Portrush was once a small fishing village which later became a busy seaside holiday resort before Royal Portrush Golf Club emerged as an international golf destination.
It is a club with a long and distinguished tradition with world class links which are set in spectacular rolling sand dunes with breath taking coastal views.
Royal Portrush is a golfing venue like no other.
– Max Faulkner playing in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 1951 –
Royal Portrush History Timeline
1888 – Club formed in May 1888, originally known as The County Club and was only a nine hole course
1889 – Extended to a eighteen hole course
1892 – Renamed as The Royal County Club, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron
1892 – Irish Open Amateur Championship inaugurated at Royal Portrush
1895 – Finally named as The Royal Portrush Golf Club , with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron.
1895 – Royal Portrush was the first links outside of England to house the British Ladies’ Championship, which was won by Lady Margaret Scott and has been played here another seven times since
1907 – Irish Professional Championship inaugurated at Royal Portrush
1929 – Harry Colt lays out plans for the Dunluce links
1930, 1937, 1947 – Royal Portrush plays host to The Irish Open.
1951 – ‘The Open Championship’ is played at Royal Portrush, the first club outside of the mainland UK to have hosted the tournament. Max Faulkner wins with a total of 285. (http://www.maxfaulkner.net)
1993 – Iain Pyman wins “The Amateur Championship”.
1995-1999, 2004 – The Senior British Open takes place featuring some of golf’s greats, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
2010 – Palmer Cup
2011 – Lauren Taylor wins the Ladies’ British Open Amateur
2012 – Royal Portrush hosts the Irish Open.
2014 – Bradley Neil wins The Amateur Championship
2015 – Ireland win the Home Internationals
2018 – Conor Gough wins The Boys Amateur Championship
History in Brief
Royal Portrush has staged national and international amateur championships for more than 100 years, and over 50 have been decided on the famous Dunluce Links.
The first, the inaugural Irish Open Amateur was held in 1892, and the list includes three Amateur men’s championships.
The club has a rich, powerful and fascinating history which embraces all aspects of the amateur game. It is centrally involved in the development of ladies golf in Britain and Ireland, and also hosts the annual North of Ireland Men’s Championship run by the Golfing Union of Ireland.
The first professional tournament ever held in Ireland was organised by the club in September 1895 when it’s first professional, Alex ‘Sandy’ Herd, a Scot, defeated the then comparatively unknown Harry Vardon in match play.
Even though he was based at Balmoral, south Belfast when he won the Open at Royal Liverpool in 1947, Fred Daly always regarded Royal Portrush as his spiritual home.
He finished fourth when the championship was first played here in 1951, the year Max Faulkner triumphed.
Daly was the first Irishman to win a Major, and although there was a gap of 60 years before the next succeeded, others with strong Portrush connections quickly followed.
Graeme McDowell, Portrush born, won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, and a year later Darren Clarke presented his Royal St Georges Open Championship medal to Royal Portrush, the club he adopted as his home club.
Rory McIlroy, shot a course record of 61 on Dunluce when he was just aged 16 as a signal of his intentions, before going on to twice win the US PGA (2012, Kiawah Island and 2014 at Valhalla,) the US Open (2011 at Congressional), and the Open (2014, Royal Liverpool).
Many believe it was this astonishing run of victories in the aftermath of Padraig Harrington’s two triumphs at the Open (2007 at Carnoustie and 2008 at Royal Birkdale) and his victory at the US PGA (2008 at Oakland Hills) as well as the hugely successful staging of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in 2012 which had a huge impact in persuading the R & A to bring their championship back to the North Coast for the first time in 68 years.
McIlroy first met Clarke on the Dunluce Links on the day he celebrated his 10th birthday.
Years later he declared: ‘There is something about this place which is very special. It holds great memories for me. When you grow up so close to great courses like this you take them for granted.
‘Then you play all over the world and comeback and realise just how good it is.’
McDowell, Clarke, McIlroy and Harrington are honorary members of Royal Portrush.
History in Detail
If Portrush owes the best part of its renown to golf, which has converted an erstwhile fishing village into a world-famous holiday resort, it is no less true to say that golf, and especially ladies’ golf, owes a considerable debt to Portrush.
It was here that the Irish Open Amateur Championship was inaugurated in 1892, and the Irish Professional Championship in 1907. Portrush, in 1895, was the first links outside of England to house the British Ladies’ Championship, which was won by Lady Margaret Scott. The Championship was played here for the eighth time in 1995, and was won by Julie Hall from Felixstowe Ferry GC.
Altogether more than fifty national championships, British and Irish, have been decided here. The first professional tournament ever held in Ireland was run by the club in 1895. It was decided by match play, and the famous Sandy’ Herd, who was the Club’s first professional, was the winner; his opponent in the final was Harry Vardon, who was then a comparative unknown player, just coming up to the form that was to win him his first Open Championship in the following year. In July, Royal Portrush had the distinction of being the first Irish course to host The Open Championship, the winner being Max Faulkner with a score of 285 for the four rounds.
When the club was formed in May 1888, it was known as The County Club. It became The Royal County Club in 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron, and ‘The Royal Portrush Golf Club’ three years later, with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron.
The links have undergone many alterations in the course of its existence. The nine-hole course of 1888 was extended to eighteen holes the following year, and at that time, eight of these holes were laid out on the landward side of the Causeway road. Gradually, however, the course was moved further and further into the sand hills, until the famous architect, Harry Colt, laid out his own plans for the Dunluce links in 1929. The unfortunate loss of land comprising the first and eighteenth holes of this layout led to the creation of the present eight and ninth holes under the guidance of P.G. Stevenson and Sir Anthony Babington in 1946.
There have been may famous golfers who have played at the Royal Portrush Club at one stage or another: Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke and Larry Mize to name a few. With Phil Mickelson and Mark Calcavecchia playing in 2002 and Davis Love III and Jim Furyk enjoying a game in 2003. Other major winners who have visited Royal Portrush include Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Steve Jones, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.