Royal County Down is located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve. Against the magnificent backdrop of the the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and fourth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.
The narrowest ribbons of fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, so beautiful to look at but so punishing for any who may stray from the prescribed path. The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature over hanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. The greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction. This is a true test of any player’s command of the tradational bump and run, the preferred way to play links.
The ninth hole is the most photographed holes in world golf. A 486 yard par 4, it is played from one side of a huge mound down to a fairway some 60ft below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two bunkers to a raised green.
The finest of all links courses, it offers a stern challenge from the championship tees. The record is 66 set by Ireland’s first golfing superstar, Jimmy Burren, in 1939.