No 4 - Royal County Down

Royal County Down contains some magnificent backdrops and some testing blind shots

Royal County Down


Architect: T Morris 2006 position: 3 Stats: 6,881 yds; par 71; SSS 73 GF: £140-£175 T: 028 4372 2419 W: (opens in new tab) We’ve all seen the wonderfully evocative photos of fairways cutting through swathes of gorse, flanked by sea and mountains. And we’ve all longed to play there. Finally, I have, and I’m delighted to say the reality lives up to the photographic hype. Newcastle is a special place, and a thoroughly entertaining test, with or without wind. Critics may denounce the number of blind shots, but as Tommy Armour once said, “There’s no such thing as a blind shot to a man with a memory.” So no excuses second time round, which is something that can’t come soon enough after the first. JE

+ Magnificent backdrops; immense test; excellent recent redesign work - Several blind shots; incongruous pond on 17; expensive in high season

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Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response