Royal County Down, Ireland

Royal County Down is consistently among the top courses in the world. I visited the course in august 2015 on a golf trip to Ireland. Driving to the course is an experience as you drive on the small roads out toward the ocean and come to this wonderful golfing spot. We played both courses and used the Annesley as a good warmup to the Championship course. Annesley is a short 18 hole course with narrow fairways and small greens. The weather is always a factor and we considered ourselves lucky not to get any rain. It was cold and windy, but that was expected and didnt effect our experiences .Below the starter hut.

starter hut at Royal County Down


huge putting area
huge putting area
ready for tee off
ready for tee off
the course
First hole at Royal County Down
First hole

Good opening par 5 with the water on the right that shouldnt come into play but like many of the holes on RCD the architecture of the course the tee shot play tricks with your mind. Looks narrow and more difficult than it plays.

View back down 1st hole from 2nd tee
View back down 1st hole from 2nd tee

I booked a caddy which was really worth it. He was excellent and especially guiding us on the blind holes. RCD made an error in the booking so he joined us on the second hole, but no harm done – got a par on the first hole.

tee shot on 2nd hole
tee shot on 2nd hole

Already now you get a sense of some tee shots where you need a caddy or someone who have played the course before. It not the longest par 4, but still requires an accurate drive.

approach to 4th at Royal County Down
approach to 4th

Here you can see some of the many bunkers around the course that are you really want to avoid. Many of them are real penalty shots where you just have to advance out and cant go for the green. They are beatifully designed with the long grass around and will mess up your score if you let them.

best par 3 at Royal County Down
Par 3 7th at Royal County Down
Par 3 7th

I seriously did not expect or foresee what would happen on this hole until after I played it. It looks relatively easy and straightforward. It was playing 120m and the caddie gave perfect instructions to hit right side of the green. The Irish open was held here same year and it played over par during the 4 days which seems unbelievable. I hit a decent shot right side of green and the caddie was positive about the shot. It stayed on the small mount on the right side of the green and a short chip to the pin. I hit the chip just left of the pin and what should never have happened just did…. rolled straight into the lefthand bunker that you can not see from the tee. This is obviously why you do not want to hit it at or left of the pin. Double bogey…. Check out the video below of my playing partners challenge….

9th hole tee off at Royal County Down
9th hole tee off

You hit the drive over the mount and as you can see below is preferable to hit it straight into the fairway….

9th hole
9th hole
the back nine at Royal County Down
10th hole par 3 at Royal County Down
10th hole par 3
difficult par 4 hole 13 at Royal County Down
Tough 13th hole at Royal County Down
Tough 13th hole
approach to 13th
approach to 13th
14th green at Royal County Down
14th green
tee shot 15th
tee shot 15th
17th with water hazard in the fairway at Royal County Down
17th with water hazard in the fairway
18th tee shot at Royal County Down
18th tee shot
approach to 18th
approach to 18th
my experience

Royal County Down is a really good course with some fantastic holes. It is probably only the finishing holes that lack the same level as the overall course. The whole experience of driving, arriving, playing, course condition eating, caddie service etc… was beyond what I expected and is so far the best Irish golf experience I have had.

I shot an 86 which was not satisfactory, especially the 4 x three putts on the last holes. I was a bit of a rollercoaster ride with some good spells like the first 3 holes in par, but too many mistakes and putts. RCD is on my list of revisits….


2 thoughts on “Royal County Down, Ireland

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