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The beach at Royal Portrush

The Dunluce Links Course at Royal Portrush

January 22, 2019
Open Championship

While there will be lots of stars playing the 148th Open in 2019, the ultimate superstar might end up being the Dunluce Links Course at Royal Portrush on the north Antrim coastline in Northern Ireland.

This stunningly beautiful and challenging layout sits on a rocky promontory that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Look to the east and you’ll see soaring limestone cliffs and to the west are the beautiful hills of Inishowen.

Royal Portrush Golf Club was founded in 1888. Two of its most significant happenings were the redesign performed by Harry S. Colt in 1932 and first hosting the Open in 1951.

For the 2019 Open, some changes were recently made to up the challenge for today’s bombers off the tee. Architect Martin Ebert created the new par-5 7th and par-4 8th holes. Stretching to 572 yards, the 7th hole will challenge even the big hitters off the tee. Ebert also added five new bunkers to increase the total to 64, which, incidentally is the lowest number of any links in the Open rota, new back tees and he pushed back the second green to lengthen the par 5. The Ebert changes resulted in the total yardage moving from 7,187 yards to 7,337 yards.

The Dunluce is named after the ruined Dunluce castle that stands sentry over the course.

A classic seaside links, it has magnificent ocean panoramas. The fairways are set in natural valleys between massive sand dunes. With the limited number of bunkers, the greens are protected by small natural grassy knolls and mounds.

The most spectacular and photogenic parts of the Dunluce are by the shoreline. Called “White Rocks” the fifth hole, a 411-yard par-4 is absolutely stunning. A dogleg hole played from an elevated tee towards the ocean, it requires a testy shot across a wide expanse of rough to have a chance at birdie. White Rocks beach sits just beyond the back of the green. Another thrilling hole, and one that will definitely have a say in the ultimate winner on Sunday, is the the 210-yard par 3 16th, a target golf special.

Like most links courses, if the wind starts to blow hard the course toughens up considerably and thoughtful and precise club selection is an absolute must to score well.

The Dunluce promises to be a marvelous test that will strongly challenge every player’s golf skills and mental fortitude.