Royal Portrush Golf Club: Changes enhance the Valley Links in Northern Ireland



The new 15th hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
Looking back to the 16th green of the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The new par-3 17th hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The first green on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The second hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The 141-yard third hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The fifth hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
Dunes pinch the sixth green on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The seventh green hides behind a dune on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
The par-5 eighth hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The par-3 ninth hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The 12th hole on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
A look back at the 14th green from the elevated 15th tee on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The new 18th tee on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club reveals the sea. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
A golfer hits onto the seventh green of the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
The new 17th green on the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club is actually an original green from the earliest days of the historic club. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )
The views of the Valley Links from the more famous Dunluce links at Royal Portrush Golf Club entice many golfers to play it. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – The sacrifice the Valley Links made to the Dunluce Links has made oft-underappreciated links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club better.

The Valley Links – also called the Rathmore Golf Club by locals – gave up its fifth and sixth holes in the dunes, so the Dunluce Links could add two new holes in its preparation for The Open Championship in 2019. In response, architect Martin Ebert’s recalibration of the closing stretch of the Valley Links was just the facelift the Valley Links needed to shed its reputation as merely a relief course, especially for women, juniors and average golfers. It created four finishing holes provocative enough to deem the 6,336-yard links a must-play on any golf trip to Northern Ireland.

As the name implies, the Valley Links unfurls in the bottom of a bowl of dunes. Its more mundane holes march parallel to one another – in opposite directions - with a few notable and interesting exceptions along the way (specifically nos. 5, 7, 8).

Advertising
Advertising

It's the new heroic shots coming that sends players home feeling satisfied. The new 171-yard 15th hole plays off an elevated tee into a heavy breeze. The 16th hole, the old no. 17, stretched from a par 4 into a 493-yard, dogleg par 5. Another new par 3, the 194-yarder at no. 17, incorporated a green from the Skerries pitch-and-putt course that just happened to be one of the original greens dating to the club’s earliest days. The finale is 333 yards of downwind fun. The elevated tee, overlooking the Irish Sea, feels like a launching pad with the gale at your back. Driving the green isn’t just a possibility. It should be the expectation.

(Read Jason Scott Deegan's review of the Valley Links at the Royal Portrush Golf Club)

May 12, 2017

Related Links


Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.


Related Articles

Back to top