Royal Dublin Golf Club
Designers: H. S. Colt
Like so many courses in Ireland and around the world, Royal Dublin was founded by a group of expatriate Scotsmen. The Club began play on Ireland’s first, but exceedingly modest 18 holes that were laid out in Phoenix Park in 1885. Poor playing conditions led the club to move in 1888 to its present location on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. The original course was the design of two Club members and was used until the course was closed in 1914 so that the land could be devoted to the war effort. It was not reopened until 1921 following a complete redesign by H. S. Colt.
Royal Dublin is universally known for three distinctions: its land, its greens and its professional. The course owes its very existence to Capt. William Bligh of HMS Bounty fame as the land on which it rests results from deposits of sediment created by Bligh’s change in Dublin harbour breakwaters when he was a naval engineer. The greens are among the largest in Ireland and immaculately conditioned. If a truer putting surface exists, I have not had the pleasure of playing it. The former professional is the legendary Irish golfer, Christy O’Connor.
The course is a traditional yet somewhat primitive links. The best-known holes are 15, 16 and 18. The 15th and 16th have the course’s largest concentration of bunkering, some 19 in total. The 18th is a dogleg right with out of bounds on the right. It plays as a 5 par to mere mortals but a 4 par in championship play. Should one dare to fly the dogleg, one rewarded with a not too difficult shot to reach the green in two. A sporting but somewhat ordinary course on the whole, I should say. Colt did better work.
Major Basil Haversham, OBE
Your guide to the greatest golf holidays in Ireland
Independent travellers: Take the Clontarf Road north from Dublin harbour and look for a single lane bridge to the east with a distinctive red-roofed, white clubhouse on the other side. Report to the professional’s shop. Changing rooms are on the ground floor as is a snack bar with O’Connor’s Ryder Cup memorabilia. There is a cozy bar on the upper floor.