Portstewart (Strand), Northern Ireland
Londonderry - Best In County Golf Courses  Londonderry - Best In County Golf Courses Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland British Isles RankingBritish Isles Ranking
Portstewart Golf Club
Strand Road
County Londonderry
BT55 7PG
Northern Ireland
ArchitectDes Giffin
Head Professional/Director of GolfAlan Hunter
Telephone+44 (0) 28 70832015
Location5 miles N of Coleraine
Websites Golf Club Website
VisitorsWelcome weekdays only and pm Sat/Sun
Club Secretary/ ManagerMichael Moss

Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Portstewart (Strand)


New 1st tee on Strand course - photo by Bernard Findlay Dec 2009Portstewart Golf Club was founded way back in 1894, but the origins of golf being played here date back even further to 1889. The Strand course is a bit of a hybrid, a mix of the old and the new. Major development took place in the late 1980s when the layout was updated and seven new holes were constructed in the virgin sand dune range called “Thistly Hollow”. The new Strand course, designed by Des Giffin, opened for play in 1992.

And what an exhilarating golf course this is, set amidst imposing, gigantic sand dunes with panoramic views across the Atlantic mouth of Lough Foyle to the Inishowen peninsula beyond. 

The Strand is an incredibly challenging and thoroughly enjoyable golf course, with one of the best opening nine holes in golf. The 1st hole is an absolute stunner, one of golf’s most intimidating, a downhill 425-yard par four. There is a plethora of great holes here at Portstewart Golf Club; especially memorable are two of the new par threes, the 3rd and the 6th. The 3rd is a challenging single shotter, measuring 207 yards, whilst the 6th, measuring a mere 140 yards with a plateau green, is also a tough cookie and will stay in the mind for a long time.

James W Finegan on the course: “How good is the Strand course at Portstewart? For my money, just one rung below County Down and Portrush and under no circumstances to be missed.” From Where Golf is Great – the finest courses of Scotland and Ireland. One of the best and most comprehensive golf course books we’ve ever read. 
Credit must go to the designer because the new holes blend seamlessly with the old holes. Sometimes, when new land is taken in, there is a punctuation between the old and the new. Not so at the Strand.

A golfing trip to Northern Ireland would not be complete without a round on the Strand course. The members here are very warm and welcoming and if you add this course to a round at both Royal Portrush and Royal County Down, you will have played three of the world’s finest links courses.

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The first 9 holes in Portstewart have nothing to envy to other famous courses such as Royal County Down and Royal Portrush. Among these giant dunes the sense of isolation I experienced was unparalleled except perhaps in Enniscrone. Any of these holes is fantastic and original, but can stand the 2nd, a photogenic par 4 carved into a giant dune, the par-5 4th, the 5th, a par 4 really complicated, or the 6th, a superb par 3. Pity the back nine not follow the same trend, because, otherwise, Portstewart could match its neighbors above mentioned.
03 December 2014 See other reviews from this reviewer
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The Strand first nine are some of the nicest holes I have been lucky to play in my whole life and my luck was such I could play them twice! I was on a business trip with 24 Argentine golfers which started on a Sunday, but as I arrived Friday the chance to play The Strand course on Saturday was big and I went. But it was one of those very rainy days and after 9 holes my Irish partners decided to quit, while if needed to continue this Argentinean Boy Scout was ready!! But as I was going to play it on Monday, I just went to the bar for a hot soup and a burger …

I came back on Monday when thePortstewart (Strand) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer parking was in a sort of revolution as they were filming “Game of Thrones” on the nearby beach. It was full of trucks and the crew was all around the place. Now the day was sunny and breezy, a perfect day to play. We have to start at the Club House, which is modern but elevated above all the place and gives you a full sight of almost all the place and the beach. People in the Club were very warm and the caddies for the group were all members of the Club. They do it for fun and really enjoy sharing the knowledge of the course with visitors.

The front 9 are the nicest piece of land we had in the entire trip, going around inmense dunes with views of the beach, Ocean and in some point on a clear day you can see Ballyliffin on the other side of the Bay. Although the course is playable, any big mistake will be big numbers, no chance of getting safe after a bad shot. Hole #1 is a downhill dog leg to the right par 4 where finding fairway is 90% of the job done. Then #2 from an Portstewart (Strand) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerelevated tee downhill and then and upright second shot and #3 is a long and tough par 3. Holes #4 and #5 are great, tough and nice, before arriving to extremely nice and short par 3 6th where a miss will be a disaster, it is hard to get back to this elevated green. Then reachable par 5 7th gives you a nice birdie chance but do not miss the second shot on any side, although from the right there is some kind of recovery. Then 8th and 9th are two great 4s, where placing the tee shot is the real clue to have a birdie chance.

After a nice beer at the Half Way House, get ready for some different holes, more links style with less level changes and parallel to the River. Par 5 14th is a great one, before the last three 4s finishing where score is not easy. It is a good test, a fun place and a very nice setting, I have to say that it is not at the level of Royal County Down and Royal Portrush but it is a must, you have to come and enjoy it. It hosted The Amateur in 2014 and the R&A will not make the event on a bad course! A big star to Club Authorities, I was treated as a Member both days and everyone there makes you feel at Home. If you are off to Northern Ireland, do not forget to play here.
22 September 2014 See other reviews from this reviewer
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I played Portstewart last week. Course is a good test. Greens were lovely. Some of the holes were a bit strange, but over all an enjoyable day. I would reccommend coming and playing Portstewart if in the area, as you will no doubt have a good day, but be warned - it can be wet in November, so maybe better to wait until summer.
18 November 2013 See other reviews from this reviewer
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After we arrived in Portrush to play the links on the coast of Northern Ireland, Portstewart was the course that all the locals raved about. After playing Castlerock, both courses at Royal Portrush our group ventured to the town of Portstewart to tackle the Strand course and we were not disappointed in any way, shape, or form. This course is a tremendous test of golf. The front nine plays through an awesome set of dunes. The setting is magnificent, but the holes are truly excellent strategic tests in their own right. Our groups thought that the uphill 461 yard 5th was probably the most difficult hole we played on our trip to the Dublin area and Northern Ireland. We had started on the blue tees, and were asked to move up to the whites on #8, and in truth it was a merciful move for our group of 4 low single digit handicap golfers. This is one tough course! The back nine is not as scenic or exciting as the front, but is still an excellent test of classic links golf. The last three par 4's are all excellent holes and our group finished tired, beaten but enthralled by this excellent course. I would compare this course favorably with the excellent links at Hillside, in Southport, perhaps giving the edge to Portstewart. Great, great course. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
04 August 2011 See other reviews from this reviewer
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Ebrahim Vahed28 May 2012
We too played this course after Portrush and Castlerock. We expected little, and were therefore amazed by this wonderful golf course. Our caddie, Will, was a treat and led us around this wonderful track. The first nine are amongst the best in the world. The second nine allows you some breathing space and some birdie opportunities. The Par 3's were excellent. Fantastic clubhouse with great views. Take your camera along for wonderful photo shots. Go play this course, you won't regret it.Ebrahim Vahed, South Africa
My playing partner had given this course a big build up having previously played it. He said that the front nine is as good a nine holes of links golf as you can get and I can't say he was wrong, if the back nine was the same it would be a world beater. The view standing on the first tee was stunning with the beach to the right and the dunes out in front of you and I couldn't wait to get started.  It's not a long course and probably feels a bit shorter because most of the tee shots are from the top of dunes driving down to the fairways. The greens were quick and true even in March, they must be lightening in the summer. As always in Ireland you are made to feel welcome by everyone you encounter. This course is an absolute must play for anyone who loves links golf.
17 May 2011 See other reviews from this reviewer
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This course is a real treat to play. It’s a struggle to find anything negative about this course as the condition of the course when I played in glorious sunshine in March was fantastic. The front nine is feast for the eyes with the 1st and 2nd holes setting an incredibly high benchmark with perhaps just the 3rd hole being a bit too ‘in your face’ for my taste. It’s been commented before that the back nine struggles to compete with glorious front but it’s no ugly sister and although not as visually stunning is still real links golf and a great test. The Clubhouse is one of the best I’ve seen and the lunches are excellent as is the welcome you get from all the staff. Situated around an hours drive from Belfast Int Airport, this course should be included on any itinerary of the area.
29 April 2011 See other reviews from this reviewer
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I loved my cold blustery showering day in late June at Portstewart! It is wonderful course with a stunning front nine. It is very playable for mid-handicappers. On most holes, you have a shot - not necessarily the one you would like. Unlike Co Down which is all punishment (even on the sunny day I plated it), this course is a great walk enhanced. I shall return!
28 November 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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Played The Strand course on a trip of the Northern Irish Links. We were so suprised with how low this course is ranked. It really is amazing! Such huge towering dunes. The first nine truly is fantastic, but we never felt let down by the back nine at all! The welcome there was second to none. If you are visiting nearby Portrush, DO NOT, miss this course. It is so much fun to play. Joey
10 October 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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This was the first course we played on our trip through Northern and Northwest Ireland. The first two holes at Portstewart are as memorable as any two holes your likely to play in your lifetime. A 417yd. downhill dogleg right to start with. a long hole but if your in the fairway with your tee shot then the hole is very manageable. Next is a a 360yd par four that plays well downhill and has four story high dunes along the fairway that give you a secluded feel about the hole. You second shot is uphill to a green that you want to make sure you reach. And so goes hole after hole on the front nine. Mountainous dunes and heaving fairways don't let up. No. 8 is a blind tee shot that only leaves you high rough and three stones(red, white and blue) as an aiming point. Once in the fairway (hopefully) you see that it doglegs left with a gulf between you and a raised green. I thought this hole was the best on the course. The back nine although played away from the dunes is not a respite with the same rolling fairways to contend with. The par fives on the course are not long but the par fours are, sometimes only 20 or 30 yds. difference in length between the two. the course is fair, well cared for, the fairways firm and brown the greens slippery fast and the staff is as friendly as any I've ever been to.
08 July 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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I played this quality links course last week in typical Northern Irish February weather - cold, wet and windy. A winter green fee of £40 was good value, when you compare it to the £95 summer fee. On a Friday, we had the course to our selves, something to do with the weather me thinks! This course should really be ranked along side the more revered Royal Portrush - I suppose Royal status and a much longer and richer history counts for a lot in course rankings. The front nine, as with previous reviews gets the plaudits and rightly so. There is a definite feel of a course like Enniscrone - heading out into the massive dunes on a thin spit of land surrounded by water, flanked by holes on the flatter landward side. The first is a cracking opener with an inviting downhill drive looking towards the giant dunes and the strand to the right. At the 2nd you could be at Carne and further out on the outward nine you feel you could be at Royal County Down, with all the whin bushes or Lahinch on the 8th, a favourite hole of mine. The inward nine skirts around the dunes and therefore is a little more exposed and less dramatic, but is still links golf of the highest order, having really enjoyed 10,11 & 14. The closing 3 holes occupy the open land in front of the fantastic new club house and whilst not being as visually stunning as what has gone before, are still good solid links holes, nonetheless. The greens, although a little brown in colour, ran very true and would I’m sure, be devilishly quick in summer. The general condition of the course was first class with tees, paths, fairways and bunkers expertly kept, although a slight quibble would be a lack of hole information on the set of tees we were playing from. The course proved fair and very playable, even in very the testing conditions, wayward shots, off the tee especially, were found, admittedly with plenty of awkward stances and lies. Overall, a great example of Irish links golf which MUST be played if you’re on a trip of N.Ireland. Definitely put this course in your bracket with RCD, Portrush and Castlerock.
02 March 2010 See other reviews from this reviewer
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