Royal Belfast golf club Down
Royal Belfast Golf Course
There may be some dispute as to where golf was first played in Ireland but there can be no question as to which was the first Golf Club on this island. The Royal Belfast was founded on the 9th November 1881 on 80-acres of land at Kinnegar, Hollywood. It quickly assumed the " Royal" prefix when the Prince of Wales visited Ireland in 1886 and was invited to become patron of the club. The current patron is the Duke of Edinburgh.
The club moved to a site at Carnalea, at Bangor before making its final move to Craigavad House and Demesne in 1925. Once the stately home of the Rt. Hon. J. C. White once the Lord Mayor of Belfast.
Here Harry Colt grasped the full potential of the Victorian site, using the serene setting of mature trees and colourful foliage. The course falls gently towards the scenic southern shore of Belfast Lough and the locals will tell you "the greens fall towards the sea".
Measuring 6,306 yards Par-70 with a standard scratch of 71 off the blue tees, the course requires accuracy rather than length and has been described as "Devious rather than difficult". The first is one of the best starting holes in the country, measuring 415 yards Index 7 with a slight dogleg left. Followed by 408 yard Index 3 is the most attractive hole on the course. The 18th is a testing 510 yards Par-5 where only the very good golfer can aspire to make birdie.
The Victorian Clubhouse caters for the golfers every need and other facilities at the club include squash and tennis. The visitor is extended a warm welcome at The Royal Belfast Golf Club.
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 58-ranked golf course in Ireland, by “Irish Golfer” in 2022;
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 56-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2020 (Up-3);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 59-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2019 (Down-3);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 56-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2018 (Same);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 56-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2017 (Up-3);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 59-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2016 (Up-1);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 60-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2015 (Up-1);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 61-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2014 (Up-2);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 63-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2013 (Up-9);
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 72-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2012;
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 73-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2010;
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 71-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2009;
Royal Belfast was voted the No. 76-ranked golf course in Ireland, by "Golf Digest Ireland" in 2008;
|Green Fees April to November:||£50|
|Green November to March:||£85|
|Green Fees with a Member:||£20|
|Green Fees for Opens:||£15/25|
|Club Hire: £30
|Buggy Hire: £40
|Designer||Harry S. Colt|
|Website||Royal Belfast golf club website|
|Presidents':||Ronald McMillan & Phyllis Ditty|
|Hon. Secretary:||John G. Wilson & Liz Andress
|Club Pro:||Andrew Ferguson 028-90-428586|
|Hon. Treasurer:||Alan Andrews & Jillian Haldane
|Comp. Secretary:||Stevan Minford & Barbara McMinnis
General Facts & Information
|Course opening hours: Daylight hours||Clubhouse opening hours: 8.30am to 1.00pm 8.30am to 7.00pm Sun|
|Mobile phones: Not on course
||Dress Code: Neat and casual, no denim|
|Catering: Full catering, facilities||Days to Avoid: Wednesday & Saturday before 4.30pm|
|Green Fees and Societies Welcome: Other times||Pre-booking for open Tournaments:14 Days in advance|
Royal Belfast Golf Club Fixtures 2023 provisional*
|Open & Major Fixtures 2022 (to be Confirmed)|
|Captain's Prize||Saturday 6 June||Closed||1|
|Lady Captain's Prize||Wednesday 17 June||Closed||1|
|Singles Stableford||Friday 25 March||Open||1|
|Singles Stableford||Monday 18 April||Open||1|
|Ladies 3-Person Team Event
||Monday 13 June||Open||1|
|Singles Stableford||Friday 15 July||Open||1|
|Ulster Max Hadden TrophyMen's & Women's Club Captains||Friday 29 July||G. I.||1|
|Ladies 3-Person Scramble
||Monday 5 September||Open||1|
|Seniors Singles Stableford 55+
||Tuesday 20 September
|Seniors Singles Stableford 55+
||Tuesday 25 October||Open||1|
|Seniors Singles Stableford 55+
||Tuesday 22 November
Card of the Course
|White||Par 70 SSS 70 6,185 yd's|
|Red||Par 72 SSS 72 5,566 yd's|
|Green||Par 70 SSS 69 5,961 yd's|
|Blue||Par 70 SSS 71 6,306 yd's|
Men's Course Record Am: 65 R. A. D. McMillan
Ladies Course Record:
The Boys of Royal Belfast Golf Club won the All-Ireland Boys Foursomes at Ballina Golf Club on 24th August 2022.
They beat Ballybunion Golf Club by 2-matches to nil in the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals on Tuesday 23rd and met Stackstown Golf Club in the All-Ireland Semi-Final the following morning, in the afternoon they met Castlebar Golf Club in the All-Ireland Decider.
First on the tee was Max Carson with Ben Woods who won by 5-holes against Owen Kelly with Conor Stapleton and the bottom match of Archie McMinnis with Louis Napier against Aaron Quigley with Ben Doherty went 3-holes up to the Mayo club. It has been some time since the Royal Belfast Golf Club won a green pennant and it was great to see this group of young men win.
The Ladies of Royal Belfast Golf Club won the Ulster Final of the Irish Ladies Minor Cup when they beat the Ladies of Newtowanstewart Golf Club by 4-matches to 1-match at B allycastle Golf Club on Sunday 1st September 2019.
They were led out by Mary Frances Gibson who beat Valerie Vaughan by 2-holes, she was followed by Rosemary Creed who had a similar result in her match against Oonagh Haran, next on the tee was Hilary Ellis who lost her match against Carmel Loughlin by 4 and 2, in the penultimate match Hilary Warnock had a comfortable 4 and 3 win against Heather Allen and in the bottom match Anne McCandless beat Christina McNamee by 3 and 2.
The Ladies of Royal Belfast Golf Club won the Ulster Final of the Junior Cup in the ILGU Inter-club Championship when they beat Malone Golf Club by 3 matches to 2 matches on Wednesday 25th August 2010.
First on the tee was Janet Wilson who lost her match against Ann Brown by 4 and 2, she was followed by Charmain Gifford who won her match against Rachel Scott by 1-hole, next up was Patricia Boyd who lost her match to Carol Mitchell by 3 and 1, the penultimate match of Terry Wells went all the way to the 19thbefore Terry clinched the vital point against Heather Jackson, the bottom match of Gillian Haldane against Heather Cameron was another close encounter with the Royal Belfast player gaining a 1-hole win.
They made their way to Donabate Golf Club to compete in the National deciders where they met Connacht Champions Tuam Golf Club in the All-Ireland semi-final on Friday 24th September and won their match by 3½-matches to 1½-matches. Janet Wilson (10) led the way again against Anneta O'Neill (12) and won her match by 3 and 2, she was followed by Charmain Gifford (10) who had a comfortable 5 and 3 win over Susan McGann-O'Brien (12), next up was Patricia Boyd (12) who won her match by 1-hole against Marian Mulryan (15), the penultimate match of Terry Wells (14) was lost by 3 and 2 against Jacqui McGrath (16), the bottom match of Gillian Haldane (16) was halved against Joan Tighe (17). The met Mid-Leinster Champions Enniscorthy Golf Club in the All-Ireland Final the following day they were led again by Janet Wilson (10), who won her match against Margaret Mooney (9) by 4 and 3, she was followed by Charmain Gifford (10) who won her match on the 19th-hole against Triona Hogan (10), next up was Patricia Boyd (12) who lost by 6 and 4 against Connie Doyle (10), the penultimate match of Terry Wells (14) who lost her match against Stellah Sinnott (12) by 1-up, the bottom match of Gillian Haldane (16) was lost by 6 and 5 against Cora Mernagh (13)
The Ladies of Royal Belfast Golf Club won the inaugural Ulster Final of the AA-Insurance Junior Cup in 2006 they made the journey to Headfort Golf Club to compete in the National deciders;
The Royal Belfast won the All-Ireland Barton Shield on their home course in 1952.
Members who played representative golf for Country or Province;
J. Henderson* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1923. He represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1900 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;
J. F. Madeley played in the Walker Cup at Turnberry in 1963. He represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1959 to 1966 playing 42-times won 26-matches halved one and lost 15-matches accumulating 53-points. He represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1959 to 19687 playing 47-times won 39-matches halved four and lost 14-matches accumulating 62-points;
R. K. Pollin represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1971 to 1973 playing 9-times won 1-match halved one and lost 7-match accumulating 3-points. He represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1967 to 1976 playing 46-times won 21-matches halved six and lost 19-matches accumulating 48-points. He represented Ulster as a Youth in the Interprovincial Championships in 1967;
H. E. Reade* represented Ireland as a Senior International from 1900 to 1913. He represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1906 playing 9-times won 7-matches and lost 2-matches accumulating 7-points;
P. E. Reade* represented Ireland as a Senior International in 1902;
D. Kyle represented Ireland at Irish Boys level in 1989 playing 3-times won 0-matches and lost 3-matches accumulating 0-points;
W. P. Boas represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 18971to 1898 playing 1-times won 0-matches halved one and lost 1-match accumulating ½ -point;
M. Charley represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1896 playing 1-times won 1-match and lost 1-match accumulating 1-point;
G. S. Clarke represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1905 playing 8-times won 3-matches halved two and lost 3-matches accumulating 4-points;
F. F. Figgis represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1905 playing 7-times won 3-matches and lost 4-matches accumulating 3-points;
W. L. Livingston represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1897 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;
B. O’Brien represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1898 to 1906 playing 5-times won 2-matches halved two and lost 1-match accumulating 3-points;
J. S. Reade represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1902 playing 6-times won 4-matches and lost 2-matches accumulating 4-points;
G. M. Shaw represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1906 playing 5-times won 2-matches and lost 3-matches accumulating 2-points;
H. Shaw represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s from 1896 to 1899 playing 4-times won 2-matches and lost 2-matches accumulating 2-points;
S. R. Sinclair* represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1939;
W. Wilson represented Ulster in the Senior Interprovincial’s in 1897 playing 1-time won 0-matches and lost 1-match accumulating 0-points;
C. Hughes represented Ulster as a Youth in the Interprovincial Championships from 2005 to 2006 playing 9-times won 2-matches halved one and lost 6-matches accumulating 5-points;
History of Royal Belfast
Instituted 1881 affiliated 1891
The Royal Belfast has the honour of being the oldest existing golf club in Ireland. It is also the first club to receive permission to use the prefix Royal, the President of the club in 1885 Captain Harrison, received it from the Prince of Wales when he became patron of the club on a visit to Belfast that year. It was also the first club to have a ladies club. It together with eight other clubs. It was a co-founder of the GUI on 13th November 1891, the oldest golfing union in the world. The ladies club was a major force in the foundation of the ILGU in 1894 and Miss Clara Mulligan was the first Secretary of the ILGU.
The first meeting of the club took place in November 1881, in the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, with Mayor Edward Porter-Cowen in the chair. A site at Kinnegar, Holywood, was selected however, this was also a military training area and a rifle range. In 1892, the club moved to Carnalea, it was a nine-hole course with 200 resident members and 100-non resident. The club enjoyed its golf at Carnalea for thirty-three years. In 1925, it was decided to purchase 140 acres estate and house at Craigavon, owned by the Rt. Hon. J.C. White, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, at a cost of £11,500. H. J. Colt, the internationally renowned course architect, was retained to design the course, which opened for play in May 1927.
The Royal Belfast has had many famous members, but none more so than Mr. G. L. Baillie who was one of the pioneers of golf in Ireland in its early development.
What the Club tells us:
The Early Years
In the Summer of 1881, Thomas Sinclair spent a holiday in Scotland, which included a visit to St. Andrews to play golf. He was immediately smitten and his return home he sought out George L Baillie, a local teacher and an experienced golfer, originally from Musselburgh in Scotland.
Together they approached Captain John Harrison, the Laird of Holywood, who generously gave permission for a golf course to be laid out free of rent on his land at Kinnegar, Holywood. These frontiersmen of golf wasted no time and the first 18-hole competition took place over the new 6-hole course on Boxing Day 1881.
Becoming A Royal Club
In 1885 the Club became “Royal” after the Prince of Wales (Subsequently King Edward VII) was invited to become its Patron during a visit to Ireland. The current Patron is HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
What are believed to be the first golfing trophies in Ireland, early Royal Belfast Golf Club monthly medals, are today on view in the clubhouse.
In 1892, as the game grew in popularity, the course became overcrowded and the Club relocated to a new 9-hole course in Carnalea, near Bangor. Club life was peaceful and prosperous and the fine Club spirit which prevailed has endured to the present day.
After World War 1, the Club moved to Craigavad House and its beautiful 140-acre estate, on the shores of Belfast Lough near Holywood, a home originally built in 1852 by Mr John Mulholland, who was later to become the 1st Lord Dunleath. In 1925 Council made the wise decision to appoint the eminent course architect of the day H S Colt to take full responsibility for the design and layout of the course. He produced a course of great charm which remains much the same today as it was then, a tribute to the enduring excellence of its original design. The new course opened in September 1926 and over the years has played host to a number of Championship events.
In recent years the Club’s facilities have been extended but continue to retain their early charm and we are proud to have among our Members Mr Rory McIlroy who is often observed enjoying the challenges of our golf course.
Whatever the future holds one thing seems certain, for as long as it remains a golf club Royal Belfast will have its home at Craigavad, an environment that is so natural and fitting that the Members would have it no other way.
Roll of Honour
|Mrs. R. Sherrard||1989||Ladies Captain|
|J. R. McSpadden||1989||Mens Captain|
|Lady Campbell||1990||Ladies Captain|
|R. K. M. Pollin||1990||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. M. Donaghy||1991||Ladies Captain|
|S. M. Taylor||1991||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. J. Hunter||1992||Ladies Captain|
|R. S. Adamson||1992||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. J. L. Taylor||1993||Ladies Captain|
|J. V. McDowell||1993||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. A. P. Belford||1994||Ladies Captain|
|D. S. Boyd||1994||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. S. F. Stafford||1995||Ladies Captain|
|R. M. Megran||1995||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. N. L. Dunbar||1996||Ladies Captain|
|J. H. Finlay||1996||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. M. A. Ross||1997||Ladies Captain|
|A. S. Ditty||1997||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. M. C. Taylor||1998||Ladies Captain|
|J. R. B. Kane||1998||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. D. Hall||1999||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs MacDermott||1999||Ladies President|
|J. G. Wilson||1999||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. E. Haldane||2000||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs MacDermott||2000||Ladies President|
|R. Connolly||2000||Mens Captain|
|Mrs. D. Adamson||2001||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs. G. B. Wheeler||2001||Ladies President|
|A. J. Gibson||2001||Mens Captain|
|Mr. D. Moreland||2001||President|
|Mrs. H. Webb||2002||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs. G. B. Wheeler||2002||Ladies President|
|W. B. Leckey||2002||Mens Captain|
|Mr. D. Moreland||2002||President|
|Mrs. H. P. Stout||2003||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs. G. B. Wheeler||2003||Ladies President|
|T. A. Burgess||2003||Mens Captain|
|Mr. D. Moreland||2003||President|
|P. H. Ditty||2004||Ladies Captain|
|Mrs. G. B. Wheeler||2004||Ladies President|
|J. M. Graham||2004||Mens Captain|
|Phyllis Park||2005||Ladies Captain|
|Ruth Hunter||2005||Ladies President|
|Tom B. Rankin||2005||Mens Captain|
|Audrey MacAfee||2006||Ladies Captain|
|Ruth Hunter||2006||Ladies President|
|Michael Park||2006||Mens Captain|
|Ester McKee||2007||Ladies Captain|
|Ruth Hunter||2007||Ladies President|
|Peter Copeland||2007||Mens Captain|
|T. Crothers||2008||Ladies Captain|
|Ruth Hunter||2008||Ladies President|
|M. J. Gibson||2008||Mens Captain|
|K. W. Wheeler||2008||President|
|Janet Wilson||2009||Ladies Captain|
|N. Dunbar||2009||Ladies President|
|J. G. Crothers||2009||Mens Captain|
|K. W. Wheeler||2009||President|
|Grace Taggart||2010||Ladies Captain|
|N. Dunbar||2010||Ladies President|
|A. J. Wright||2010||Mens Captain|
|K. W. Wheeler||2010||President|
|Mary Moore||2011||Ladies Captain|
|N. Dunbar||2011||Ladies President|
|Stan Craigs||2011||Mens Captain|
|K. W. Wheeler||2011||President|
|Janet Walmsley||2012||Ladies Captain|
|N. Dunbar||2012||Ladies President|
|F. D. Best||2012||Mens Captain|
|K. W. Wheeler||2012||President|
|P. G. Kearney
|Sharon Graham||2014||Ladies Captain|
|Phyllis Ditty||2014||Ladies President|
|P. S. Moore||2014||Mens Captain|
|Hilary Warnock||2015||Ladies Captain|
|Phyllis Ditty||2015||Ladies President|
|M. D. Crone||2015||Mens Captain|
|Phyllis Ditty||2016||Ladies President|
|Jillian Hool||2017||Ladies Captain|
|Norman Beggs||2017||Mens Captain|
|Phyllis Ditty||2018||Ladies President|
|Alex Barnes (5)||2022||Lowest Ladies H'cap|
|Marilyn Henderson (6)||2022||Lowest Ladies H'cap|
|S. McCaw (1.9)||2022||Lowest Men's H'cap|
|R. McDowell||2022||Lowest Men's H'cap|
Holes in One at Royal Belfast
|Member||Date||Hole No.||Club Used||Distance|
|Elaine Laing||18 October 2011