Royal Portrush Dunluce Course Review

Par 72, 6,818 yards, links
Royal Portrush has a special place in the history of Irish golf, since it is the only course outside Great Britain to host The Open Championship (in 1951 when Max Faulkner was victorious). In 2003, it hosted the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and in July each year it hosts the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.
Its Dunluce Links is a wonderful test of links golf but can also be extremely ferocious, as the world's finest golfers will discover in 2019 when The Open returns to this magnificencourse. It was once famously described as a 'spectacular monster'. Some of the hole names probably speak for themselves - 'Purgatory', 'Giant's Cave', 'Himalayas' and 'Calamity Corner'
By the way, you may be interested to learn that the course record at Royal Portrush is held by a certain Rory McIlroy. At the age of 16 he negotiated the links in a scarcely credible 61 strokes during the Northern Ireland Amateur Open. He played the front nine in 33 and  came home in 28. Of one thing you can be sure, however, when The Open arrives at this marvelous links. Nobody will be reducing it to 61 blows. Not even Rory.

There are many spectacular holes, but we are going to focus on the closing stretch which is where The Open will be won and lost. The tee shot and approach at the 15th are blind, so you need to aim at a huge marker polethat is set behind the green. Thick gorse sits to the right of the fairway, and the green is well guarded with lots of trouble at the back.

The 16th is 442 yards and calls for a drive directed to the left of two fairway bunkers to open up the green.
The 17th measures 480 yards and is a par 5, but it will play as a par 4 for The Open. A yawning bunker on the right, called Big Nellie, is to be avoided at all costs. Bunkers lie in wait on the left and right of the putting surface.

And then we come to the 18th, a brute of a par 4 measuring 470 yards. As if bunkers to the right and left were not bad enough, the hole features two cross-bunkers in the middle of the fairway and a green protected by half dozen deep bunkers, with the car park located just a few feet to the right
royal portrush
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Derek Clements

Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists