Portstewart (Strand) - Londonderry - Northern Ireland

Portstewart Golf Club,
Strand Road,
Portstewart,
County Londonderry,
BT55 7PG,
Northern Ireland


  • +44 (0) 28 70832015

  • Judith Hutton

  • Willie Park, Des Giffin

  • Neil Graham


New 1st tee on Strand course - photo by Bernard Findlay Dec 2009Portstewart Golf Club was founded way back in 1894, but the origins of golf being played here date back even further to 1889. The Strand course is a bit of a hybrid, a mix of the old and the new. Major development took place in the late 1980s when the original Willie Park layout was updated and seven new holes were constructed in the virgin sand dune range called “Thistly Hollow”. The new Strand course, designed by Des Giffin, opened for play in 1992.

And what an exhilarating golf course this is, set amidst imposing, gigantic sand dunes with panoramic views across the Atlantic mouth of Lough Foyle to the Inishowen peninsula beyond.

The Strand is an incredibly challenging and thoroughly enjoyable golf course, with one of the best opening nine holes in golf. The 1st hole is an absolute stunner, one of golf’s most intimidating, a downhill 425-yard par four. There is a plethora of great holes here at Portstewart Golf Club; especially memorable are two of the new par threes, the 3rd and the 6th. The 3rd is a challenging single shotter, measuring 207 yards, whilst the 6th, measuring a mere 140 yards with a plateau green, is also a tough cookie and will stay in the mind for a long time.

James W Finegan on the course: “How good is the Strand course at Portstewart? For my money, just one rung below County Down and Portrush and under no circumstances to be missed.” From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland.

Credit must go to the designer because the new holes blend seamlessly with the old holes. Sometimes, when new land is taken in, there is a punctuation between the old and the new. Not so at the Strand.

A golfing trip to Northern Ireland would not be complete without a round on the Strand course. The members here are very warm and welcoming and if you add this course to a round at both Royal Portrush and Royal County Down, you will have played three of the world’s finest links courses, all of which have played host to the Irish Open.

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Reviews for Portstewart (Strand)

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Description: The Strand course at Portstewart Golf Club is exhilarating. Set amidst imposing, gigantic sand dunes with panoramic views across the Atlantic mouth of Lough Foyle to the Inishowen peninsula beyond. Rating: 8.3 out of 10 Reviews: 39
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Goffy
My playing partner had given this course a big build up having previously played it. He said that the front nine is as good a nine holes of links golf as you can get and I can't say he was wrong, if the back nine was the same it would be a world beater. The view standing on the first tee was stunning with the beach to the right and the dunes out in front of you and I couldn't wait to get started.  It's not a long course and probably feels a bit shorter because most of the tee shots are from the top of dunes driving down to the fairways. The greens were quick and true even in March, they must be lightening in the summer. As always in Ireland you are made to feel welcome by everyone you encounter. This course is an absolute must play for anyone who loves links golf.
May 17, 2011
10 / 10
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Lee Abbey
This course is a real treat to play. It’s a struggle to find anything negative about this course as the condition of the course when I played in glorious sunshine in March was fantastic. The front nine is feast for the eyes with the 1st and 2nd holes setting an incredibly high benchmark with perhaps just the 3rd hole being a bit too ‘in your face’ for my taste. It’s been commented before that the back nine struggles to compete with glorious front but it’s no ugly sister and although not as visually stunning is still real links golf and a great test. The Clubhouse is one of the best I’ve seen and the lunches are excellent as is the welcome you get from all the staff. Situated around an hours drive from Belfast Int Airport, this course should be included on any itinerary of the area.
April 29, 2011
10 / 10
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Clayto Jones
I loved my cold blustery showering day in late June at Portstewart! It is wonderful course with a stunning front nine. It is very playable for mid-handicappers. On most holes, you have a shot - not necessarily the one you would like. Unlike Co Down which is all punishment (even on the sunny day I plated it), this course is a great walk enhanced. I shall return!
November 28, 2010
10 / 10
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Joey Chase
Played The Strand course on a trip of the Northern Irish Links. We were so suprised with how low this course is ranked. It really is amazing! Such huge towering dunes. The first nine truly is fantastic, but we never felt let down by the back nine at all! The welcome there was second to none. If you are visiting nearby Portrush, DO NOT, miss this course. It is so much fun to play. Joey
October 10, 2010
10 / 10
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Fran
This was the first course we played on our trip through Northern and Northwest Ireland. The first two holes at Portstewart are as memorable as any two holes your likely to play in your lifetime. A 417yd. downhill dogleg right to start with. a long hole but if your in the fairway with your tee shot then the hole is very manageable. Next is a a 360yd par four that plays well downhill and has four story high dunes along the fairway that give you a secluded feel about the hole. You second shot is uphill to a green that you want to make sure you reach. And so goes hole after hole on the front nine. Mountainous dunes and heaving fairways don't let up. No. 8 is a blind tee shot that only leaves you high rough and three stones(red, white and blue) as an aiming point. Once in the fairway (hopefully) you see that it doglegs left with a gulf between you and a raised green. I thought this hole was the best on the course. The back nine although played away from the dunes is not a respite with the same rolling fairways to contend with. The par fives on the course are not long but the par fours are, sometimes only 20 or 30 yds. difference in length between the two. the course is fair, well cared for, the fairways firm and brown the greens slippery fast and the staff is as friendly as any I've ever been to.
July 08, 2010
8 / 10
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Luke Willmott
I played this quality links course last week in typical Northern Irish February weather - cold, wet and windy. A winter green fee of £40 was good value, when you compare it to the £95 summer fee. On a Friday, we had the course to our selves, something to do with the weather me thinks! This course should really be ranked along side the more revered Royal Portrush - I suppose Royal status and a much longer and richer history counts for a lot in course rankings. The front nine, as with previous reviews gets the plaudits and rightly so. There is a definite feel of a course like Enniscrone - heading out into the massive dunes on a thin spit of land surrounded by water, flanked by holes on the flatter landward side. The first is a cracking opener with an inviting downhill drive looking towards the giant dunes and the strand to the right. At the 2nd you could be at Carne and further out on the outward nine you feel you could be at Royal County Down, with all the whin bushes or Lahinch on the 8th, a favourite hole of mine. The inward nine skirts around the dunes and therefore is a little more exposed and less dramatic, but is still links golf of the highest order, having really enjoyed 10,11 & 14. The closing 3 holes occupy the open land in front of the fantastic new club house and whilst not being as visually stunning as what has gone before, are still good solid links holes, nonetheless. The greens, although a little brown in colour, ran very true and would I’m sure, be devilishly quick in summer. The general condition of the course was first class with tees, paths, fairways and bunkers expertly kept, although a slight quibble would be a lack of hole information on the set of tees we were playing from. The course proved fair and very playable, even in very the testing conditions, wayward shots, off the tee especially, were found, admittedly with plenty of awkward stances and lies. Overall, a great example of Irish links golf which MUST be played if you’re on a trip of N.Ireland. Definitely put this course in your bracket with RCD, Portrush and Castlerock.
March 02, 2010
10 / 10
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Mikxe
No doubt, the outward nine holes are first rate. Those pyramidal dunes remind me of Carne. But the back nine peter out. What’s more, Portstewart has the slowest-playing membership in the British Isles. We played in the first tee time after the last of their Saturday four-balls, and it took five+ hours to get around—in the dark. If private clubs want visitors to subsidize their cheap memberships, they should at least let us finish our 100-quid rounds during daylight.
November 05, 2009
6 / 10
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moreski
November 06, 2009
I agree entirely with the above review. The front 9 are some of the best golf holes I have ever played and the first tee is stunning. I share your frustration about slow play though. We played as a four ball, and were held up all the way round. We came in after 16 which had taken 4 hours 45 minutes. Absolutely shocking. Difficult to know whether this was attirbutable to members or visitors, but it seems as though when busy they have a significant problem.
Paul Barron
We arrived on a sunny day with no wind at all and were immediately, very impressed by the view from the first tee, over looking the dunes and the Atlantic. There was no doubt that the constructions of the first nine holes are fantastic and much has been said already about the feeling you get amongst the dunes. However, some of the back nine are fairly ordinary. Also on this visit we were disappointed to find the first nine holes were top dressed with seeding down. When we complained to the manager/secretary he was shocked and indignant that anyone should dare to complain – his stock answer was “Ah, but did your ball run straight and true”, It seemed to me that there was some recovery plan taking place on the greens – unusual to come across top dressing and seeding in late July! They have spent 3.5 million on the new club house and it looks very grand. 22/07/09
July 28, 2009
6 / 10
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David McGill
Exceptional in every way. A little chaotic with new clubhouse being implemented but a fine day of golf on a very clever design. Front nine is try eye candy and as fun as you can get playing between and over dunes that rival RCD and Portrush. Second nine is more exposed to wind and IMO more difficult. Perhaps not as memorable but also of high quality. Great staff as well. Dave McGill Ohio
June 13, 2009
8 / 10
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Dean Paul
It is a fine course with breathtaking views and better scenery than Castlerock or Portrush. It is short of the best due to poor qulaity greens which are differently paced over front and back nines, bumpy and inconsistent in grass texture. The bunkers were poorly re-designed in 2006 and cause too much penalty for any golfer having shallow sand and incorrectly filled grading so that balls stick near the face and sides. The worst holes are 16 (which is the weekest green and no features at all) and 17 which is a total idiocy with a ludicrously unfair plateau approach taking even good shots well off line. If it were shortened by 50 yards and the green at 16 re-designed the 18 are the best links anywhere. Just to finish off: Bunkers are not protected by collars of first cut and far too difficult to make them fair, and there are too few to give features and definition especially on the outer nine. This is such a pity as the new clubhouse will be splendid after completion in 2009. Come on Portstewart you could be the best in Ireland and the best links anywhere if you put your mind to it! D Paulus (South Africa)
May 19, 2008
8 / 10
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Robert
March 20, 2009
It seems that the course beat you up for you to post such a comment as that. Portstewart is an outstanding Links golf course make no mistake
Bernard
April 03, 2009
I would have to agree with Robert. Portstewart are only guilty of continual improvement both on and off the course!
Kevin Powers
March 23, 2010
To D Paulus, Not sure what courses you have played in Ireland, but to suggest that the Portstewart 18 could be the equal of RCD, European, Waterville, Portrush, Ballybunion, Carne is foolish. It is very similar to Enniscrone - magnificent holes in the dunes, with a good group on the flats.