Links play in Northern Ireland is the closest to extreme sport golf can get
Playing a Northern Ireland links course is an experience like no other. That edge of the world feeling, with nothing between you and Iceland but a thousand miles of Atlantic surf, a bracing wind that can turn from ally to adversary in a second, and immense sand dunes hiding all manner of pitfalls and possibilities.
No wonder then that Northern Ireland's finest links courses are well regarded and held in such high esteem across the world of international golf. Our two finest, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, regularly feature in top golfing polls across the world, and have hosted many elite international events such as the British Seniors Open and British Open in their prestigious histories.
Yet, because this is Northern Ireland, even courses of this calibre warmly welcome the intrepid visitor. Here you can indulge your dreams and try your hand at the challenges that have tested the very best golfers in the world. That said, every one of our links courses has plenty to tax the talents of even the most adept player. Portstewart and Castlerock are already tricky enough without the added distraction of phenomenal views. How can you keep your eye on the ball when the vistas are so compelling? Or away from the North Coast you could visit the links at Kirkistown Castle in County Down, the most easterly 18 hole course on the island of Ireland.
Play any of these courses and you'll soon discover why Northern Ireland has produced so many world class golfers including David Feherty, the late, great Fred Daly, Graeme McDowell and recently joining the professional ranks, Rory McIlroy. Darren Clarke ranks Royal Portrush among his favourite courses, together with Royal County Down, favourite of world champions such as Tiger Woods.
With the challenging course layouts, the unpredictable conditions and the gnarling North Atlantic winds, links golf in Northern Ireland is a stern test of both ability and endurance. The pleasures and rigours of links golf are no longer a secret, so why not give it a go?