ARDGLASS, Northern Ireland – Already one of the most visually stunning golf courses in Northern Ireland, the Ardglass Golf Club is currently adding more touches of class this summer.
All 58 bunkers are being rebuilt into sod-wall stacks that look incredible and add a linksy touch to the scenic cliff-top course overlooking the Irish Sea and the St. John's Lighthouse. The new bunkers on holes two and three are already in play. When the project is complete, probably by early 2019, every one of the 65 bunkers (including seven new ones) will feature the revetted style so popular on links courses. These upgrades will improve the shot values on a course that already plays much tougher than the 6,268 yards on the scorecard suggest.
The first five holes are incredibly dramatic, following the coastline. Golf Advisor named the uphill first among the scariest opening holes in golf. The locals like to joke that “all of Ireland is to the right”, but all your eyes fixate on are the jagged black rocks on the left. The uphill tee shot at the par-3 second hole over a coastal chasm might be even more intimidating. The first four holes of the back nine are equally grand, highlighted by the par-5 11th hole that snakes between the harbor and a wall of gorse and grass.
The day begins and ends at the oldest clubhouse in the world, a unique building fashioned from old castle dating to 1405. More charming than championship, Ardglass always delivers a day to remember. (Read Jason Scott Deegan's review of Ardglass Golf Club)