History of Royal Portrush Golf Club
From its inception, the distinguished Royal Portrush Golf Club
has always been a little different from the rest.
Originally known as the 'County Club' when first formed in May
1888 when the Railway Company brought people from various cities
to the fisher village of Portrush and the invigorating fresh air
coming straight off the Atlantic Ocean.
It became the 'Royal County Club' only four years later in 1892,
with His Royal Highness The Duke of York was its patron. Other clubs
have typically had to wait a quarter century or longer to obtain
the 'Royal' seal of approval, proving their pedigree before being
accepted into the elite circle of clubs in the British Isles permitted
to carry the 'Royal' title.
1895, the club was renamed 'Royal Portrush Golf Club', with the
Prince of Wales as patron.
In 1946, the Club purchased the Holyrood Hotel and converted it
to a new Clubhouse.
A major Clubhouse project commenced at a cost of £1.5 million
in 1997, with much improved facilities for members and visitors.
In May 1999, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Prince Andrew,
officially declared open the new clubhouse.
As befits a golf course of such quality, Royal Portrush Golf Club
has hosted many major events over the years. The Irish Amateur Championships
were inaugurated here in 1892, while the first professional event
on Irish soil was also hosted at Portrush in 1895. In the same year
the first Ladies Championships were held. From the exclusive group
of clubs so honored, only one has been located outside Scotland
or England, when Royal Portrush Golf Club hosted the Open Championship.
The current layout bears little resemblance to the original, thanks
to a creative redesign undertaken by the renowned English architect
Harry Colt between 1929 and 1932.
It was July 1951 when Royal Portrush made real headlines on the
world stage by becoming the first (and last) golf course outside
Great Britain to host the British Open Golf Championship, an event
won by Max Faulkner with an aggregate score of 285 over four rounds.
Max Faulkner wins the 1951 Open
Going into the final round at Royal Portrush, Max Faulkner
enjoyed a six-shot lead courtesy of some wonderful putting and shot
making. Leading the field by four strokes at the 16th
hole of the third round, Faulkner hooked his tee shot within
a few inches of the out-of-bounds fence and was faced with a tricky
decision. He could either take a wedge and chip the ball onto the
fairway and probably accept a bogey, or he could take a full swing
and start the ball out of bounds, hoping to fade it back into play.
Reaching for his three wood, Faulkner lashed the ball over the
fence and, as the gallery watched spellbound, it dutifully turned
right, right and right again as it crossed the fence and bounded
up the fairway on to the green. "It was," said American
playing partner Frank Stranahan, "the greatest shot I've ever