Top 30 Golf Courses of Northern Ireland 2014
Top 100 Golf Courses expands its Northern Ireland golf course rankings
19 December 2013
The north east corner of the Emerald Isle has enjoyed something of a golfing boom in the last few years – largely due to the profile of the area being raised by the Major-winning exploits of Messrs McDowell, McIlroy and Clarke – culminating in the recent approval of planning permission for the intended top class golf development at Bushmills Dunes.
Mind you, the new David McLay Kidd-designed track on the north Antrim coast will need to be something really special if it’s to threaten the dominance of the two main championship layouts in these parts, namely the Championship course at Royal County Down and the 18 holes of the Dunluce at Royal Portrush.
RCD has claimed the top spot in our chart for Northern Ireland ever since our rankings started, with the Dunluce (venue of the 2012 Irish Open) pushing it hard in second place. Some feel that order should actually be reversed but, regardless of their relative positions, what cannot be disputed is the undoubted world-class quality of both courses.
And so to the latest Northern Ireland chart. Significant upward moves include the Valley course at Royal Portrush (up two to 6) and the Dufferin course at Clandeboye (up three to 7), allowing both layouts to consolidate their position within the Top 10. The delightful Annesley links at Royal County Down, a new entry last time at number 21, now moves up a further six places to 15.
Of course, what goes up must also result in others coming down and major fallers this time around include the lovely parkland 18-hole layout at Malone (down four to number 10), the sporty little 9-hole Bann course at Castlerock (down six to position 15) and the David Jones-David Feherty modern track at Templepatrick (down seven to 23rd place).
There are five newcomers to the new list, all from different counties in Northern Ireland, though the first of these, Ronan Rafferty’s old home course at Warrenpoint, is actually a re-entry at position 30 because it previously graced our 2010-11 listings at number 20.
Occupying the two places immediately above Warrenpoint, you will find two parkland courses representing counties that haven’t featured before in our rankings, Newtownstewart from County Tyrone and Tandragee from County Armagh. We’d like to think that their inclusion now allows us to give proper prominence to every golfing area in the country.
Just ahead of these two courses, at number 27, now sits the 18-hole Dunmurry layout, which was extensively overhauled by Davis Jones at the start of the new millennium, and it brings the number of Antrim courses that Top 100 covers to a round ten.
The highest new entry into our latest listings is claimed by Moyola Park, one of Ulster’s best kept parkland secrets, and we make absolutely no apology for letting the cat out of the bag about this little mid-Ulster beauty.
Top 100 has never claimed to be “definitive” but we think we compile the most “informed” golf course rankings in the business. If you’ve played any of our featured courses in Northern Ireland, we’d be delighted to hear what you think of them, so why not send us a course review?
Similarly, if there are any gems in the six counties that really deserve consideration, please let us know and we’ll have them reviewed in advance of possible inclusion.
Click to explore in detail our new 2014 Northern Ireland Top 30
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