August / September 2017

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STAY & PLAY ver.indd 1 12/1/1 ver.indd 1 12/1/1 ver.indd 1 12/1/1 ver.indd 1 12/1/1 Q uick geography lesson: al- though Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, it's actually not part of Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland and Wales. As a result, only once has a Northern Irish course been included in the venerable British Open. But that doesn't mean that the six counties of Northern Ireland don't have courses that rival the legendary properties that are part of the British Open rotation. From, here are the top 10 courses in the northeastern part of the Emerald Isle: 1. royal County down. Blind tee shots, imposing bunkers and an idyl- lic setting on the coast and in the shadows of the Mourne Mountains makes this quintessential links course one of the most challenging and iconic on the planet. 2. royal portrush (dunluce course). The only non-British Isle course to host the British Open (it gets it again in 2019), this course's original nine opened in 1888. It has changed over the years, but the natural hazards, ever-present wind, and stunning loca- tion on the edge of the Atlantic hasn't. 3. portstewart (strand course). A mix of the old and new, this London- derry course opened more than 100 years ago, but was updated in the late 1980s with the creation of seven new holes that blend seamlessly into the original layout, which features tower- ing dunes and panoramic views. 4. lough erne. One of the newest courses on this list, this Nick Faldo- designed track opened in 2009. It is part of a five-star resort and wetlands continually come into play. 5. Castlerock (mussenden course). Located on the northern coast, this venerable course opened in 1901. It in- cludes a nine-hole track, as well as the Mussenden, which lies between a river and the sea. Wind is always a factor. 6. malone. Twenty-seven holes greet golfers at this course, located on the outskirts of Belfast. Matching those 27 holes is a 27-acre lake that the course winds around. 7. belvoir park. This course, located five miles from the center of Belfast, opened in the 1920s. Unlike the links courses that dominate this list, it's set on 330 lush acres of rolling parkland. 8. ardglass. Located 20 miles east of Royal County Down on the Irish Sea, this track includes clifftop holes and carries over chasms, as well gentler coastal holes near the ocean. 9. royal portrush (valley course). Though it doesn't get the accolades of its sister course, this Harry Colt design winds across much different terrain. It's a twisting, turning track with wild rose bushes flanking most greens. 10. royal County down (annesley course.) A more sedate alternative to Royal County Down's masterpiece track, this par-66 course places a pre- mium on shot-making. luCk of the irish! Here's a look at Northern Ireland's top 10 golf courses 1. Royal County Down 5. Castle Rock 9. Royal Portrush (Valley) CliCk here to visit and learn more about custom golf vacations. ............................................................................ CliCk here to watch exclusive videos from properties all around the world.

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