Royal Portrush (Valley) - Antrim - Northern Ireland

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


  • +44 (0) 28 7082 2311

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.

To accommodate changes to the Dunluce course, the existing 5th and 6th holes on the Valley have been replaced with a new par three 15th, 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.

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 epitomise 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.

In addition to these changes, the existing 17th (the new 16th) has been extended to a doglegged par five and the new 17th restored from old, obsolete tees to one of the greens 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: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 20
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Clayto Jones
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
November 28, 2010
10 / 10
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David McGill
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
June 12, 2009
8 / 10
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Adrian Gaspar
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!!!!
September 16, 2007
8 / 10
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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!!
JOHN G. HOLBROOK
Played both the Dunluce and the Valley courses in late September the same day 95 pounds for Dunluce and 15 pounds for Valley. If I lived near Portrush I would play the Valley Course regularly. A great test of golf some of the memorable holes included the 10th a winding dogleg par 5, the front side had one par 4 450 that play into a strong wind and a uphill par 3 of 230 yards. Definitely try to play this course challenging and a great value.
December 04, 2006
8 / 10
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Jordan
Played this (as I'm sure many do) as a way to take advantage of the long afternoon after playing the "real" Portrush course...boy was I wrong. What a great course! The LONG par-3 6 is a joke, particularly into a 40kt wind when I faced it, but that really is part of the charm. Totally underrated; of the 9 rounds I played over 6 days in late June it was behind RCD, slighly behind it's sister Dunluce course and the first 9 of Portstewart Strand and that's it. Easily the best value on the island. Make time to play this course. You will not be disappointed.
June 30, 2006
8 / 10
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Paul Nicholls
Super links with natural feel it’s easier than Dunluce but it’s no pushover. Favourite of many, with connections to pros such as Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke - time to be recognised! Valley course is used for the N of I Championship amongst others, and usually scores about 2 shots less than Dunluce, but all agree it is no gimme, certainly if the wind blows. It is used by Rathmore GC and by RPGC Ladies and Juniors for their competitions. It has the longest par 3 (6th, 246 yards)… try getting there with the wind against and par 5 (4th, 556 yards) on either course. The section 12 - 14 is laid across open ground and is very like St. Andrews, after which one hole is called. No one really knows who designed the Valley except that Harry Colt left a few sketches on a bit of paper when asked what to do with all the rest of the land after he had built Dunluce! Great fun and huge value for money.
June 18, 2006
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

The Valley is a cracking links course, totally overshadowed by the top 10 rated Dunluce course but you know, I think that's exactly how the locals like it as they can watch the golf tourists pay the big bucks to take on the championship venue, leaving them the run of the adjacent Valley links!

There are stretches of great holes here, in particular from the 4th to the 6th (with the very photogenic short par 4 Desert 5th a beauty) and from the 10th to the 14th on the back nine – though there are no weak holes on the course at all to give you any real respite.

Like at Castlerock, where you should play the nine hole Bann course in addition to the main 18 Mussenden course, I would also recommend taking on the Valley if playing the Dunluce at Portrush. Tee boxes and fairways were a little parched when I played due to lack of rain in recent days but putting surfaces were in great condition. At a shade over 6000 yards from the normal tees you do not need to worry about a long hitting slog round the Valley.

Do yourself a big favour and sample the delights of this course in addition to its big brother next door.

Jim McCann

June 13, 2006
8 / 10
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Neil Wallace
A great couse which is fantastic value for money, compared to the Dunluce and Strand courses!
August 03, 2005
8 / 10
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clarkey
Should be in the top 100 in Britain. Not only is it really beautiful but it tests the golfer of every handicap. The par 3 sixth hole into the wind is as hard as any hole and holes 7, 12 and 13 are par 4's at over 440yards and into the wind a bogey feels like a birdie, superb golf course of which I pride myself on being a resident of the town of Portrush.
July 27, 2005
10 / 10
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Bob
I agree with Stuart- a great course but shouldn't we be keeping it a secret- or the price will go up!
March 11, 2005
8 / 10
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