IRISH GOLF TRAVEL “Go play Ardglass, you’ll never forget it”

Don’t miss a chance to play Ardglass Golf Club if you’re near County Down in Northern Ireland. It’s a true gem offering breathtaking landscapes, a historic clubhouse, and a spectacular golf course you’ll never forget.

Aerial view of the 1st and 18th holes at Ardglass Golf Course. (Source: Ardglass Golf Club Facebook)

Last summer, last Irish summer, I had just a handful of days in Dublin to see old friends, sink a few pints of Guinness and play some golf. In a country full of some of the best golf on the planet, choosing a course or two to play was always going to be a challenge.

I asked a few Irish golf aficionados for advice and among many other suggestions, one golf course I knew nothing about was mentioned several times.

“Go play Ardglass,” they said. “You’ll never forget it.”

So I did. And they were right.

Arglass Golf Club. (Source:

Ardglass is in Northern Ireland, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Dublin, an hour south of Belfast in County Down. Yep, that County Down. Most golfers head towards County Down to try and play the highly-rated County Down Golf Course. But if you’re in the area you shouldn’t miss Ardglass Golf Club. For one, it’s publically accessible for any international travellers so you’re more likely to land yourself a tee time here. And my goodness, it’s truly spectacular.

The clubhouse at Ardglass is older than golf, the chowder served there was delicious, and the staff and club members were as welcoming as anywhere else I’d visited before.

The former castle now holds the pro shop, locker rooms and upstairs lounge, and serves as an imposing backdrop for an unforgettable opening tee shot where you really shouldn’t miss it left.

“The Irish Sea is left, all of Ireland is to the right”, Dave told us in the pro shop.

Flanked by cannons, you’ll need to carry a rocky ravine to set up a short approach to a small green sitting among mounds that looks like it’s playing a game of hide-and-seek. And winning.

The preposterous par-3 2nd at Ardglass golf course. (Source:

The par-3 second hole is just as striking as the first – requiring another well-struck tee shot across a rocky ravine before the third hole heads downhill across more rocky Northern Irish clifftops.

And don’t for a minute think it’s just breathtaking landscapes with a mediocre golf course sitting on top. The par-4 4th hole for example is a gem and a masterclass in golf architecture.

With Dave’s advice still fresh in my mind, I stayed well away from the Irish Sea only to realise the left side of the fourth fairway is the ideal line into the green. Anything right is more obscured by a large mound. It defends any short approach and kicks on anything long, making it incredibly difficult to get your ball near the flagstick.

Ardglass Golf Club. (Source:

Classic links golf all with a spectacular view over the Irish Sea. In his book “A Course Called Ireland”, John Coyne described for first four holes at Ardglass as “preposterous golf”. There is no other adjective to describe it.

The next four holes allow you to get your breath back on slightly flatter terrain past stone walls and a white cottage. On one hole you play past it, the next you tee off over it.

I challenge you not to play the course with a smile on your face.

The view back down the 7th hole at Ardglass golf course. (Source:

Australia has some stunning golf course “reveals”; those places where an unexpected, incredible view of a golf hole opens up in front of you. Think the 5th at New South Wales GC or the 4th at Barnbougle Lost Farm.

The walk to the 9th tee at Ardglass is like that.

Hidden by bushes behind the back of the 8th green, the 9th tee overlooks a small bay and the village known as Coney Island. Yep, the original Coney Island that Van Morrison sings about, not the one in New York. (He mentions Ardglass in the song too you know).

The 9th, 10th, and 11th holes are a joy to play and will live long in my golf memories.

A sneak peek of the great reveal at Ardglass Golf Club. View out towards Coney Island. (Source:
Aerial view of the par-5 10th hole at Ardglass Golf Course. (Source: Ardglass Golf Club Facebook)

The 10th is an unforgettable, sweeping par-5 around the rocky shoreline that for anyone still scoring could turn a decent card into a bad one. A bogey or worse will soon be forgotten as you walk to the next tee atop the clifftop. The par-3 11th sits on the edge of the water below. I hesitate to describe it any further, words won’t do it justice.

The air got colder and some light rain began to fall as we made our way back in towards the clubhouse. A huge smile on my face obscured a sense of melancholy – this was a special afternoon spent on a special golf course, and hole-by-hole it was coming to a close.

The 18th green at Ardglass golf course. (Source:

Arriving at the 18th tee you can see the fishing town of Ardglass, the clubhouse and cannons. It’s a spectacular homecoming view.

Before leaving for Irish shores, I was told to play Ardglass; “You’ll never forget it.

Now I say the same to you. When you’re in those parts next, listen to both Van Morrison tell you about a day near Coney Island, play Ardglass and have a Guinness in a clubhouse older than golf.

Wouldn’t it be great if golf was like this all the time?

Aerial view of the par-3 11th hole at Ardglass Golf Course. (Source: Ardglass Golf Club Facebook)

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