Win tee times at some of the world's premier courses.

Kirkistown Castle

Newtownards, Northern Ireland
Newtownards, Northern Ireland
Rankings
  • Address142 Main Rd, Cloughey, Newtownards BT22 1JA, UK

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club in Cloughey, County Down, is the most easterly 18-hole course in Ireland and members celebrated the centenary of their golf club in 2002. G.L.Bailie of Belfast designed the original 9-hole layout and the first green keeper, Frank Polley, held the position for almost 50 years.

The course was extended to eighteen holes in 1929 and then six years later saw the implementation of James Braid’s modifications when tees and greens were altered and bunkers were reshaped and repositioned.

Visitors sometimes wonder about a couple of large depressions on the opening holes – during World War II, sand and gravel was excavated from the front of the 1st tee and behind the 3rd green for the construction of Kirkistown and Ballyhalbert airfields and that is how these two artificial landforms came about.

Cloughey is a little village near Portavogie on the east side of the Ards peninsula and the drive down from Newtownards is one of the most scenic in Northern Ireland as the road follows Strangford Lough then crosses towards the Irish sea. Alternatively, if approaching from the south, the ferry can be taken from Strangford on the mainland to Portaferry on the peninsula, crossing the treacherous Narrow Water where Strangford Lough pours into the Irish Sea.

The Kirkistown Castle course measures 6,200 yards in overall length and is arranged in two loops of nine with a par of 70 for the 18 holes. Between the opening and closing par fives, there are five par three and eleven par four holes. Many of these par fours are very strong holes, with no fewer than seven of them measuring over 400 yards.

The signature hole is the par five 10th, named “Long Reach” where a pulpit green sits more than thirty feet above fairway level and is very hard to hold with a long approach shot. The hole was formerly a par four but it was extended in 2021 to a par five. The fairway was also re-aligned to create a more pronounced dogleg, with out of bounds introduced along the left side of the hole.

James W Finegan on the course: “Some insist that James Braid extensively revised the original eighteen, but hard evidence is lacking. At any rate, this is very good links golf – a turf base of sandy loam makes it quick to dry – with substantive elevation changes, a number of greens on the high ground that are fearfully exposed to the wind, plenty of revetted pot bunkers to add spice to the round, and a handful of par 4s over the 400-yard mark.” From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland.

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club in Cloughey, County Down, is the most easterly 18-hole course in Ireland and members celebrated the centenary of their golf club in 2002. G.L.Bailie of Belfast designed the original 9-hole layout and the first green keeper, Frank Polley, held the position for almost 50 years.

The course was extended to eighteen holes in 1929 and then six years later saw the implementation of James Braid’s modifications when tees and greens were altered and bunkers were reshaped and repositioned.

Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
Carousel
1 / 8
Map

Course Reviews

Leave a Review

* Required
  • 5 images maximum
  • Images must be a jpg file type and no more than 5mb
Sort By:

This course has not been reviewed.

If you have played this course, consider .

Thanks for the review

Your review has been successfully submitted and will be reviewed for approval.

Course Reviewed

You’ve already submitted a review for this course.

Please Sign In

Please sign in before submitting a review.

Sign In

Course Architect

View All
James Braid

James Braid was born in 1870 in Earlsferry, the adjoining village to Elie in the East Neuk of Fife. He became a member of Earlsferry Thistle aged fifteen and was off scratch by his sixteenth birthday.

Explore More Courses

Bangor

Bangor

Thank you

You've been subscribed.

Already Subscribed

You are already subscribed to our newsletter. Thank you for subscribing.

We've made some changes

Top 100 Golf Courses has a new look and feel. If you have comments or questions about the changes, please let us know.

Submit Feedback