History

Royal Portrush Golf Club has been hosting the game’s great champions and championships since 1888. A major driving force behind the growth of golf in Ireland, Portrush was the location for Ireland’s first amateur and professional tournaments. It has also welcomed three Amateur Championships, nine British Ladies’ Amateur Championships, six Senior British Opens, four Irish Opens and the only two occasions The Open Championship has ever been staged outside Great Britain. Harry Vardon, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods are just some of the legendary figures whose footsteps you follow on a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club.

1888FOUNDING FATHERS

Scots George L. Baillie and Thomas Gilroy are instrumental in the formation of the County Golf Club. The first tournament is played over a nine-hole course.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1888 Founding Fathers
1889Old Tom Morris

Legendary four-times Open champion Old Tom Morris plays an exhibition match and advises on a new 18-hole layout.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - Old Tom Morris
1891The PIONEERS

County Golf Club members are influential in the formation of the Golfing Union of Ireland (the first of its kind in the world) at the Northern Counties Hotel, Portrush. A Ladies’ and Juveniles Branch is established and in 1893 Portrush becomes only the third member of the Ladies Golfing Union. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1891 The Pioneers
1892BREAKING NEW GROUND

Ten English players and three Scots are amongst 32 competitors as Portrush stages the first national golf tournament in Ireland. Alexander Stuart from the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is the inaugural Irish Amateur Open champion 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1892 Breaking New Ground
1892 - 1895BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT

Renamed the Royal County Club and H.R.H. The Duke of York becomes patron. Three years later in 1895 the name is changed to Royal Portrush Golf Club and patronage passes to HRH The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1892-1895 Breaking New Ground
1895GREAT SCOTT

Lady Margaret Scott wins the British Ladies’ Amateur Championship and Sandy Herd beats Harry Vardon in Ireland’s first professional tournament.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1895 Great Scott
1903LEADING LADIES

Rhona Adair secures her second British Ladies’ Amateur title. Rhona and May Hezlet, both Royal Portrush members, were the dominant force in the women’s game for almost a decade.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1903 Leading Ladies
1929ON COURSE FOR CHANGE

On the advice of Sir Anthony Babington, Royal Portrush enlist the services of celebrated golf course architect Harry Colt. Involved in the design of over 300 courses during a prolific career, Colt was charged with creating a championship course to challenge the best in the game 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1929 On Course For Change
1933GREEN FOR GO

Sir Percy Greenaway, Lord Mayor of London, officially opens the Harry Colt designed Dunluce Links, now considered by many to be the acclaimed architect’s finest work.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1933 Green For Go
1947LOCAL HERO

Portrush man Fred Daly becomes the first Irish golfer to win a Major with victory in the Open Championship at Hoylake. A week later at Royal Portrush, Daly loses out to Harry Bradshaw in the Irish Open. The North of Ireland Amateur Championship, to be played annually at Royal Portrush, is inaugurated.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1947 Local Hero
1951JOINING THE MAJOR LEAGUE

Royal Portrush Golf Club makes history as it welcomes The Open Championship, the first time golf’s oldest Major has been played outside Great Britain since its inception in 1860. Max Faulkner gets the better of defending champion Bobby Locke and a strong field to become Open champion. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1951 Joining The Major League
1956INSPIRATIONAL

Zara Bolton, later President of the Royal Portrush Golf Club’s Ladies’ Branch, Captains the GB&I team to only its second Curtis Cup victory against the USA.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1956 Inspirational
1960CARR CLINCHES ‘AMATEUR’ HAT-TRICK

Legendary Irish golfer Joe Carr wins The Amateur Championship for a third time on its first visit to Portrush.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1960 Carr Clinches 'Amateur' Hat Trick
197015 FOR ‘PHIL’

Philomena Garvey wins the last of her record 15 victories in the Irish Women’s Amateur Close Championships. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1970 15 for 'Phil'
1980DOUBLE DELIGHT

Maureen Madill, the 1979 Ladies’ British Open Amateur champion, joins Royal Portrush clubmate Claire Nesbitt in the GB&I Curtis Cup team.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1980 Double Delight
1993OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Royal Portrush welcomes back The Amateur Championship, a significant step forward for club and country after decades of civil conflict. 1985 ‘Amateur’ champion and long-standing Royal Portrush member Garth McGimpsey wins a record fifth North of Ireland.

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1993 Out Of The Shadows
1995-1999 & 2004SENIOR STATUS

Royal Portrush Golf Club’s global profile soars as the Dunluce Links is the setting for six Senior British Opens. Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Bob Charles, Hale Irwin and Tom Kite are just some of famous over-50’s who walked the fairways. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 1995-1999 & 2004 Senior Status
2005RORY’S RECORD

Sixteen-year-old Rory McIlroy shoots a course record 61 in the North of Ireland Amateur Championship. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2005 Rory's Record
2010GMAC IS A MAJOR PLAYER

Graeme McDowell wins the US Open at Pebble Beach, emulating fellow Portrush man Fred Daly, Ireland’s first Major winner. GMAC’s victory is the first by a European golfer at the US Open for 40-years. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2010 Gmac Is A Major Player
2011CHAMPION GOLFER OF THE YEAR, DARREN CLARKE

Royal Portrush Golf Club member Darren Clarke joins the Major club at the age of 42 with victory in The Open Championship at Royal St George’s. The record 9th staging of the British Ladies Amateur Championship sees 16-year-old Lauren Taylor succeed Royal Portrush’s May Hezlet as the youngest winner. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2011 Champion Golfer Of The Year, Darren Clarke
2012A EUROPEAN TOUR DE FORCE

Royal Portrush takes a major step towards the return of The Open by hosting a highly-successful, sell-out Irish Open won by Welshman Jamie Donaldson. Portrush man Alan Dunbar wins The Amateur Championship and just two weeks later Royal Portrush member Stephanie Meadow, who had holed the winning putt for GB&I in the Curtis Cup, is crowned Ladies’ British Amateur champion. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2012 A European Tour De Force
2014BRADLEY BEATS THE BEST

Bradley Neil beats a top class field that includes future World No1 John Rahm to win The Amateur Championship.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2014 Bradley Beats The Best
2016CROWNING MOMENT

HRH Queen Elizabeth II attends a civic reception in the Royal Portrush clubhouse, Her Majesty’s first official visit to any golf club.  

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2016 Crowning Moment
2018DRESS REHEARSAL

The R&A Boys Amateur Championship is played in Ireland for the first time. With the scheduled return of The Open in 2019, the tournament provides a perfect testing ground for changes to the Dunluce Links, including two new holes.  

2018 Boys' Amateur champion Conor Gough
2019IRISH EYES ARE SMILING

The 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush proves to be one of most memorable. In front of 237,750 spectators, second only to the attendance at the Centenary Open at St Andrews, Irishman Shane Lowry proves it was worth the wait with an emphatic and emotion-charged win.

148th Open Championship winner Shane Lowry
2021WELCOME BACK

The R&A confirms that Royal Portrush will host the 153rd Open Championship in the summer of 2025. 

Royal Portrush Golf Club - History - 2021 Welcome Back