Royal County Down Heads Up New Golf Monthly Top 100 Rankings

The Northern Irish links tops the Golf Monthly UK and Ireland Top 100 rankings for the first time

Royal County Down Heads Up New Golf Monthly Top 100 Rankings
Photo: Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Northern Irish links tops the Golf Monthly UK and Ireland Top 100 rankings for the first time

Royal County Down Heads Up New Golf Monthly Top 100 Rankings

Golf Monthly's brand new UK and Ireland Top 100 Courses rankings have been released and there's a new number one.

The Championship Course at Royal County Down in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, tops the rankings for the first time, having moved up from fourth in the previous instalment.

RCD has worldwide fame and is known for an exceptional setting, fantastic conditioning, wonderful facilities and a very friendly welcome.

Old Tom Morris turned the links into 18 holes all the way back in 1890, and renowned architects Harry VardonHarry ColtDonald Steel, and most recently, Martin Ebert, have all stamped their mark on the truly magical Royal County Down since.

With views of the Mountains of Mourne, the sea, the town, towering dunes and flowering gorse, there is hardly a more beautiful place to play golf anywhere in the world.

Video: Digital Editor Neil Tappin, Editor Mike Harris and Senior Panellists Rob Smith and Jezz Ellwood discuss the top 10 courses in the new Top 100 rankings...

"It's a fantastic place to play golf, it's probably the most magical setting of all the old links with the mountains in the background and the sea on your right as you head out," Top 100 Senior Panellist Jeremy Ellwood said.

"They've put a few new tees in, a little bit of bunker work, they've taken a ridge down that has allowed a bit more visibility on the 2nd hole and perhaps critical for many they have taken the pond out that was on the 17th fairway, which many people found a little bit incongruous for an old traditional links.

"It's just a fantastic place to play golf. Twice you're playing back towards the town and those recognisable buildings on the skyline and the mountains beyond.

"It's got everything really."

Royal County Down Golf Club

The green on the excellent par-3 4th (Photo: Getty Images)

"It's the setting more than anything. The Mountains of Mourne and the sea. It's just the most sublime setting," Top 100 Senior Panellist Rob Smith said.

"It's impossible to take a bad photograph, it just a beautiful looking place and I would recommend it to anybody."

Royal County Down Golf Club

The stirring backdrop of the Mourne Mountains (Photo: Getty Images)

"It's a difficult golf course for sure," Golf Monthly Editor Mike Harris added. "As Rob said, the views are incredible whichever way you look and wherever you stand there are some amazing vantage points."

"But equally some of the holes that play in and out of the dunes where you play away from the Mountains of Mourne are great. There's a lot of variety there, always in fantastic condition and a really, really warm welcome.

"They've got a great set-up there for visitors, you are welcomed with open arms."

The full 2020/21 Golf Monthly UK and Ireland Top 100 rankings can be viewed in the brand new May issue of Golf Monthly magazine, on sale now

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV