Castlerock Golf Club is a fantastic test of links golf, located on a famed stretch of golfing coastline on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. The club began its existence in April of 1901 when a group of local members met at the ‘Pavilion’ in Castlerock to form the club; by June of that year, the course had hosted its inaugural competition. By 1908 the Scottish Golf Professional Ben Sayers of the North Berwick club had been commissioned to extend the original nine-hole layout to a full eighteen, the ‘Mussenden Links.’ Despite no official records, it is also thought that the legendary Harry Colt may have been consulted on the layout while in the area working on Royal Portrush. An additional nine holes were added in the late 1960s, named the ‘Bann’ course, and it has proven a popular addition.
The Mussenden links received a substantial upgrade in 2017 at the hands of renowned architect Dr. Martin Hawtree. He completed the redesign of eight holes over that winter and has brought this classic links right up to date for the modern demands of the game. Hawtree is only one of many famous names that have had a hand in shaping Castlerock down the years that have included Ben Sayers, Harry Colt and also Open Champion Fred Daly who was club professional in 1952. The towering dunes that surround holes seven, eight, and nine provide the severest test at any turn, and the home stretch is no easier. It is stating the obvious that accuracy is the key to any round of golf, but that is very much the case at Castlerock, where a ball left out of position gets severely punished.
Like many seaside links courses, the Mussenden was influenced by the railways and at no point is it more evident than while playing the Par 3 fourth hole. A devilish hole of some 200 yards from the back tees, with the trainline creating an out of bounds line down the right and a series of pot bunkers catching your eye line from the tee, it is also played into the prevailing wind. That is followed by the Par 5 fifth, again following the direction of the train line and with some very strategically placed fairway bunkers, you will not find two more difficult back-to-back holes in the British Isles.
Castlerock is a very fair, play it as you see it, links golf course and is an excellent test for all ability of golfer. It is one of the best golf courses in Northern Ireland, and a must on a golf vacation to Ireland. Take a look at how Castlerock Golf Club fits into our Northern Ireland golf tour here.