Northern Ireland is now back on the tourist and golfing map – and rightly so. Once out of the hustle and bustle of Belfast, life assumes a quieter pace seeming to recall an earlier, more leisurely age, in an area rich in scenic beauty.
Of the golf courses in Northern Ireland, two stand out, both being championship courses in the classic mould. Close to the remarkable Giant’s Causeway, lies Royal Portrush, which hosted an Open in the early 50’s, whilst few golfers do not also take time to play Royal County Down, nestled in the foot of the Mountains of Mourne.
However, there is more to golf in the province than these two, superb as they are. Portstewart and Castlerock near to Portrush, are both links courses, worthy of note, as are Ardglass and Warrenpoint, in County Down. Royal Belfast and Malone are parkland courses whilst the course constructed at the new Hilton Templepatrick makes excellent use of existing topography, to form an interesting parkland course.
Finally, the course in Counties Sligo and Donegal within easy reach, for golf in some of the remotest and most picturesque settings imaginable.
3 Star/first class: Bushmills Inn, Bushmills; Beech Hill House Hotel, Londonderry; Portaferry Hotel, Portaferry, Kees Hotel, Ballybofey; Mt Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny; Tower Hotel, Sligo
4 Star/superior first: Hilton Templepatrick; Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast; Tower Hotel, Londonderry
5 Star/deluxe: Hilton Belfast
Ardglass, Ballyliffen, Castlerock, Donegal, Enniscrone, Hilton Templepatrick, Malone, Portstewart, Royal Belfast, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, County Sligo (Rosses Point)