Destination Golf Ireland 2018 * - Page 138

Rosapenna (Sandy HIlls) Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Co. Donegal’s rich set of golf courses includes 45 holes at Rosapenna. Rosapenna combines the very old with the very new: Old Tom Morris came here in the 1890s, while Sandy Hills was designed over 100 years later by Pat Ruddy. Given this stormy sea of dunes crashing over high ground, Pat must have been in his element as he carved fairways through the natural contours. Elevated tees promise delicious tee shots onto tossing fairways before rising to the greens. At times it feels as if you only come up for air between holes, to be met by the stunning vistas. Donegal The stunning setting of Donegal Golf Club (aka Murvagh) is part of this wonderful links golf experience… as is the long, isolated drive to reach the course. ‘Long’ and ‘isolated’ also aptly describe the course. The club is tucked away from prying eyes (barely a house to be seen on the surrounding hills and Blue Stack Mountains) and such remoteness is enchanting. As for length, Donegal is renowned for it. From the back tees it is 6,765 metres, so you’ll be pleased to know there are five tees to choose from. Low snaking dunes rush over the spacious terrain, rising to become more aggressive beasts next to Donegal Bay, where the best run of holes can be found. 136 Royal County Down There is no experience in the world – let alone Ireland – to compare with Royal County Down. Revered and feared in equal measure the course sits under the gaze of the Mourne Mountains and alongside Dundrum Bay. It boasts several terrifying blind shots, heather and gorse strewn dunes, bearded bunkers, greens like velvet, and a terrain of ever shifting surprises. It is magical and it is monstrous. The hands of many of the greatest names in golf have left their imprint here. Old Tom Morris, Harry Vardon and Harry Colt have influenced how this course has come to be known as the world’s greatest links and, while the course has evolved slowly, it still feels as if nothing has changed at all. It is timeless. Lough Erne The lakes of Co. Fermanagh make this entire region dazzle like diamonds. And, around one such diamond, Nick Faldo created a glorious parkland course with water always in view and often in play. Lough Erne is the plushest of Ireland’s golf resorts, with five star quality every inch of the way – in the hotel, the spa and on the golf course, where no expense has been spared. It’s the full package and even the walk over the bridge to reach the 1st tee oozes quality. The course starts beside Castle Hume Lough, before sliding quickly into the forest where you’ll fully appreciate the size and scale of the greens and green complexes. When the course reaches the par five 6th, high up between hotel and water, you will discover the biggest charms of Lough Erne: generous, languid fairways flowing over ever moving terrain. For lakeside golf there are far more elevation changes than you’d expect.