Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Golf Club, Downings Co. Donegal

The naturally lovely area of Downings in county Donegal is complemented by the presence of the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf resort, which will really enhance your stay.

Two magnificent golf courses, one old and one new, will vie for opinion as to which is the best.

The Old Tom Morris course and the Sandy Hills Links are gems that will merit much discussion in the 19th where the day’s activities are discussed and comparisons made.

There’s plenty more besides, you can take to the tennis court, relax over a game of snooker, arrange a soothing body massage or go pony trekking. The waters in the area are famous amongst the water sports enthusiasts and fishing trips in the locality can be arranged as well as supervised dives with our new local dive centre.

Old Tom Morris course

In 1891, while a guest of Lord Leitrim at his nearby estate, Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, a winner of four British Opens in the 1860s, took a drive to enjoy the Donegal scenery. Morris was quick to see the golfing potential of this fine stretch of Donegal coast line and before returning to the home of golf he had staked-out the first Rosapenna Links, incorporating wide rolling fairways amidst the undulating terrain and of course those delightful greens .

Back at St. Andrews, Old Tom was quick to tell of his discovery and so it was that Rosapenna became a place of pilgrimage for golfers at the turn of the century. Amongst those to follow were two other great golfing champions Harry Vardon and James Braid who won 11 British Open titles between them. They added length and more detailed bunkering but were wise enough to leave those wonderful natural greens.

As with most good links courses, the Old Tom Morris course takes advantage of natural terrain to provide a classic links golf challenge.

The front nine play inland and around the coastguard hill and offer superb vistas over Mulroy Bay.

The back nine holes, which are classic links run between the ocean and the high dune ridge in what is known locally as “The Valley” finishing infront of the Golf Pavilion.

Though the Old Tom Morris Course measures only 6,450 yards from the back tees, there are on this par 70 layout no fewer than six two-shots in the 400-yards-plus category.

Sandy Hills Course

Sandy Hills . Remember the name! This course, opened in June 2003, is set to become one of the most famous golf courses in Ireland. In 2008 Sandy Hills was named in the top 100 golf courses in Britain & Ireland by Golf World Magazine, it is Sandy Hills first appearance on the list and went straight in at number 81, ranking above the likes of The K Club, Goodwood, Druid’s Glenn & Gleneagles PGA.  Where Old Tom settled for a course alongside the dunes, Pat Ruddy has gone straight through them from start to finish and created an awesome course that will test any golfer, yet somehow still seduce those that cannot live with it. Each hole is spectacular and the views across the Old Tom Morris course to the ocean will salve all the wounds inflicted by this incredible golf course

Sandy Hills is in many ways the ideal of a modern links. Intended for the serious golfer, its narrow fairways appear constricting from the tee, but the landing areas sculpted from the dunes are deceptively wide. Measuring a hefty 7,255 yards from the tips, Sandy Hills was designed with championship play in mind. However don’t allow this to deter you, with a multiplicity of tees there is a length to suit all strengths.

Above all, the appeal of Sandy Hills lies in its beautifully balanced routing through the high dunes cloaked in marram grass. These sandhills bear a striking resemblance to the ones near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland that form the spine of Royal Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock. Many of the holes feature elevated tees and greens, with drives into natural bowls on the dune floor.

Most of the holes run north and south along the dune ridges, parallel to the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Course below, and above Tramore, the large beach along side Sheephaven Bay that caught the Scotsman’s attention so long ago. A few of the holes, like the Par-3 third, Par-3 seventh, the Par-5 eighth, and the Par-4 10th, 12th and 15th, run across the dune ridges, lending a change of pace and overwhelming sense of seclusion in the dunes.

There are no weak holes on the new layout, but the best come at the stretch of Nos. 6-13, which romp across the interior dunes. No. 6 is at the far southern end of the course, with the drive over a crest that reveals a picture-postcard view of the sickle of beach and bay with Muckish Mountain straight ahead. No. 7 is a downhill Par-3 to a sliver of green peeking from the dunes, and the eighth leads inland, tumbling downhill and then rising toward the backdrop of Carrigart and the Lough Salt Mountains in the distance.

The 10th hole heads back towards the sea through a secret valley in the dunes, with the raised green framed by the grey peak of Muckish. No. 12 continues in the same direction, coursing upward through the dunes, and the 13th, having reached the higher ground, is a seamless band of smother fairway that coils to the right towards Murloy Bay. No doubt, Old Tom would approve of what has become of this links land that he so keenly recognized more than a century ago.

 

Contact

Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort, Downings, Co Donegal, Ireland
Hotel: Tel: +353 (0)74 91 55301 | Fax: +353 (0)74 91 55128 | Email :Hotel Enquiries
Golf :  Tel: +353 (0)74 91 55000 | Fax: +353 (0)74 91 55899 | Email:Golf Enquiries

Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort, Downings, Co Donegal, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)74 91 55301 | Fax: +353 (0)74 91 55128

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