A History of the Royal Co. Down Golf Club

The club’s journey began in 1889 and soon afterwards Old Tom Morris laid out the first eighteen-hole course with the probable layout on the inside cover of this book. The virgin land proved ideal for golf, and within a month, players were teeing off. But it was George Coombe, the autocratic “Convenor of the Greens,” who transformed the layout. Inspired by the stunning setting, Coombe reshaped the holes, creating two north-south loops that still grace the course today.
In 1926, Harry Colt joined the design team, addressing perceived weaknesses. He introduced the now-famous gorse, adjusted green sites, and crafted the awe-inspiring 9th hole—a par four that challenges both mind and muscle.

What sets Royal County Down apart is the thrilling marriage of design and dune structures – arguably the most attractive in golf. As you stand on the tee, purple heather, golden gorse, and fearsome bunkers frame your view. Drives often play blind over the rugged hills, guided only by small white rocks atop the dunes. The fairways twist and turn, revealing majestic holes that demand precision.

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Henderson, James

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