Kirkistown Castle is a true links and was founded in 1902. It is situated in the village of Cloughey on the eastern seaboard of the Ards peninsula making it the most easterly 18-hole golf course on the island of Ireland. The present course layout was designed in 1934 by the legendary James Braid. Little has changed since and few would argue that this Braid gem has not stood the test of time. The course consists of two loops of 9 holes each starting and ending in the vicinity of the clubhouse. The inner nine is played in an anti-clockwise direction, while the outer nine is played in a clockwise direction. This means that when the wind blows (and it usually does) you experience it from every direction during your round. The course has a tremendous variety of holes including some elevated greens and elevated tees making perfect use of two hillocks at either end of the course. The 12th Hole, at 434 yards, links the two hillocks with the tee box atop one and the exposed green on top of the other.
Measuring 6167 yards, Kirkistown Castle is widely regarded as one of the best PAR 69 courses you are ever likely to encounter. But don’t be put off by the PAR of 69. This course is longer than some courses with a PAR of 71 and this is reflected in the SSS of 70 and a Slope Rating of 121. It features some long and strong PAR 4s and some varied and interesting PAR 3s giving it an enviable reputation as a challenging but very enjoyable test of golf. The signature hole, the PAR 4 10th, at 435 yards with out of bounds all along the left, subtle bunkering on the right and an elevated green surrounded by white thorn, gorse and links rough, is reputed to be one of the most difficult PAR 4s in Irish golf. The wonderful variety of holes will test every facet of your golf game and, being situated on the Irish Sea coast, wind is usually another ‘hazard’ to be added to those already on the course. Every day is a new and different challenge and you will never get bored playing this course.
On seeing Kirkistown Castle for the first time on 26th September 1934, James Braid was heard to exlcaim "If only I had this within 50miles of London" He spent the morning marking out alterations to the tees and greens and the afternoon positioning and shaping the bunkers.
The south eastern corner of the Ards peninsula has the lowest rainfall in Northern Ireland and as a traditional links, the course remains playable virtually 365 days a year delivering a quality golfing experience throughout the winter period when most other golf courses experience course closures or temporary greens for days and even weeks on end. Kirkistown Castle offers its visitors a chance to play ‘The Open’ style of links golf, a unique golfing experience and a very friendly welcome at reasonable green fee rates.
It has a modern well appointed clubhouse with a fully licensed bar and conservatory restaurant. Tee times are available to visitors all day Sunday to Friday and on Saturday afternoons.
Michael Bannon,PGA (coach to Rory McIlroy) grew up and learned to play his golf at Kirkistown Castle He says
"Kirkistown Castle is a wonderful links course with a great mix of holes to test all areas of your game. The course suits all standards of golfer from the beginner to the more discerning player. It is still my favourite place, and in 40years I have never tired of playing the course."
Kirkistown Castle is a golfing experience not to be missed. James Braid wanted to take this place home with him in 1934. It is no wonder, come and see for yourself - you will not be disappointed.
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.
Green fees:Weekdays £27.50,
Weekends / Bank Holidays £33
Best days to play:Mon - Fri
Golf Club:Type of course: Links/Seaside
Course professional: Yes
Length in yards:6,167
Course designer:James Braid
Handicap/certificate requirements:None required
Par of course:69
Opening times:Daily from 8am until dusk
Location / Directions
From Belfast: 26 Miles – ( 45 Minutes )
Travel Route: Belfast (A20) – Newtownards – Greyabbey – Kircubbin (B173) – Cloughey
From Dublin: 130 Miles – ( 2 Hours 30 Minutes )
Travel Route Dublin (M1:A1): Hillsborough(B178) – Carryduff (B178) – Comber (A121) – Newtownards (A20) – Greyabbey – Kircubbin (B173) – Cloughey
Travel Route Dublin (M1): Newry – Castlewellan (A25) – Downpatrick (A25) – Strangford/Portaferry (A2) – Cloughey
- Pro shop
- Trollies available
- 18 holes
- Restaurant onsite
- Putting Green
- Dress code
- Tuition Available
- Club Hire
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