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: 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. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

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