Oldest golf club in Ireland

Royal Belfast Golf Club

Royal Belfast is the oldest golf club in Ireland, founded in 1881.

Royal Belfast Golf Club
Address Station Road, Craigavad,  BT18 0BP  Holywood,  Northern Ireland
Phone +44 (0)28 9042 8165
Pro shop +44 (0)28 9042 8586
Number of holes 18

Royal Belfast is the oldest golf club in Ireland, founded in 1881. The current course was designed by Harry Colt and opened in 1925, after the club had to move after WWI. As part of the move the club acquired a Victorian era palace of a clubhouse with magnificent dining rooms and impressive stained glass windows. It's easy to get the impression that this is a real royal palace, not 'just' a golf club.

Photo: Bo Sjosten

Remember to wear a suit and tailored shirt with a tie if invited to eat in the formal dining room (if you forgot your suit and tie, there is also a more casual dining room and bar).

18 hole course

The course at Royal Belfast is an 18 hole parkland course.


The first few holes are surrounded by forest, but then the course opens up, with wider fairways and a view of the sea. It is supposed to favor strategic rather than powerful play, but we certainly found a few holes that required long tee shots if we were to to conquer them. The greens are quite deceptive in that they often give the impression of being rather flat, while in fact they slope more than your eye will tell you. The rough is kept high, requiring a lot of power to get out. All in all, it's a course that is quite a bit more demanding than what the pretty landscape and views may first cause you to believe.

Information about 18 hole course

Number of holes18
Season January - December
Course typeParkland
Course opened1881
Course designerH C Colt
TeeParLength  (yds)CR/Slope (Men)CR/Slope (Women)
White706306SSS 71-/ -
Yellow706185SSS 70-/ -
Blue725961-/ -SSS 69
Red725560-/ -SSS 72

Map and satellite image

lat: 54.6605, long: -5.7853

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