Distinguished guest US President Clinton visited Royal County Down golf club in July 2003.[/caption] Each year top world golf magazine Golf Digest selects a list of the top courses, and this year Royal County Down were voted by their readers as the best outside the United States. David Wilson, RCD Secretary said: “We are very privileged as a private club and honoured to be at the top of the world rankings as the best course in the world you can actually pay a green fee and play on. Now we have been voted the best golf course in the world outside the United States which is a huge accolade. “We are very fortunate in the current economic climate to enjoy strong bookings many from overseas golfers. The ranking was decided by the Golf Digest magazine. In recent years we have had a number of mentions in the golfing press and we are delighted to be up there with the best in the world and offer a world-class facility here in Newcastle, County Down. “This will no doubt have a knock on effect to local tourism and should help the hotel trade. We are very fortunate to have the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa next door which is itself recently won the title of the best hotel in Ireland recently. We have other hotels too such as the Burrendale Hotel and a number of B&B’s too which also benefit from the spin offs to the local economy. “Royal County Down receives great support from golfers in North America and we do our best to accomodate our visitors. Even yesterday we had a couple of American golfers on the course in very wet weather. They came off absolutely soaked by had the time of their lives.” The news was also welcomed by Audrey Byrne, President of the local Newcastle Chamber of Commerce. She said: “This is really good news for Newcastle which has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. Our town is a hub for tourism in County Down and is an integral part of the wider Northern Ireland scene. “Golf has become a very popular sport and many visitors come to Newcastle for this. There is a growing interest in activities around the Mournes and in mountain biking trails, and this reaffirms that we have an excellent product for the visitor to enjoy. “We need the NITB now to fully get behind us to help this visitor experience grow to its next level. We are a key part of Northern ireland tourism and we must all make that extra effort to try and sell Northern Ireland. We can’t sit back.” Councillor Dessie Patterson, who runs Meelmore Lodge, a stop off for hill walkers, said: This is great news for Newcastle. I hope it puts us more firmly on the map. There is a huge interest in tourism in this area and the very prestigious award achieved by Royal County Down testifies to the hard work of many of our local businesses. “The whole Mourne experience is a fantastic product and while people can play their golf here, they and their families can enjoy the wider benefits we have to offer. The Royal County Down course has a natural beauty of its own. We need to have this area better promoted and this award can only be good news for the area. Visitors come to my lodge all year round and tourism is just not just a summer experience.” Councillor Patrick Clarke said: “I would like to congratulate the Royal County Down golf club on recently being ranked the best golf course in the world outside USA and also being ranked number one golf course in the world for a green fee paying golf course.
“To receive such high world rankings proves the quality and calibre of this links course which has seen many of the top world professionals play at Newcastle over the years including our own Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
“This honour for Royal County has to be good for the local hospitality industry as well as shops and other tourist attractions.”]]>