The Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, County Down, was established in 1889 by a group of Belfast businessmen.
The Club has two eighteen-hole links courses, viz. The Championship Course and The Annesley Links.
The clubhouse was built in 1896, to designs by Vincent Craig (brother of Sir James Craig, later 1st Viscount Craigavon), and opened in September of the following year.
The building cost of £2,200 and was partly funded by the Belfast and County Down Railway, which ran a Golfers' Express train from Belfast every Saturday.
The railway company and its successor, the Ulster Transport Authority, maintained formal links with the club until 1968.
|Slieve Donard Hotel in early 20th century|
The Slieve Donard Hotel, adjacent to Royal County Down, has always had close associations with the club, having originally opened, in 1898, as a railway hotel.
Royal patronage was conferred on the Club in 1908 by EDWARD VII.
In 1965, the clubhouse was extended at a cost of £60,000, with additional changing-room facilities added to the ground floor and extensive remodelling of rooms to the first floor.
The Centenary Extension, added in 1989, provided a visitors bar to the first floor and ladies toilets to the ground floor.
The most recent extension and refurbishment occurred in 2005.
The original two-storey Clubhouse is in the Domestic-Revival style.
It has a rosemary clay tile roof, dormers, gables and bays, with a battered Scrabo stone finish to the ground floor which rises to the first floor cill level.
The Clubhouse was extended in 1965, with a sympathetic additional extension ca 1992, the latter to designs by Hobart & Heron.
In the middle of the south elevation an external timber stair ascends to a gabled timber porch with recessed central double doors and a segmental fanlight.
The porch has glazed sides each with three large panes surmounted with a small decorative fanlight.
The Irish Open golf championship will be held at Royal County Down from the 28-30th May, 2015.
A number of Old Brackenbrians (a degree of partiality here!) have served the office of Captain, namely: Michael Harkness; Dr Peter Brown; and Kenneth McCaw.
Royal County Down is widely reputed as being one of the finest golf links in the British Isles and beyond.
First published in June, 2014.