Royal Portrush, founded in 1888, has introduced two new holes on the Dunluce Links course, the first major changes since the 1930s, as part of the club’s preparations for staging the 148th Open Championship in 2019.
The long par-5 7th (Curran Point) and the par-4 8th (Dunluce) were designed by golf architect Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert.
The 7th is 590 yards long and runs from an elevated tee and over an area of the links which used to be the 5th and 6th holes on the club’s adjoining Valley course which has also undergone major changes with the creation of three new holes.
The 430-yard long 8th calls for a demanding tee shot over a chasm and looks out towards the distant ruins of the historic Dunluce Castle, which sits on the edge of a cliff high above the North Coast shoreline.
Work to upgrade the course began two years ago and involved the re-positioning of the 2nd green, rebuilding the 3rd green and rebuilding and reshaping the 8th green.
Six of the holes have new tees and several new bunkers have been introduced, including five on the new 7th hole and three on the new 8th. The changes means the championship course has been lengthened by 130 yards to 7,317 yards.
The future of the 17th and 18th holes will be decided following The Open. This area of the course will be used for the tented village and infrastructure in 2019.
The Open was played at Royal Portrush in 1951 when it was won by Max Faulkner.