Royal Dublin - Dublin - Ireland

Royal Dublin Golf Club,
Dollymount,
North Bull Island,
Dublin,
Ireland


  • +353 (0) 1 833 6346

  • Golf Club Website

  • 3 miles NE of the city centre

  • Contact in advance – not Wed or Sat

  • Jeff Fallon

  • Harry Colt, Martin Hawtree

  • John Dwyer


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Royal Dublin

Royal Dublin Golf Club is located on Bull Island, in Dublin Bay. The island was formed following the building of a sea wall in the early 1800s. The result is a perfect sandy island, superb terrain for a golf course and an excellent home for flora and fauna. Bull Island is the only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in a capital city.

The Dublin Golf Club, as it was originally called, was founded in 1885. The club moved twice before the course finally came to rest on Bull Island, in 1889. Two years later, Queen Victoria granted the club royal patronage. The course was severely damaged during the First World War and was rebuilt by Harry Colt in 1920.

This is a classic traditional “Scottish” out and back links, relatively unusual for an Irish links! It is highly rated by the pros, and one pro in particular has fallen in love with Royal Dublin. Christy O’Connor was the club pro in 1959 and has been firmly attached ever since. The club granted the nine times Irish Open Champion honorary life membership in 1988.

The course is fairly flat and narrow with long stretches of out of bounds, calling for accurate drives, and the wind tends to swirl around Dublin Bay, generally making the back nine tougher The greens are outstanding and there are some brutally deep greenside bunkers here too; the ones on the fairway aren’t much easier. “There are some fine, towering hills at Dollymount,” wrote Darwin in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “but it is not these that make the player’s knees to knock together; it is the little pots of innocuous aspect that most emphatically decline to be ignored.”

Royal Dublin has seen its fair share of professional tournaments and has hosted numerous Irish Opens, Ballesteros and Langer amongst the winners. But surely Royal Dublin’s favourite champion was Christy O’Connor, who won the Irish Open here in 1966.

Martin Hawtree was engaged in course redevelopment work between 2004-2006 and Royal Dublin has improved as a consequence. Today's championship layout stretches to an impressive 7,269 yards from the tips, so bring your "A" game, especially if the wind is up. But regardless of the weather, you can be assured of a warm welcome because Royal Dublin is one of the friendliest “Royal” clubs to be found anywhere.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Royal Dublin

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Royal Dublin Golf Club is located on Bull Island, in Dublin Bay. The island was formed following the building of a sea wall in the early 1800s. The result is a perfect sandy island, superb terrain for a golf course... Rating: 4.4 out of 6 Reviews: 14

Royal Dublin was the unexpected highlight of a recent trip to Ireland and is somewhat underrated in my opinion. So why doesn't Dollymount get the same attention as some of its more high profile neighbours? Perhaps it's the industrial backdrop beyond the clubhouse, or could the lack of any type of sea view from the course be a factor or maybe it's just the undeniably flat location? Despite any of these issues and talking in purely golfing terms, this is a very good course indeed.

Royal Dublin Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

As this was my first visit I didn't get to see the old pre-2006 greens but today most are slightly raised and contoured to perfection. Re-constructed by Martin Hawtree, the new green complexes, are amongst the best I've seen anywhere in Ireland. Impressive bunkering frames the greens beautifully throughout and the run-off areas require a fine touch and plenty of imagination to achieve an up and down. All four of the par-3's are challenging and visually impressive.

The 4th, "Feather Bed" and 9th "Davidson's" are particularly attractive and most certainly memorable. Of the longer holes I very much liked the 3rd, appropriately named "Alps" where you must drive past a large dune before playing a mid-iron to a heavily bunkered green. The thought of hitting the approach over the wall into the green keeper's compound is more than Royal Dublin Golf Course - Photo by reviewer enough to keep you focused. The excellent 8th, another good and long par-4, demands an exacting approach to another raised green with a steep fall-off on the left side. The longer back nine is much tougher and even more so when playing into the brisk prevailing wind. The 10th, 11th, 13th and 17th are all demanding but plotting your way through the humps and hollows on this stretch of holes and hopefully avoiding a couple of well placed ditches is a challenge to be savoured.

The short 16th, a driveable par-4 named "Dolly", adds to the variety with seven well placed bunkers placed to catch anything but the most perfect of drives and both accuracy and courage is required at the dogleg 18th, a genuine card wrecker if ever there was one. Here you are reminded of the 1st at Royal Liverpool, a par-4 measuring 470 yards, with an "out of bounds" running the full length of the hole, this will strike fear into the hearts of all but the straightest of hitters. Not to be missed. Brian W

5 / 6
Royal Dublin
October 18, 2016


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
4 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review

Booked a Sunday evening in May, as a single golfer. Moderate to sometimes strong winds with occasional showers the evening I played, started off reasonably warm, so good conditions to play and assess the qualities of a links course. No point playing these things in calm conditions?

As other reviewers have said, this is a very flat course in elevation changes but fairways do have the humps and hollows you’d expect on the front nine anyway. Fairways quite flat on the back nine. The first couple of holes quite straightforward, wind slightly helping. Some fairways were holding water and there was no roll on drives, OK for the front nine, but made the back nine tough. On the outward nine reasonably tight off the tee, and greens very well protected with bunkers and tight pin positions. Pin positions made it very difficult on most holes on the outward nine, short of the green probably the wisest option on many holes. The greens and bunkering are the real protection. Some large swales on the relatively small greens. The swales aren’t what you’d call multiple levels, more creases in the aprons extending onto the putting surfaces. Provide challenging two putts when on the wrong side of the greens. Greens rolled true and medium paced, very consistent in pace across the course.

The homeward nine, felt wider and longer. Lots of fairway bunkering, some in play on the day, others not due to winds, although bunkering is in place to challenge with or without wind. Played very long due to lack of roll, and wind. Pin positions somewhat more central, and greens larger and generally felt flatter. Some greens have quite large run offs, so if you’re out a few feet expect to be much farther from the pin than you’d expect after you roll off the edge, and keep rolling, and rolling.

Generally the rough wasn’t too penal. Given the showers coming through it was still difficult to get greenside with your approach when playing from the rough, especially with the wind and longer back nine. Greenside first cut was a joy to play off, short, tight and consistent. Turf not as firm as many links, although I’d put that down to the weather. Sand in bunkers ranged from heavy to rock hard on some of the faces, but given the recent weather they were fine with no lying water.

Ranking it against other ROI east coast links, it falls somewhere between the top tier (Portmarnock, Baltray & The European) and the likes of Portmarnock Hotel Links/Seapoint. It’s much tougher than the hotel links/Seapoint and is presented better than both, but it’s not at the top table.

Now, here’s the problem, and why a good course only scores as an average for me. The pace of play was shocking, I was just short of 5 hours (4:50). There were interclub fourball matches on the course, which started to backup from the 4th. Interclub matches are always slow, and this one from my calculations (the last group finished on the 17th and considering I only got backed up from the 4th) was on track for a five and a quarter hour round. I’ve no issue with a club match taking this time, it’s a members club, I was on a green fee, and they can take as much of their time as they like on their course in these circumstances. However I would have expected and appreciated to have been told this in the pro shop when checking in. I would NEVER have went out in these circumstances and would have rearranged for another time. With a 16:50 ish start at the end of May, I finished the last two holes in the dark at 21:38. Difficult to enjoy it, but continued to play to see the rest of the course, as given the lack of communication on the matches I’d no intention of returning and paying another green fee for the privilege. I was going to call the pro shop the following morning to complain, but if they didn’t have the courtesy to tell me in the first place, I don’t wish to bother with them again. If it weren’t for this, I might well have left with a positive note, but not somewhere I’d ever return as a result. Summary, good course, dubious attitude to visitors based on this visitors experience.

3 / 6
Royal Dublin
May 23, 2016


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
4 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
Played The Royal Dublin Golf Club on July 20th in the late afternoon. The links is a par 72 that measures 7,297 yards from the blue tees to 6,488 yards from the yellow tees. Royal Dublin is relatively flat and played hard and fast on this day and by our last hole a dense fog came in from the Irish Sea. The fog was so dense that could not see our tee shots or our second shots. Fellow golfers started walking in from other holes as it was difficult to see over 100 yards. The greens putted true and the fairways were in excellent condition. Was a greatRoyal Dublin Golf Course - Photo by reviewer day to play this Harry Colt classic that is a traditional out and back Scottish type links. The Martin Hawtree redesign helped update the links for the modern longer hitting game. The contouring of the greens is excellent and when missing greens had to be creative to play the undulations. One way I judge a great links is if it makes me hit all my clubs and Royal Dublin afforded that opportunity. For this review will use the distances from the white tees.

The front nine is about 600 yards shorter than the back nine predominately because it has 3 par 3s against only one par 3 on the back nine. The par 3s on the front ranged from 163 yards on the 9th to 187 yards on the 7th. I enjoyed all of the par 3s but thought the 9th was the best as the front half of the green was surrouRoyal Dublin Golf Course - Photo by reviewernded by 4 bunkers to a green that can be very tricky to putt and control the tee shot. The 2 par 5s on the front ranged from 467 yards to 573 yards. Both were excellent designs with well placed bunkers and were good birdie opportunities with well placed shots. The distance on the 4 par 4s on the front ranged from the 387 yard first to the 446 yard fifth hole. All the par 4s required accurate ball striking and I thought the fifth was the most difficult.

The back 9 has 6 par 4s with five of the holes ranging in distance from the 422 yard 17th to the 463 yard 18th. The only short par 4 on the back was the 285 yard 16th which is driveable but is protected by seven well placed bunkers and is a nice short par 4. The other 5 par 4s were all good tests and I thought the two most difficult par 4s are the 441 yard 10th hole which has a ditch that protects the entire front of the green and the 18th that is a dogleg right with out of bounds down the entire right side of the fairway. The lone par 3 on the back, the 183 yard twelfth, is a nice par three that is protected by 2Royal Dublin Golf Course - Photo by reviewer bunkers on the right and one bunker left of the green. The first of the two par 5s on the back is the 544 yard 11th hole that has 6 well placed bunkers on the tee shot and 5 bunkers on the lay up and another bunker just short of the green and another to the left. This green is very undulating and a good test for putting skills. The other par five on the back is the 545 yard 14th that is a good birdie opportunity but for me it was necessary to lay up short of the ditch that is about 50-70 yards short of the green.

The Royal Dublin Golf Club was a pleasure to play and would highly recommend it to any golfer that enjoys the challenge of a classic links. Royal Dublin has hosted many championships over the years and some of its champions include the great Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, and the legendary Christy O'Connor Sr. Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwX0MqChaUQ to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
6 / 6
Royal Dublin
August 04, 2014


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review
A boring links course in very bad conditions,at least as we had played there. The club has the word "Royal" in the name not merited.
2 / 6
Royal Dublin
June 03, 2014


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
3 people found this review helpful and 2 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Shane
June 06, 2014
Two balls....really? There are more visually spectacular links courses in Ireland that cannot be denied...but to say that it was boring suggests that it presents no challenge whatsoever.... try the front nine with an easterly wind or indeed playing the back nine with the prevailing south westerly! I assume the weather was bad because the current course condition is absolutely magnificent. The course has its royal charter for well over 100 years so perhaps you should take this up with the Queen to see if she will revoke the moniker!
Pat Ruddy
June 14, 2014
It is impossible to understand a TWO BALL rating for The Royal Dublin. Very unfair. This is one of the great links of Ireland which has proudly hosted over fifty national championships including several successful Irish Opens. This is grand, traditional links golf and invariably presented in true links form in the best style of low linksland. Never less than a great game.
in summary, understated quality. This is no frills, solid links golf with a number of very good holes especially on the back 9. Greens quite small which made it challenging. The 18th is quirky but there is nothing wrong with that, just requires thought. So different to Portmarnock and The Island but it is a course that links devotees should play
5 / 6
Royal Dublin
June 26, 2013


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful and 2 did not
Respond to above review
This course was the most pleasant surprise of my recent trip to Ireland. It was the final course on our trip, and the lowest ranked course we played, so our expectations were not too high. What I found was a championship quality links that challenged all aspects of my game. The day started with a warm welcome in the grill by the present and past club president as well as a friendly pro shop and service staff. The round was played with a stiff breeze off the bay. The course is almost a straight out and back design reminiscent of the Old Course at St. Andrews, but the holes have subtle changes in direction so that the wind presents a different challenge on almost every shot. As I mentioned to the members in the club bar after the round, it seemed like we played into the wind on every hole! The course is indeed very flat, but the green complexes are excellent and have elevations and subtle contours that make them difficult targets to hit, especially in the predominant cross wind that was present. The back nine is one tough hole after another, with the short 16th thrown in to add to the interest. If there is a tougher finishing hole than 18 dead into the wind, I've yet to play it. The hole played 470 yards from the medal tee, and I was the only member of our foursome of single digit handicap golfers to finish the hole, and that with a hard earned bogey. This is a wonderful course. Don't let the rankings fool you. I would place this course much higher, perhaps just below Portmarnock (Old). This course is fun, challenging, and was a pleasure to visit and play. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
5 / 6
Royal Dublin
August 04, 2011


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful and 2 did not
Respond to above review
I played this course on a glorious winters morning. The sun was shining, the wind was nothing more than a breeze and the temperature was very comfortable indeed. All in all great golf conditions, yet i was a bit underwhelmed by this course. The drive across the wooden bridge and the clubhouse itself set the tone nicely and i had high expectations from a course that has been traditionally held in such high regard. As i went through my round it soon became apparent just how good the greens and the bunkers are here. They really are top quality and if you dont find the putting surface you are sure to find a bunker. They are excellently positioned and you might find that even a shot to the green that lands on the putting surface but doesnt hold could still end up in a bunker due to the impressive run offs from the side of the greens. What let this course down though was the journey to the greens. The place is just so flat. I understand that there were never any towing dunes here to begin with and as little as 200 or so years ago there wasnt even a dollymount strand (the strip of land the golf course is on), so the fact that the golf course is there at all is a minor miracle, but with the land being as flat as it is, it feels like many of the holes play the exact same.

The out and back routing was new to me and i hadnt experienced it before. It built up the confidence as the first set of holes played down wind and the greens were easily reachable in regualtion. The back nine was a far tougher test as the wind had picked up a bit by then and i was playing dead into it all the way home. You either play downwind or into the wind, there doesnt seem to be any in between on this course and this is due to the fact that you are either facing due north or south on what feels like every tee box. What i will say is that the par threes, although quite short, are excellent and a joy to play however i found the closing hole to be a big dissapointment. The hole itself is a beauitful dogleg right par 5 that finishes in front of the elegent clubhouse but what really lets this hole down is the practice ground to the right of it. Its an eyesore in my opinion and distracts from an otherwise worthy closing hole. I enjoyed it and would go back again as im sure the place would grow on me but my advice to anyone visiting the area and looking for real Dublin links golf - head to the Island.
4 / 6
Royal Dublin
February 17, 2009


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful and 3 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Cedric
February 18, 2009
Disagree with you... Real Dublin links golf is to be found at Pormarnock Old, this is by a long distance in my opinion, the best course around Dublin. Beats the Island by a long distance, but find out one day for yourself!! Yes Royal Dublin is flat, but by no means boring. Play it from the tips and you'll soon find out that this isn't an easy course. Agree with you re the 18th though... Still better than the Island in my opinion.
I was privileged to play Royal Dublin in October 2008, after playing (and quite liking) the course eight years ago (before some recent hole re-disigns). The new holes (7 and 8?) are welcome additions to an already-strong layout, on which a series of long, relatively narrow par fours are often buffeted by strong winds. Course conditioning and pace of play were very good, and the setting on Bull Island is rather unique. (A virtually domesticated fox came to join us on one tee box, looking for handouts of chocolate). Side note: After reserving a tee time as a single, I was taken under the wing of a very kind member - and good golfer - who, after picking up my lunch tab (!), insisted that I join him for his earlier tee time. We played 18 enjoyable holes, as forcasted storms held off, and we watched a European Tour event in the clubhouse afterwards (where he scoffed at my attempt to pick up a round of drinks). Thanks again Eugene! Any questions on why I love playing golf in Ireland??? P. McGarey
5 / 6
Royal Dublin
November 06, 2008


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
3 people found this review helpful and 2 did not
Respond to above review
Response
Hans Andersson
December 15, 2008
Royal Dublin is a fantastic layout. You have to be focused on every shot. The first 9 are very narrow and almost down wind, the back 9 wider but into the wind. The greens are very good and the bunkers are quite close to them. Depends on the wind but it can be brutal and awesome.
Royal Dublin offers a serious test of golf at over 7200 yds from the tips. I wouldn’t say there were any world class holes on the course but a collection of very good typical flat links holes. The latest renovation from Hawtree is certainly paying off as the last 2 thirds of the course are definitely the better ones. Actually, the round really kicks off on 6th, a new Hawtree par 5. The first 5 holes look a little bland to be honest (3rd being close to weak when the rough on the right inside is low) but by no means poor. The biggest curiosity is the 18th: a wee road wandering through bull Island approaching the Club House mentions “dangerous bends ahead”. Maybe that should be meant for the 18th fairway instead of the road?? Definitely a good test (they wouldn’t get to host the Irish Amateur Championships otherwise, let’s be clear!) but in terms of value for money, I’d always pay the extra 15 euros and play at nearby Portmarnock!
4 / 6
Royal Dublin
May 09, 2008


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful and 2 did not
Respond to above review
I played here two weeks before the 2008 Irish Amateur Championships were being held and the course was looking very good, with the bunkers, in particular, Royal Dublin - Photo by Jim McCannhaving been given a spring time overhaul. Bull island is pretty flat and there is little by way of elevation change to liven up the natural terrain but the course has a few interesting items to hold your interest - Curleys Yard to the left of the 3rd green, a lovely pond to the front right of the 7th green, snaking burns that runs diagonally across the 10th and 14th holes and - strangest of all - a ditch on the right of the 18th fairway, marking the practice area on the other side as out of bounds and making the last a rather unnatural right angled dog legged hole. “Valley,” the new Martin Hawtree-designed 6th hole with its bearded bunkers was the best hole on the outward nine and I loved “Dolly,” the short par four 16th (which is a fitting tribute to Harry Colt, one of Royal Dublin’s early designers) on the inward half. The new holes between the 6th and 12th still have to mature – new tees at the 9th were still off limits on the day I played – but, in time, they will no doubt blend in seamlessly to look as if they have been around since 1889, when the club first moved to its present site. Ignore the industrial background (especially the distant looming towers of the power plant on the back nine) and enjoy a course where one of Ireland’s oldest clubs is so obviously doing its best to play its part in shaping modern Irish golf. Jim McCann
4 / 6
Royal Dublin
May 06, 2008


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful and 1 did not
Respond to above review