Top Links of Northern Ireland

Top Links Golf in Northern Ireland

In the excellent book, True Links by esteemed authors George Peper and Malcolm Campbell, the writers claim that of the 30,000+ golf courses in the world there are only 246 true links.

Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played all of these links courses in Northern Ireland and below he lists them in order of his personal preference. All of the courses also have a golf course review.

We certainly do not claim this to be a definitive list so please don't be offended if you disagree with the order or your blood boils because your personal favourite languishes far too low. It's merely one man's opinion on the many fabulous links golf courses of Northern Ireland. Hopefully this provides more interest than a list created by a panel which can often dilute the flavour of any given ranking. However, we are very interested in your opinions so please leave your comments below.

You may also like to read our Living on the Links Spectrum article.

You can see the equivalent for England, Scotland and Wales plus now you can see our Top 100 Links Golf Courses of the United Kingdom.

Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

Royal Portrush Golf Club

"I don’t think I would ever accept the notion that a golf course is perfect – not even The Old Course at St. Andrews – but boy does Royal Portrush come close. Tantalisingly close. To say I was completely and utterly blown away by the sheer quality and golfing aura that surrounds what will be the 2019 Open Championship venue is a gross understatement."

Read the full review

Royal County Down (Championship)

Royal County Down Golf Club

"The canvas at County Down is perfect for golf and it paints the most captivating of pictures. Visually it packs a big punch and the terrain is just wonderful for the best of golf. Dune-lined valleys, up-and-overs, soaring sandhills, undulating fairways, firm turf, dell greens, flags atop of plateaus, secret gorse lined walks from green-to-tee and a backdrop as stunning as they come. "

Read the full review

Portstewart (Strand)

Portstewart Golf Club

"The championship Strand course at Portstewart in County Londonderry is one of the finest links in all of Ireland. Portstewart sometimes gets a bad rap for having just nine good holes (the front nine) along with an inferior back-nine. Now, this is true to a certain extent but I’d like to clarify and put it into context by saying that the front nine is rivetingly magnificent and the inward half still exceptionally good."

Read the full review

Castlerock (Mussenden)

Castlerock Golf Club

"Castlerock…. simply rocks! I’ll admit straightaway that the Mussenden Links at Castlerock in County Londonderry is right up my street. It’s an authentic, genuine, rugged links course that does everything you would expect of it and at times much more. It’s rough around the edges but that’s the way I like it and this natural layout certainly delivers."

Read the full review

Royal Portrush (Valley)

Royal County Down (Annesley)

Kirkistown Castle

Castlerock (Bann)

Portstewart (Riverside)


Portstewart (Old)


We would love to hear if you agree or disagree with our selections. You can do so in the comments box below or tweet us.