Royal County Down


Royal County Down

  • Course Type

  • GOLF Top 100 World Rank (2023-24)

  • Year

  • Architect

    Old Tom Morris
  • Par

  • Yardage


Course Overview

The evolution over more than 130 years of this design is fascinating and has yielded what many consider to be the game’s finest front nine. Blind tee shots abound, in brilliant fashion at such holes as 2, 5 and 9. On the back side, one feature that was recently expunged was a natural pond 100 yards shy of the 17th green. Member George Combe deserves much of the credit for RCD as he shepherded the course through the transition to the rubber core Haskell ball 120 years ago. Forty percent of the World top 15 (here, Pine Valley, Oakmont, Royal Dornoch, Pebble Beach and Merion) derived much of their substance from individuals who built few other courses. Such designs enjoy their own unique voices with County Down further blessed with staggeringly handsome long views of the Irish Sea, the Mountains of Mourne and the red-brick steeple of the Slieve Donard Hotel. (Photo: Evan Schiller)

3 things to know

  • Hole everyone talks about

    No. 9, par-4, 483 yards: When you reach the crest of the fairway, you’re rewarded with one of the most magnificent views in golf: the sea to your left, the town and mountains straight ahead and RCD’s back nine to your right. Absorb the moment but don’t let it distract you, because getting home in regulation is a mighty ask on this meaty par-4.
  • Best non-golf amenity

    Everyone knows Guinness tastes better in Ireland, but sipping a perfectly poured pint in RCD’s lounge, which overlooks the 18th hole, is a memory you and your taste buds will not soon forget.
  • Insider tip

    Public play is welcome, but there are some blackout times, including all day Wednesdays and Saturdays, Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. All bookings must be made through the club secretary’s office.