The Valley (Rathmore Golf Club) lies between the East Strand and the Dunluce Links golf course in Portrush. As its name suggests, the course is situated between the huge sand hills immediately along the Atlantic shore and the higher ground on which the Championship course is laid out.
That is not to say the holes of the course are routed over anything like plain, level lying land, far from it, as the Valley has more than its fair share of the humps, hollows and undulations to be found on any links worthy of the name.
The 6,304-yard, par 70, Valley is a very fine test of links golf, with greens, in particular, every bit as well tended on the Dunluce Course. Harry Colt is credited with designing the course three years after the Dunluce and he was never known to put his name to many, if any, poor courses.
Two feature holes on the card are played back-to-back on the front nine and they are situated at the furthest point from the clubhouse. They epitomise all that is good about golf at Royal Portrush. The 336-yard, short par four, 5th hole is played from an elevated tee in the sand hills to a green framed by towering dunes and protected on three sides by menacing bunkers. The 237-yard, par three, 6th hole is then played slightly uphill and semi-blind to a green hidden by natural mounding.
Every year, a major amateur golf competition is held on the Antrim coast, attracting over one thousand golfers. Formerly called the “Black Bush” tournament – after the whiskey product of Bushmills, the sponsor – it is now known as the Causeway Coast Amateur Golf Tournament and competitors play over the Mussenden at Castlerock, The Strand at Portstewart, Ballycastle and the Valley.