Golf in Ireland - North West Articles
It is not often that a destination is loved as much for its scenery as it is for its collection of golf courses – but that is the current situation with the North West!
The shoreline that adorns the coast of counties Donegal and Sligo is nothing short of spectacular and is worth the trip alone. Add in the golf courses and you are in, well, golfing heaven.
Situated on Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula, Ballyliffin is a towering king of Irish golf and one of the most famous golf courses in the world.
The Old Links, currently being touched up by Faldo Design, is the more famous of the two courses but the newer Glashedy Links is a marvellous experience and, according to some, the better of the two.
A favourite with many visitors to Ireland in recent years has been Rosapenna, home to the Old Tom Morris Links and the newer Sandy Hills Links, a Pat Ruddy design, is destined for greatness. Rosapenna is, without doubt, one of the Ireland’s top links resorts.
A little further south down the coast you will encounter Narin & Portnoo, a seaside course with plenty of bite. Winds from the Atlantic Ocean make this venue a tricky affair and you’ll need to be safe off the tee if you are to score well. A sumptuous test and well worthy of your Euro!
If you have the time make sure you drop by Dunfanaghy, a beautiful links that runs along a three-mile stretch of beach next to the picturesque lagoon on Sheephaven bay. Tour stars Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley have been known to practice here. Bundoran, just south of Donegal, is a unique combination of links and parkland and is situated on the cliffs above Bundoran Beach. If all that windy links golf has left you shaken, then head for the lush fairways of Slieve Russell, a Paddy Merrigan parkland course that sits comfortably in a 300-acre estate! It has hosted many top tournaments through the years and is a fairly stiff test off the back tees.
Rosses Point (County Sligo Golf Club) is a particular favourite of Christy O’Connor Snr, a reputed course designer, and links specialist Tom Watson. It has a number of spectacular holes, most notably the 17th, a quite stunning par-4.
Roughly an hour in the car from Rosses Point is Enniscrone, one of the most demanding championship links in Ireland – and also one of the most beautiful. It is a traditional links that sits proudly by the shoreline, winding through craggy duneland with no end to its beauty. A truly fantastic Irish links golf experience, if ever there was one.
Other not-so-famous venues that are worth a visit include Letterkenny, a parkland course by Lough Swilly in County Donegal, and North-West, which is right on the shores of Lough Swilly. The latter is known as the ‘St Andrews of Ireland’, thus it would be a shame for Scots to miss out.
With celebrated layouts and hidden gems around every corner, this particular region ticks all the boxes when it comes to piecing together the ingredients for a top-class golf holiday.