Royal Portrush (Valley) - Antrim - Northern Ireland

Royal Portrush Golf Club,
Dunluce Road,
Portrush,
County Antrim,
BT56 8JQ,
Northern Ireland


  • +44 (0) 28 7082 2311

  • Miss W. Erskine

  • Harry Colt

  • Gary McNeill


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The Valley course at Royal Portrush Golf Club was originally nominated by Stuart as gem and was added to the Top 100 site on 15th February 2005. Since then, the Valley has become a ranked course. Stuart’s original nomination article follows: “I’d played the Dunluce course a few times before finally deciding to play the Valley and pound for pound, the Valley is significantly better value at about a quarter of the price of the big Dunluce. For dune lovers, the Valley is set in more tumbling terrain with the holes cut between the dunes. You feel much more enclosed here than you do on the Dunluce. I certainly think Royal Portrush is missing a trick with the Valley course. They should market the course better than they do so that a few more people can get to know and love it like I do.”

The Valley lies between the East Strand and the Dunluce golf course in Portrush. As its name suggests, the course is situated between the huge sand hills immediately along the Atlantic shore and the higher ground on which the Championship course is laid out.

That is not to say the holes of the course are routed over anything like plain, level lying land, far from it, as the Valley has more than its fair share of the humps, hollows and undulations to be found on any links worthy of the name.

Jim visits the Rathmore Club to see Graeme McDowell’s US Open Trophy. Click here for more.

Although owned by Royal Portrush Golf Club, the Valley has been the home club to the members of Rathmore Golf Club since its formation in 1947. Royal Portrush Ladies are also based at the Valley and it is very hard to avoid the impression that Royal Portrush are happy to keep all bar the gentleman members and the big spending golfing tourists off the Dunluce.

How many people have made a point of playing Royal Portrush Golf Club and never given a thought to playing the sadly underrated Valley – something approaching 90%, perhaps even more? And that’s a real pity as the 6,304-yard, par 70, Valley is a very fine test of links golf, with greens, in particular, every bit as well tended as those next door. Harry Colt is credited with designing the course three years after the Dunluce and he was never known to put his name to many, if any, poor courses.

James W Finegan on the course: “The Valley Links, as its name suggests, is tucked away, down in the lower reaches of the club property, tall sand hills enclosing the acreage and blocking out any view of the sea. A sheltered quality, an attractive snugness, if you will, characterizes the course… The Valley course is full of very good golf holes. Even accomplished players are challenged – and all of us are charmed.” From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland. One of the best and most comprehensive golf course books we’ve ever read.

Two feature holes on the card are played back-to-back on the front nine and they are situated at the furthest point from the clubhouse. They epitomize all that is good about golf at Portrush. The 336-yard, short par four, 5th hole is played from an elevated tee in the sand hills to a green with steep drop offs left and right framed by towering dunes and protected by menacing, deep bunkers. The 237-yard, par three, 6th hole is then played slightly uphill to a green with its right hand edge obscured by a dune tongue. Beware of the bunker sited short and left of the green and also the steep drop off to the left of the apron.

To accommodate changes to the Dunluce course, the existing 5th and 6th holes on the Valley will be replaced with a new par three 15th, to be played after the existing 16th (the new 14th), and a new short par four 18th, which will start from a new tee position in the dunes and progress to a green close to the 1st tee on the Valley course.

In addition to these changes, the existing 17th (the new 16th) will be extended to a doglegged par five and the proposed new 17th will be restored from old, obsolete tees to one of the greens now on the 9-hole Skerries course. Exciting times ahead for the Valley course.

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Reviews for Royal Portrush (Valley)

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Description: How many people have made a point of playing Royal Portrush Golf Club and never given a thought to playing the sadly underrated Valley course – something approaching 90%, perhaps even more? Rating: 5.1 out of 6 Reviews: 17

A fine second 18 and second round of the day. This is a perfectly good golf course, but pales in comparison through no fault of its own, to one of the true greats next door. It's readily apparent why it's called the Valley course and it does lack the movement of the Dunluce course.

That said, there are a bunch of quality holes here, with some well positioned bunkers and just enough turn in some of the doglegs to keep the interest up. The course was pretty much empty when we played it, so makes for an easy ad-hoc second round.

4 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
December 06, 2018


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I've played this highly under-rated track three times, most recently in July 2018 on a day of overcast skies and some drizzle. Given the quality of this course, it is mind boggling that the weekday green fees are only Royal Portrush (Valley) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer 42 GBP. The holes are skillfully carved into a valley of dunes, with excellent greens and nice variety from hole to hole. The recent redesign unfortunately came at the expense of a very long par three (formerly hole #6), but the slightly revised layout is still top notch. It should be played either in tandem with a trip to the adjoining championship Dunluce links (entrance roughly a half mile away), or as a cost-effective, slightly shorter alternative. Pat M., Houston, TX

5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
August 03, 2018


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Two years since the last review! Seems legitimate, since we were the only ones on the course that rainy morning. After spoiling ourselves during the one hour delay in the great pro-shop at the Dunluce course, we got off and after two or three mediocre holes , we arrived in the valley that this course was built in. The Valley course has a wide variety of golf holes, has a very fair feel to it and actually is a class-course. I loved the par 5 7th, the par 3's are very scenic and the finish is especially good. One can only see the sea on the 18th tee, and the wonderful sight made for a great end to our yearly trip. Portrush and it's neighbours very rightfully make the destination one of the golfing capitals in the world, as you can strongly feel the history, purity and love for the game. MO

5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
September 24, 2017


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A quality course in its own right. Massively unheralded due to status as "second" course at Portrush. If this was a course on its own it would be far higher up the rankings - and far more expensive. A lovely collection of holes through big dunes without the ridiculous rough of the Dunluce. Sadly losing 2 of its better holes due to impending changes on the Dunluce for the Open. Hopefully the replacements will be as good. Highly recommended.
5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
August 20, 2015


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The Valley Couse usually goes unnoticed by many visitors, attracted by the fame of Dunluce. However, we can say, without Royal Portrush (Valley) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerequivocation, that the value of the Valley Course is clearly superior to that of its illustrious neighbor, and, in any event, is one of the most comprehensive tests of golf in Ireland. I would emphasize the 5th hole (a short but beautiful par 4), 6th (a par 3 over 200 meters), and 10th, plus the two latest par 3 holes . In any case, it should not be forgotten by the masses of hungry golfers who come to Portrush from Europe or America, even at the risk of ceasing to be one of the best kept secrets of Irish golf. M.M.A., Barcelona, Spain.
5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
December 01, 2014


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I truly enjoyed the Valley course. There is such a variety to links golf courses, and the Valley course is a fun, enjoyable but still challenging course. It's hard to sit in the shadow of a magnificent links like the Dunluce course, and quite frankly I've found many of the "relief" courses at the other great links to be a letdown, but I would not hesitate to play the Valley course again. There is certainly a paucity of bunkers here, but the holes have wonderfully subtle twists and turns that will test golfers of all levels of ability. I especially liked the par 3 6th, a brute of a hole which was 231 yards , slightly uphill and into the wind. We all hit drivers, all missed the green, and only the player in front was able to get up and in for par. I thought 9 was a magnificent short par 4, and the 14th was a strong par 4 back up into the wind. This is a fun course to play and served us as the perfect warmup to the Dunluce later that afternoon. As a warning, the Valley course is actually about 1/4 mile towards town from the Dunluce first tee. We almost missed our tee time, as did several other groups. Don't miss this course if you are in the area unless you are pressed for time. I think you will find it worth your while. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
4 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
August 04, 2011


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I really enjoyed this course. We only got to play the opening 9 holes, as we had to catch a flight, but some beautiful holes and in very good condition for mid February. I suppose when you are the 'sister' course of the mighty Dunluce, you will tend to get over looked, but this really is a lovely golf course, and well worth playing. I expect if it was located anywhere else it would be heralded with more gusto. I'll be back in June to play all 18.
6 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
February 27, 2011


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A gem! This passes the "playability test". It is not easy but very fair. It is a pleasure to walk and play- as good a links as any, and vastly fairer than the silly Castlerock and Royal Co Down courses. I was lucky enough to play it on a blazing June day with a gentle breeze. Bliss, heaven! CWJones, Bendigo, Australia
6 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
November 28, 2010


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Golf course is a real gem with gently moving fairways and excellent greens better than Dunluce in late May. More elevation change than meets the eye and very fair. The intended line and shot expectation is clear from the tee. Great value as well compared to neighbors. Only a notch below Portstewart and Castlerock. A small notch. Dave McGill Ohio
5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
June 13, 2009


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Played as part of a NI golf tour, and was very impressed. As a GUI member I paid £17.50, which probably represents the best value round of golf I have ever had. Really is a very solid test of golf with the wind up. The very long par 3 6th is 230 ish yards up hill and in to the wind, if anyone knows how an 18 handicapper is supposed to play it that would be great! While there were queue’s of American waiting to play the mighty Dunluce, the Valley course was virtually empty, which I loved and long may that continue, so it will always be easy for the really discerning links lovers to get a game. One small point for the Top 100 team – you have the Valley rated 2 places higher than Ardglass in NI – there is no way the Valley course (whilst I really enjoyed it) is better than Ardglass!!!!
5 / 6
Royal Portrush (Valley)
September 17, 2007


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Response
Jonny
January 22, 2009
In response to the Valley not being a better course than Ardglass I can only summise that you have been drinking - there is no way Ardglass can compete with the Valley, massive dunes, perfect greens, Ardglass is a brilliant course but the Valley is the next best thing to the Dunluce.
Andy
May 21, 2010
Ardglass has a fantastic first hole, sadely after that good holes are few and far between. The valley has given us Mr G. McDowell and possibly the best amateur in Ireland at the minute Alan Dunbar. Winner of the St. Andrews Links 2009 & Irish Open amateur 2010. I think there is more than meets the eye regarding this course and the club itsself.
JP
December 23, 2011
You can't consider Rathmore a lesser course than Ardglass. I appreciate you have an opinion,but I believe that Rathmore is the best "reasonable" test around probably the third best course in NI! I played with two members and was invited to played the championship tee's...oh my god! The 18th off the championship tee boxes has to be one of the greatest par 3 challenges in the uk and Ireland! Tricky greens,great driving holes and a purest links challenge! Ardglass is good....but it's a million miles from here! My favourite hole is the 16th!! A must play!! What made it special was the welcome we received in the clubhouse! One of the best around!!