There are not many golfers who have not heard of the Royal Portrush Golf Club, it is renowned worldwide. This illustrious club is located in an evocative setting in the seaside town of Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland and is one of the oldest clubs in Ireland dating back to 1888. There are two great courses here the Dunluce and Valley course.
The Valley course was also designed by Harry S. Colt and opened three years after the Dunluce. It does not get the recognition it deserves as it is generally overshadowed by the more famous Dunluce course. This 18 hole championship course is a par 70, measuring 6,304 yards from the back tees, so is shorter than the Dunluce.
The Valley is a very fine test of links golf and is situated between the East Strand and the Dunluce golf course in Portrush. As its name implies, the course is positioned between the huge sand hills immediately along the Atlantic shore and the higher ground on which the Championship course is laid out. The course is
- routed over tumbling terrain
- with frequent humps, hollows and undulations,
- it enjoys changes in elevation,
- with the holes cut into the dunes.
It has a more enclosed feel about it, not as exposed as the Dunluce. Owing to the tall sand dunes you will not get any glimpses of the sea. It has some very strong holes, with nice subtle twists that keep you continually challenged, you won’t find a weak hole here. It has a really long par 3 at 246 yards that is especially tough if the wind is a factor.
As you would expect the course is excellently maintained. The greens are immaculate, they are fast and true, the gentle undulating fairways are tight and the outside rugged terrain minimizes the need for bunkers, the gorse bush and native fescues provide the rough and are not to punishing, bunkers are strategically placed around the course.
Although The Valley course is somewhat in the shadow of its neighbour The Dunluce Course, it is still a remarkable course that consistently features highly in the top golf courses in Ireland. Do not expect an easy course, it is fair but no pushover.