"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."
Top Links of 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.
"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. "
"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."
"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."
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.