Gracehill Golf Course is considered to be one of the top 18 hole parkland courses in Ulster, if not all Ireland. Nestling in beautiful parkland outside the village of Stranocum near Ballymoney, it offers golfers the opportunity to sample American style water hazards, as well as bringing many mature trees into play.
Some of the greens are strategically placed near to water hazards while other holes are played through mature woodland or over heathland making it one of the few courses in Ireland to offer such variety.
The land, which Gracehill Golf Club now occupies, has a unique history, dating back to the time when King James I succeeded to the throne of England. It has passed through many generations of owners who either bought or inherited the property. Presently it is owned by the Gillan family who purchased it in 1971.
It was run as a working farm until around 1991 when the present owner decided to turn it into an 18-hole championship golf course. The old estate buildings have been painstakingly converted to form an excellent clubhouse incorporating modern facilities. This former coach house and stable block overlooks breath-taking scenic views across the golf course and surrounding countryside, providing a warm and friendly atmosphere while still retaining the charm and character of its old heritage. And just outside the gates of the golf club are the famous 'Dark Hedges' which have gained international recognition in recent years having been heavily featured during filming of the hit TV show 'Game of Thrones'.
Golfers who wish to enjoy a challenging round in very rural surroundings will find Gracehill the ideal choice. In fact Open Champion 2011 Darren Clarke plays Gracehill on regular occasions and enjoyed the variety of golfing challenges which Gracehill offers. His particular favourite hole was the 13th Knockmore. This is Gracehill’s index 1 hole and probably rightly so. With trees and laurels defining the entire length of the hole accuracy off the tee is essential. Unless you have the power of Rory McIlroy and can cut the slight dogleg, a strategic tee shot finding the middle of the fairway is a must – too far left and a draw is required for your second shot, too far left and a little fade is necessary. Needless to say Knockmore can be a card maker or breaker!