Royal County Down named world's greatest golf course
THE Royal County Down golf course has been voted the world's greatest by a leading golf publication.
The latest annual rankings of US magazine Golf Digest have placed the Co Down course on top, replacing Pine Valley in New Jersey, which drops to third.
Royal County Down got further international exposure last May when it staged the Irish Open, a factor likely to have contributed to its rise from fourth place in last year's rankings.
Golf Digest wrote: "Royal County Down, on rugged, windblown topography along the Irish Sea and beneath the Mountains of Mourne, features snarling bunkers edged by marram grass and dates from 1889."
Augusta National is ranked second, while three Scottish venues feature in the top ten.
Royal Dornoch in Scotland is fifth, with St Andrews seventh, one place ahead of Muirfield in Edinburgh.
Royal Portrush is listed 27th, while Lahinch is the only course in the Republic to make it into the top 100, in 65th place.
More than 1,800 panellists took part in assessing courses across the globe.