Destination Golf Ireland 2024 | Page 124

Rosapenna , Sandy Hills

Rosapenna ( St Patrick ’ s )

Opened in July 2021 , St Patrick ’ s Links bristles with confidence as it sweeps over and through a cavorting , wild-at-heart terrain . Tucked up close to Sheephaven Bay and the full beauty of Donegal ’ s ocean and mountain landscapes this links feels incredibly modern and yet perfectly natural . Designed by the renowned Tom Doak , it certainly tests your golfing ability on every level , especially around green sites full of imagination and intrigue . Only your best short game will do . Holes start in deep dunes before Donegal ’ s full beauty is revealed on the par five 4th . Thereafter , the routing moves you like an ocean swell , leading you from one brilliant hole to another . Utterly hypnotic .

Rosapenna ( Sandy Hills Links )

Rosapenna ’ s Sandy Hills links was designed by Pat Ruddy and opened in 2003 . Given this stormy sea of dunes crashing over high ground , Ruddy must have been in his element as he carved fairways through the natural , rolling contours . Elevated tees promise delicious tee shots onto tossing fairways before rising to beautifully positioned greens . At times it feels as if you only come up for air between holes , to be met by the stunning vistas over Sheephaven Bay . The links has been made much more playable in recent years ( wider fairways , more forgiving rough ) and , with St Patrick ’ s now open , this is a remarkable 54-hole golf resort .

Ballyliffin ( Glashedy )

The Pat Ruddy-designed Glashedy links opened to great acclaim in 1995 , bringing a whole new golfing allure to Donegal ’ s Inishowen peninsula . These are the most northern golf courses on the island , a landscape of raw beauty , rock , sand and the clean coarse smell of ocean . Many believe it is heaven . What is most remarkable is how different the course is compared to the Old links , which shares the same piece of land . The difference lies in the terrain , with the Glashedy hogging the biggest dunes . Fairways slide so smoothly between them . It creates such an elegant rhythm that you could almost forget how testing this course can be … but only briefly . The many subtle doglegs require pinpoint accuracy off the tee .

Ballyliffin ( Old )

The story of Ballyliffin reads almost like a fairytale . Established in 1973 , on the remote Donegal peninsula of Inishowen , the course struggled in the early years . Then Nick Faldo arrived in 1993 and declared it “ the most natural links I have ever played .” He even tries to buy the place . He fails but his visit reinvigorates the club … and Ballyliffin has never looked back , adding the exceptional Glashedy course in 1995 , and a new clubhouse in 1999 . Ironically , Faldo did some upgrade work in the early 2000s , introducing revetted bunkers and new tees . The heart of the Old course remains , however , with a classic links design sweeping over low , bumpy and unpredictable fairways which almost float towards natural green sites .