Andy Mossack samples the famous Castletown Golf Links perched on the Langeness Peninsula in between the waves of the Irish Sea.
The Castletown Golf Links course is not for the fainthearted. To my mind, you couldn’t find a more natural place for a golf course, out on a spit of dry land with the Irish Sea on both sides. Any chance of some respite from the wind? Not on your Nellie. Any chance of a few dramatic holes over the sea? Absolutely.
Here then is the Castletown Golf Links, a course not short of a slice or two of golf history. It was first laid out back in 1892 by none other than the master, Old Tom Morris, architect of St. Andrew’s Old Course, the home of golf. But there is more golfing royalty to follow. In 1910 Alister Mackenzie, the genius behind Augusta National began work on updating the course, followed 30 years later by Philip Mackenzie-Ross creator of Turnberry’s Ailsa course.
You might be baffled as to why a spit of land on a remote island in the Irish Sea would be so attractive to this holy trinity of golfing designers. But during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the Isle of Man was Britain’s equivalent to the French Riviera. Thousands flocked here to holiday and party and Castletown Golf Links was renovated and ready to welcome them all with open arms.
Castletown Golf Links has three signature holes to boast about.
The fifth at 404 yards par 4 stroke index 1 has an infamous moniker. Castletown’s own version of the Road Hole at St. Andrew’s. Running down the full length of the right side of the hole is the only road in or out of the peninsular, and any drive to the right will be out of bounds. You have been warned.
But for me, the two closing holes are jaw-dropping. The 17th is 417-yard par 4 stroke index 10, but don’t let that fool you. The tee is perched high up on a rocky crag and you drive across a yawning chasm with the sea crashing through it. If the wind is driving left to right, you can rest assured you’ll be watching your ball sail towards Poseidon. Even if you manage to keep it on dryland, that right side is thick with heather and gorse.
You pause to catch your breath and ponder the 18th. A 404-yard par 4 stroke index 4. A good drive will put you in seemingly good shape to attack the green. You think. But cunningly hidden behind a hill just in front of the green, lies another yawning chasm, so unless you confidently nail one, you’re looking at another watery end. Better to hit the fairway to the left and chip on.
At 6,387 yards off the white tees, Castletown Golf Links is not a long course, and the fairways are generously wide with fast and true greens. But it’s that wind which seems to be the deciding factor here. And it’s not just me who’s seduced, the list of awards the course has bagged are mightily impressive.
Castletown Golf Links may have a remote location on the tip of the peninsular, but the club is warm and welcoming, and the food upstairs in the restaurant is excellent. You may be licking your wounds after your round, but you’ll be uplifted by some great grub. One thing’s for sure though, you’ll want to come back and try it all over again.
Tell me more about Castletown Golf Links
Castletown Golf Links, Derbyhaven, Isle of Man IM8 1AA
T: +44 1624822211 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Course rates are from £60 a round. Club hire, buggies and trollies are available.
Want to visit the Isle of Man? Read my review piece Isle of Man. Underrated beauty in the Irish Sea
Tell me more about visiting the Isle of Man
For more information about visiting the Isle of Man please go to Visit Isle of Man tourism.
Getting to the Isle of Man
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company from Belfast, Dublin, Heysham or Liverpool. The crossing time from mainland UK and Ireland takes under 3 hours. Return foot passenger ferry fares to Douglas from the UK start from £48
Loganair from Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham or easyJet from Belfast, Bristol, Liverpool, London Gatwick or Manchester.
Flight time from mainland UK takes between an hour and 90 minutes; flights from Ireland take less than an hour. Return flights to London from £60