on and off the courses that are all rather proud of what they have and rightly so.

Recommended.

October 31, 2021
7 / 10
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Tim Browne

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.

September 14, 2017
8 / 10
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Mariano Martinez de Azagra
The Dufferin course at Clandeboye is a good golf course with some interesting holes such as Clandeboye (Dufferin) Golf Course - Photo by reviewernumber 4, 6, 10 or 18, but fails to catch the player as other courses in the region. However, it is a good test of golf, and its fairways and greens enjoy the firmness of many links, forcing the player to use his skills and think his shots. Worth the visit, and the value is more than acceptable. M.M.A, Barcelona, Spain.
December 03, 2014
6 / 10
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declan mcguinness
This is a nice course. There are some very nice holes, in great condition. Nice clubhouse and staff. For me sadly it didn't have the wow factor given its high rating. Holes 1 4 5 14 and 18 are well worth playing. Some of the rest I found not memorable. I will play this again, but top 10 in Northern Ireland, Im not sure.
July 06, 2014
6 / 10
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Adrian Gaspar
I always think value for money is an important consideration in these reviews and at £30 a round I think Clandeboye scores highly. On top of that it is a very nice track with some very good looking holes with good greens. I don’t necessarily think it has any wow factor but if you are looking for an inland track in NI to compliment some of the links courses, this along with places like Malone are certainly well worth a visit. Condition of the course overall was very good and as you come to expect from most Irish clubs the welcome was friendly.
September 17, 2007
6 / 10
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Hugh
What brilliant fun Clandeboye is and it has to be one of the best 36 hole venues around. The Dufferin course offers just about everything with a real mixed bag of holes which keep you interested and on your toes. The Ava course is worth playing too, it's fairly short but it's great fun. Very friendly club and tremendous value too.
April 10, 2006
6 / 10
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