Kirkistown Castle

GF: £25 STATS: par 69, sss 70, 6,142 yards
T: 028 4277 1004 W: linksgolfkirkistown.com

Founded in 1903, Kirkistown Castle began life as a nine-hole course. It was extended to 18 in 1929 by the long-standing greenkeeper Frank Polley. In 1934, James Braid travelled to Kirkistown Castle and advised on altering the position and shaping of the bunkers. The course is constructed on open ground and, thus, it’s affected greatly by the wind. With tight lies, gorse and elevated greens, this is a good test of links golf.

Clandeboye

GF: £32 Dufferin Course; £26 Ava Course
STATS: Dufferin – par 71, sss 71, 6,559 yards;
Ava – par 70, sss 68, 5,755 yards
T: 028 9127 1767 W: cgc-ni.com

Offering two quality courses, Clandeboye Golf Club is located just off the A21 between Bangor & Newtownards. The Dufferin is a testing heathland course protected by brackens and gorse. The Ava may be shorter but is still a tricky prospect. Played through woodland, it’s tight and demands skilful and accurate play. With both layouts to explore, this is an ideal venue for a day’s golf.

Royal Portrush Valley

GF: £35 STATS: par 70, sss 71, 6,304 yards
T: 028 7082 3335 W: royalportrushgolfclub.com

Often overlooked because of the quality of the Dunluce course at Portrush, the Valley is an excellent layout in its own right. Designed by Harry Colt, it presents a fine test of links golf played between the sand hills along the Atlantic shore and the higher ground where the Dunluce is set. Watch out for the 6th hole here – at 237 yards it’s a monster of a par 3 made even tougher by the fact it plays slightly uphill.