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Golfing

Good Golfing On The Causeway Coast
Charlie Mulqueen has been golf correspondent for the Cork Examiner since 1981. He has also commentated on RTE Radio on the sport. It is from his book, GOLF COURSES OF IRELAND, that we take snippets of his reviews on the local courses. The book is available in The Grange, Coleraine's library for all our guests to review.

Ballycastle Golf Club
5692 yards - Par 71

Located on the eastern end of the Causeway Coast, the Ballycastle course offers some magnificent views while the quality of the fairway turf and exacting, undulating greens always makes a game here a particular pleasure. The round begins with a couple of short par fives and generally this is a most relaxing course. The rivers provide natural hazards over the opening holes, most of which are of the parkland variety, but from then on the warren area is true links with the closing stretch completed in an upland area with superb views of Ballycastle Bay.

Castlerock Golf Club
6736 yards - Par 73

Of the many magnificent courses dotted along the Irish coastline, I would venture to suggest that Castlerock is among the best, yet also among the least appreciated. Towards the end of the 1900's work began on Castlerock course under the direction of Hugh McNeill from Royal Portrush. The opening holes are none too testing. In normal conditions, a short to medium iron will have one safely home at the first two and a par 5 3rd and 5th afford every chance of a birdie. The 9th most surely be one of the finest par threes in the country although a stray shot can often get a lucky bounce down towards or even on to the green.

Portstewart Golf Club
Old Course - 4733 yards - Par 64 & Strand Course - 6804 yards - Par 72

Portstewart has been a holiday haven since its foundation in 1889 and in its time has played host to leading men and women golfers. Indeed the qualifying rounds of the British Open in 1951 won at Portrush by Max Faulkner took place on Portstewart and more recently it has played host to several professional ladies tournaments. The first hole in Portstewart remains regarded by many as the best opening hole in the country due to its lofty position. The lofty tee suggests that many could easily cut the corner at the 200 yard point although it should be played the way it was intended as a dogleg. Although even then the approach is by no means easy for the green is well protected.

Royal Portrush
6787 yards - Par 73

When the age-old argument comes up in the 19th hole of where is the best course in Ireland. Royal Portrush is invariably on everybody's short list. Quite simply it is a magnificent links course, of such quality that Frank Pennick wrote in his Golfers Companion " Suely one of the six greatest courses in Great Britain & Ireland "

The Portrush links is true seaside, duneland golf on which a golfer in form will derive unbelievable satisfaction from his labours. From the championship tees, it measures almost 6,900 yards which is obviously too long for many but the medal makers are manageable for most handicap level, although beginners and novices would be doing themselves a favour by burnishing their skills elsewhere before tackling this course.

There are a great many more beautiful and challenging courses lying in wait for you on the Causeway Coast. For details on any course in particular contact The Grange, Coleraine and we will be happy to forward on details.

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