Golf Gold

Trip of My Lifetime: Northern Ireland (Belfast region)

The Top 100 Courses in the U.S. and World for 2015
Travelin' Joe Passov introduces the 2015 edition of the Top 100 Courses in the World, including a look at newcomers to the list, courses to keep an eye on, the best golf hotspots, and the No. 1 course. 

For a new GOLD series called “Trip of My Lifetime,” we asked our trusted and well-traveled GOLD Insiders to tell us about their greatest-ever golf trips. Their journeys—from Hawaii to North Carolina to southwest Scotland—won’t only make you jealous, they might also inspire you to start packing your bags. Our first entry takes us to the rumpled, golf-blessed land of Northern Ireland…

The best four-day trip I’ve ever taken, hands down, was to the area around Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is an aggressive itinerary and you will be exhausted, but it’s well worth it. Depart on a Wednesday night and you’ll only need two vacation days to cover off some of the best golf on the planet. Here is your itinerary for the next four days:

DAY 1: Arrive Belfast Thursday morning and drive straight to Newcastle and play Royal County Down, a.k.a. my favorite course on earth. Eat lunch after 18 and play RCD again in the afternoon. Walk from the 18th green directly to the back entrance of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa and spend Thursday night there.

Photo:

DAY 2: Wake up Friday, have breakfast and play RCD again.  Drive to Bushmills and spend Friday night at the Bushmills Inn. 

Photo:

The Bushmills Inn.

DAY 3: Wake up Saturday and play Portstewart in the morning. I love the front nine there—it's as good as you'll find in Ireland. Grab a quick but hearty bite to eat, because in the afternoon you're playing Royal Portrush, the only course outside of Great Britain to host the Open Championship. When you get to the daunting 14th hole, Calamity— a par-3 with a gaping carry—take a deep breath and hope you hit the green. Finish up your round and enjoy a nice dinner at the cozy Bushmills Inn.

Photo:

Francesco Molinari of Italy tees off on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2012 Irish Open held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on June 28, 2012 in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

DAY 4: Wake up Sunday and fly home. If you live in the greater New York area, you’ll be back in time for lunch. Return to work on Monday morning and proceed to think about three incredible courses and the taste of Guinness and Black Bush Irish whiskey. That is a golf trip done in style and in less than 96 hours.

If you’d like share your own trip of a lifetime, please drop us a line at golfgoldinsiders@golf.com and we might publish your tale on Golf.com. If you’d like to join our growing network of GOLD Insiders, click here.

More From the Web