Fast-flowing rivers, the steepest wooded hills, manicured greens and an ancient ruined abbey are just a few of the features that are sure to provide a pleasurable test for every golfer. It’s such a unique course it’s hardly surprising that Ballycastle Golf Course is seen as a hidden gem along the north coast.
History of the course
In 1890, twenty-six golfing enthusiasts led by Naval Commander Alfred Malcolm Causton established Ballycastle Golf Club. It was nicknamed the Warren Links due to the large number of rabbit holes that kept appearing in the turf.
Just one year later, Ballycastle collaborated with eight other clubs to become an influential founding member of the Golf Union of Ireland. Ballycastle was a particularly forward-thinking club and encouraged ladies to play there from 1897.
In 1906, the nine-hole course was completely restructured after the purchase of further land enabled the fairways to be lengthened. The course was finally extended to eighteen holes in 1926 and has since remained mostly unchanged. Today the links are regarded as some of the finest in Ireland.
Ballycastle’s hill-top golf course at the end of Glenshesk, one of County Antrim’s famous Nine Glens, is set amongst some of Northern Ireland’s most outstanding natural scenery.
There is the rugged beauty of the Causeway Coast with northerly views across the bay towards the idyllic Rathlin Island with its three lighthouses. Gaze just beyond it on the clearest of days, and it’s possible to catch sight of Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre.
The majestic Donegal Hills lie to the west of Ballycastle while to the south-east are the peaks and valleys of the Antrim Glens.
How to reach Ballycastle
Ballycastle is situated on the northern tip of County Antrim not far from the famous limestone steps of the Giant’s Causeway. From Portrush, it’s a short, twenty-mile journey eastwards along the A2 that takes no more than twenty-five minutes by car.
It’s a similar distance from Coleraine and around five miles less from Ballymoney in the south. The nearest ferry crossing from the UK is at Larne, approximately forty miles to the south on the eastern coast.