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Castlerock Golf Club. Where else in the world can you play a hole called "Leg o' Mutton"? It's a 200-yard par-3 with railway tracks to the right and a burn to the left—just one of several unusual holes at the Missenden course, which claims to have the best greens in Ireland. The finish is spectacular: from the elevated 17th tee, where you can see the shores of Scotland, to the majestic 18th, which plays uphill to a plateau green. The club also boasts the equally scenic 9-hole Bann course. 65 Circular Rd., Castlerock, Co. Derry. 028/7084–8314. www.castlerockgc.co.uk. Fees: weekdays £75 (Mussenden), £15 (Bann); weekends £90 (Mussenden), £20 (Bann). 27 holes. Yardage: 6,747 (Mussenden), 4,892 (Bann). Par 73 (Mussenden), 68 (Bann). Practice area, caddies (reserve in advance), caddy carts, catering. Visitors: daily.
Portstewart Golf Club. More than a century old, Portstewart may scare you with its opening hole, generally regarded as the toughest starter in Ireland. Picture a 425-yard par-4 that descends from an elevated tee to a small green tucked between the dunes. The greens are known for uniformity and speed, and seven of the holes have been redesigned to toughen the course. If you want a break from the grand scale of the Strand championship links, there's the Old Course and the Riverside, 36 holes of downsize, executive-style golf. A modern clubhouse opened in 2009 with a bar and restaurant. 117 Strand Rd., Portstewart. 028/7083–2015. www.portstewartgc.co.uk. Fees: weekdays £90 (The Strand), £10 (Old Course), £20 (Riverside); weekends £110 (The Strand), £15 (Old Course), £25 (Riverside). 54 holes. Yardage: 6,895 (The Strand), 4,730 (Old Course), 5,725 (Riverside). Par 72 (The Strand), 64 (Old Course), 68 (Riverside). Practice area, caddies, caddy carts, buggies, catering. Visitors: daily.
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