Northern Ireland has the 2019 Open venue battling for top spot with the course regarded by some as the best in the world. Chris Bertram counts down the top 10

And so concludes our rundown of the top 10 golf courses in Northern Ireland with this beauty…

Best golf courses in Northern Ireland: 1. County Down (Championship)

Not just the No. 1 in Northern Ireland but tops the list in the whole of the British Isles in my view.

What Royal County Down does better than anywhere I’ve ever played is to seamlessly marry the spectacular with the exacting.

Design aficionados may cite Muirfield as a more complete – and fair – examination, and Turnberry and Old Head might be more scenic, but nowhere is as good in both categories as RCD.

Its blind shots are disliked by some and others quibble with marramedged bunkers that snaffle balls and can ruin a tidy scorecard in seconds – while nervous chippers and putters will find RCD an unremitting examination on and around the greens.

Few courses, indeed, demand that you grind over every single shot like RCD does.

The setting in Murlough Nature Reserve is majestic, whether you have the Mountains of Mourne providing the backdrop or whether it is the shores of Dundrum Bay.

Even when it turns inland, the undulating linksland, dunes, the heather and gorse illuminate the scene.

Which is your favourite course in Northern Ireland? Or which would you like to play? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.