Spotlight on…. Co Antrim
Co Antrim is host to Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast. It is also home to rugged landscape that includes such iconic natural wonders such as the Giant’s Causeway and the Glens of Antrim.
For the golfing enthusiast, Co Antrim offers some spectacular golf courses which include Galgorm Castle which is the current host of the Northern Ireland Open. Also situated in Co Antrim is Gracehill Golf Club, which is surrounded by the Dark Hedges made famous for their presence in popular TV show Game of Thrones.
A trip to Belfast will reward golfers with some fantastic parkland golf courses with Knock, Shandon Park and Dunmurry in close proximity to one another, and each offering a serious test of golf in beautiful, lush surroundings.
Why not challenge your golf game at some of these fine courses and indulge in the culture and landscape that Co Antrim has to offer.
Home to the European Tour Group’s Northern Ireland Open, Galgorm Castle is one of Ireland’s finest Championship parklands. Opened in 1997, the par-72 layout was designed by Simon Gidman and is nestled in the heart of the 220-acre historic Galgorm Castle Estate. The course is bordered by the rivers Maine and Braid that come into play on numerous holes, as well as five lakes and the magnificent oxbow lake adjacent to the 14th hole. A variety of teeing areas provide an exciting and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all abilities and its central location means the course is a must-visit for any golfers planning a trip to Northern Ireland
Nestling in beautiful mature parkland outside the village of Stranocum near Ballymoney, Gracehill Golf Club offers golfers a unique challenge. Some of the greens are strategically placed near to water hazards, while other holes are played through mature woodland or over heathland making it one of the few courses in Ireland to offer such variety. The land, which Gracehill Golf Club now occupies, has a unique history, dating back to the time when King James I succeeded to the throne of England. It has passed through many generations of owners who either bought or inherited the property. The estate was purchased by its last owners in 1971 and run as a working farm until around 1991 when they decided to turn it into an 18-hole championship golf course!
Knock Golf Club, designed by Colt, Mackenzie and Allison is an 18 -ole parkland course that has twice hosted the Irish Professional Golf Championship has been used as qualifying venues in the UK for the Northern Ireland Open. The par-70 course measures 6,428 yards and is recognised for its excellent greens conditions. The beautifully designed course landscapes long lush fairways, smart tree lines and challenging bunker placement around the greens. The highlight of most people’s round is the superb 14th hole reaching towards Stormont Castle in the distance. After your round, enjoy a spectacular meal in the highly acclaimed ‘Colt Cuisine’ restaurant!
Shandon Park Golf Club is situated in the leafy suburbs of east Belfast, just 15 minutes from Belfast city centre. The course combines a tough championship layout with some beautifully sculptured holes, great views of the city, and challenging greens. The wonderful clubhouse is the envy of many clubs in Ireland and has a very welcoming lounge, bar and restaurant, all with views over the course.
Featuring a history that spans nearly 100 years, Dunmurry Golf Club is 18-hole, par-70 parkland course. Located near Belfast City Centre, Dunmurry Golf Club’s well-manicured greens and fairways are notable, as are the natural and artificial hazards, which challenge a golfer’s shot-making skills. Featuring a full-service golf shop with a PGA Professional on staff, players can enjoy the club’s restaurant following their round, or enjoy a drink at the bar which features spectacular views of the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.