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Belfast offers much to attract the seven million people who visit it every year. As the capital city of Northern Ireland, it provides a blend of architectural splendour, cultural innovation and entertainment offerings that simply won’t be matched anywhere else in Northern Ireland. It is also, of course, packed with the kind of pubs and bars that are legendary the world over, where you can partake of a pint of Guinness or dram of whiskey while listening to traditional Irish folk music.
Venture slightly outside the centre of the city, however, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush green countryside. It is this countryside – the rolling hills, misty loughs and thick forests - that has helped foster the other great Belfast tourist magnet: golf courses.
It’s no exaggeration to say that you can book a hotel anywhere in Belfast city centre and still be within easy travelling distance of a world-class golf course. Hotels to the south of the city, across the River Lagan, are close to Ormeau, Belvoir Park and Shandon Park golf clubs. Those to the south-east are a short drive away from Balmoral, Dunmurry and Malone golf clubs while north of the city centre, taking the A6 Antrim Road towards Belfast Castle, you’ll find Cliftonville and Fortwilliam golf clubs.
The choice of hotel for your golfing holiday will be determined by several factors, not least of which is budget. Do you want to splash the cash on a five star luxury hotel to savour at the end of a day on the greens, or is a simple guesthouse enough to act as a base. Perhaps you’ve brought the family, and need a cosy bed and breakfast to return to – you after a day dodging bunkers, them after a few hours exploring the zoo. It could even be that you need a country lodge for a couples break that combines days on the course with romantic nights over candlelit suppers.
No matter which kind of accommodation you opt for, the sheer number of golf courses is such that you’re bound to find one that suits your needs within easy travelling distance of your hotel room.
No fewer than 14 golf courses are located within Belfast’s city boundaries. Pick the right one and you’ll be following in the footsteps of golfing legends such as Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, while the clubhouse facilities range from simple but delicious food and drink to the all-round leisure club facilities at Templepatrick. This is a golf course the whole family can enjoy, since it also comes with all-weather tennis courts, a health club, a swimming pool and even a hair salon.
Other leading clubs close to the centre of the city include the Royal Belfast and Malone Park, while a short drive in any direction will bring you to country courses such as Scrabo, Lisburn and Carrickfergus. The simple truth is that if you book a hotel anywhere in Belfast then, in terms of golf courses, you’ll be spoilt for choice.