Royal Belfast Golf Course Review

Par 70, 6,306 yards, parkland/links

Built on the shores of Belfast Lough, Royal Belfast has hosted a number of championship events, including the Ulster Professional Championship won by Darren Clarke, the Irish Cup Finals, the Irish Close Championship, thUlster Ladies Championship and the Irish Ladies Championship. It is one of only four Irish golf clubs with a 'Royal' prefix, and it was founded in November 1881 making it Ireland's oldest golf club. Harry Colt's original design has barely been touched, although Donald Steel updated it in 1988.

Half of the course is parkland and the rest is pure links, with several holes running alongside the water. It opens with a 415-yard, par 4 surrounded by trees and a green that slopes from front to back.

The 4th hole proves that a hole does not need to be long to be memorable. It measures just 142 yards andrequires a perfect tee shot to avoid the four bunkers that protect the green. Gorse bushes await anything that is over hit.

It is followed by a classic par 5 measuring 553 yards. The drive should hug the right side of the fairway to offer the best chance of reaching the green in two, but there is sand to be avoided and lots of bunkers around the green too.

The 11th is another cracking par 3. It is 179 yards long and the tee shot is a blind one. There are no bunkers but the green slopes severely from left to right, with gorse lying in wait.

The 13th will be unlucky if you decide to pull out the driver - there are bunkers left and right, so opt for a threewood.

The final hole is a 510-yard, par 5 that offers up lots of birdies. The fairway slopes from right to left and there is another tricky green, surrounded by bunkers.

royal belfast

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Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.