Situated on the south-east coast of County Down, Ardglass is unquestionably one of the most spectacular courses in Ireland, having won the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association Best Links Course of the Year Award Oct 2011. And IAGTO's award for Golf Experience of the year Northern Ireland 2019.
The dramatic layout of the course with several tees and greens overlooking the ocean gives it a really rugged feel. It is part links, part cliff-top in nature. The course meanders its way out to a headland, then winds its way back, along the way offering some of the most thrilling play bar none. The first five holes are truly memorable and run right alongside the sea.
The par 3 2nd (Howd’s Hole) is many people’s favourite and many people’s undoing. With the tee shot needing to be fired across a rocky inlet, it is a real death-or-gloryhole, somewhat reminiscent of the notorious 3rd at Tralee, County Kerry.
“At only 167 yards it may not be as damaging to the score card as ‘Calamity’ at Portrush but it nevertheless comes with a health warning” (Golf World).
A second magnificent par 3 is the downhill 12th where the Irish Sea can provide a daunting diversion and when the wind is dead against you, it can be truly intimidating. The final hole however, offers a good chance of a closing birdie, and then it’s off to the 19th – in true Ardglass style, a restored castle.
Bring plenty of spare golf balls!