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Golf in Donegal

  • 06-10-2019 4:50pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 299 ✭✭ Sean_pop


    A group of us are looking to head up to Donegal next summer for a couple of nights. We are hoping to get at least 3 rounds of Golf in if we can.

    We are thinking about the courses below.

    1. Ballyliffin
    2. Donegal
    3. Narin & Portnoo
    4. Portsalon
    5. Rosapenna

    We have never played Golf in Donegal before but we were hoping we might be able to play an Open Competition on these courses. Does anyone know if the courses above run weekly Open Competitions and if so, what day do they normally fall on?

    If anyone can recommend any other courses in Donegal we are open to suggestions.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,708 ✭✭✭✭ fullstop


    Sean_pop wrote: »
    A group of us are looking to head up to Donegal next summer for a couple of nights. We are hoping to get at least 3 rounds of Golf in if we can.

    We are thinking about the courses below.

    1. Ballyliffin
    2. Donegal
    3. Narin & Portnoo
    4. Portsalon
    5. Rosapenna

    We have never played Golf in Donegal before but we were hoping we might be able to play an Open Competition on these courses. Does anyone know if the courses above run weekly Open Competitions and if so, what day do they normally fall on?

    If anyone can recommend any other courses in Donegal we are open to suggestions.

    Ballyliffin run regular opens on both courses, not sure if there’s a fixed day though. Donegal only have a handful per year, so I wouldn’t bank on getting one there. Portsalon and Rosapenna would have fairly regular ones too, not sure about N&P these days.

    If you choose a bank holiday weekend I’d be fairly confident you’d get at least 2 opens on the above.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,022 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I’ve played all those courses, there are two courses at both Ballyliffin and Rosapenna. I’d skip Donegal and Narin.
    In first place I’d put the two Ballyliffins and Northwest.
    Close second would be the two Rosapennas and Portsalon.
    Went with the Ballyliffins first because the two courses are class and Northwest a short distance away versus Rosapenna Sandy Hills which some find punishing and Rosapenna Morris which some find bland, Portsalon is class.
    Great choice up there


  • Registered Users Posts: 817 ✭✭✭ paulos53


    I was in Donegal recently. Narin & Portnoo, Portsalon and North West were all running weekly opens and I believe that was the case all summer.

    North West was on a Tuesday. The other 2 on Wednesday


  • Registered Users Posts: 299 ✭✭ Sean_pop


    Thanks for that. I will give them a ring and see what I can find out off them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    Was looking at going up last summer both ballyliffin and rosepnna have open weeks which overlapped. Plus there were other opens on so it was looking like great value for the week


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  • Registered Users Posts: 299 ✭✭ Sean_pop


    mike12 wrote: »
    Was looking at going up last summer both ballyliffin and rosepnna have open weeks which overlapped. Plus there were other opens on so it was looking like great value for the week

    Can you remember what time of the year that was?


  • Registered Users Posts: 397 ✭✭ swededmonkey


    Donegal usually runs an open week around the end of August/early September. I know they usually post their opens on their website. I played Sandy Hills in horrific winds mid August, punishing is too kind of a term for how difficult we found it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    Sean_pop wrote: »
    Can you remember what time of the year that was?

    I'm going to guess the middle of August


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,887 ✭✭✭✭ Roger_007


    Check out the Donegal Links Classic.
    This comp is held every year around May/June. It consists of three rounds over three courses over three consecutive days. The courses normally played are Rosapenna (Sandy Hills), Portsalon and Ballyliffin (Old).
    I played it 2 years ago and thought it was fantastic value, (€125). It may be a little more expensive now but you will not find better links courses in the country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 656 ✭✭✭ davegilly


    Roger_007 wrote: »
    Check out the Donegal Links Classic.
    This comp is held every year around May/June. It consists of three rounds over three courses over three consecutive days. The courses normally played are Rosapenna (Sandy Hills), Portsalon and Ballyliffin (Old).
    I played it 2 years ago and thought it was fantastic value, (€125). It may be a little more expensive now but you will not find better links courses in the country.

    Sounds good - it’s at €187 now per player. Are there equivalent classics anywhere else do you know, down in Kerry for example?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    davegilly wrote: »
    Sounds good - it’s at €187 now per player. Are there equivalent classics anywhere else do you know, down in Kerry for example?

    This is a full list of them. Prices usually include accommodation so u may have to go to the clubs to get the golf only price.
    https://www.thegolfpa.com/ireland-amateur-tournaments


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 elgstring


    davegilly wrote: »
    Sounds good - it’s at €187 now per player. Are there equivalent classics anywhere else do you know, down in Kerry for example?

    Depending on your handicaps, you can get out in Ballybunion and Tralee for about 100 quid when they host the scratch cups, they host them on the same weekend too.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,022 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    As a guide it was €70 to play each of the Ballyliffins when I played last year (not an open, GUI rate).
    Portsalon and NorthWest were both €20 - Opens


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    I found when I was looking at opens in donegal u were better off checking the clubs web site rather than the gui open fixtures.

    Kerry it's hard to get out for a reduced rate, much better value to be had in Donegal and courses are all super hard to rate them all I have played have been super.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,060 ✭✭✭ Ollieboy


    I would highly recommend Ballyliffen, they have a special where you can play both courses in a day, I think it’s 99.

    Ballyliffen also as a great selection of hotels for great value but it’s a very quiet area.

    Northwest is about 20km away and you actually pass it. You get out here for 20 and that’s a steal. It should be 50 for the qualify of the course. Buncrana also as a 9 hole course which is also a lot of fun and if you stay in the gateway it’s included.

    If it was me, I would stop and play a course on the way up, maybe in the North. Then head to Buncrana (stay in either the Habour master, amazing food and short walk to town, Lake of shadows, good food and great location but not great rooms, or the gateway the most expensive hotel but free golf on site).

    I would then play Ballyliffen in one day and Northwest on the day I’m leaving.

    I would rather stay in Buncrana, it’s a bigger town with loads of bars and restaurants.

    You can get out on Ballyliffen for cheaper if you talk to John he manager or get some locals to sign you in as guest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ searay


    Ollieboy wrote: »
    I would highly recommend Ballyliffen, they have a special where you can play both courses in a day, I think it’s 99.

    Ballyliffen also as a great selection of hotels for great value but it’s a very quiet area.

    Northwest is about 20km away and you actually pass it. You get out here for 20 and that’s a steal. It should be 50 for the qualify of the course. Buncrana also as a 9 hole course which is also a lot of fun and if you stay in the gateway it’s included.

    If it was me, I would stop and play a course on the way up, maybe in the North. Then head to Buncrana (stay in either the Habour master, amazing food and short walk to town, Lake of shadows, good food and great location but not great rooms, or the gateway the most expensive hotel but free golf on site).

    I would then play Ballyliffen in one day and Northwest on the day I’m leaving.

    I would rather stay in Buncrana, it’s a bigger town with loads of bars and restaurants.

    You can get out on Ballyliffen for cheaper if you talk to John he manager or get some locals to sign you in as guest.


    The above is good advice. I was in Buncrana for work last month and managed to play the 2 courses in Ballyliffin for the first time and I thought they were great.

    Both courses deserve to be ranked alongside Ballybunion Old, Tralee and Lahinch and its great to have them side by side. We were lucky to get into a Classic on the Old Course which reduced the price but I'd happily pay the GUI rates for them and I think they are great value compared to what you'd pay in Kerry/Clare without a "with member" or "scratch cup" discount.


  • Registered Users Posts: 299 ✭✭ Sean_pop


    The rates for those courses are very reasonable. I think we will play both the Ballyliffin course in one day and on the other 2 days I think we will go for Portsalon and Rosapenna (Sandy Hills). The 9 hole course in Buncrana looks good to so if we get time we might take this in as well.

    Buncrana looks like a good place to stay.

    Thanks for all your help.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,060 ✭✭✭ Ollieboy


    Sean_pop wrote: »
    The rates for those courses are very reasonable. I think we will play both the Ballyliffin course in one day and on the other 2 days I think we will go for Portsalon and Rosapenna (Sandy Hills). The 9 hole course in Buncrana looks good to so if we get time we might take this in as well.

    Buncrana looks like a good place to stay.

    Thanks for all your help.

    I would really recommend playing the Northwest links in Buncrana, it’s one of the oldest clubs and it’s amazing value with great views of the lough, I rate it highly.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,022 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    I agree, NW is flat as a pancake so will not tax ye if energy running low


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 CoachKK76


    US golfer planning visit to Co. Donegal in October. Many of these courses are some distance from one another. Any suggestions about a central place to stay? My wife wants some place on the WWA, with an ocean view.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 701 ✭✭✭ Golfhead65


    Ollieboy wrote: »
    I would highly recommend Ballyliffen, they have a special where you can play both courses in a day, I think it’s 99.

    Ballyliffen also as a great selection of hotels for great value but it’s a very quiet area.

    Northwest is about 20km away and you actually pass it. You get out here for 20 and that’s a steal. It should be 50 for the qualify of the course. Buncrana also as a 9 hole course which is also a lot of fun and if you stay in the gateway it’s included.

    If it was me, I would stop and play a course on the way up, maybe in the North. Then head to Buncrana (stay in either the Habour master, amazing food and short walk to town, Lake of shadows, good food and great location but not great rooms, or the gateway the most expensive hotel but free golf on site).

    I would then play Ballyliffen in one day and Northwest on the day I’m leaving.

    I would rather stay in Buncrana, it’s a bigger town with loads of bars and restaurants.

    You can get out on Ballyliffen for cheaper if you talk to John he manager or get some locals to sign you in as guest.

    Ballyliffen is a must,The old course being my personal favourite and The Ballyliffen Lodge hotel is very reasonably priced for accomadation,food&Drink


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭ Snotty


    CoachKK76 wrote: »
    US golfer planning visit to Co. Donegal in October. Many of these courses are some distance from one another. Any suggestions about a central place to stay? My wife wants some place on the WWA, with an ocean view.

    Depending on how many nights you are over, I would stay one or two nights just at the Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel and play 2xBallyliffin and maybe Northwest.
    Couple of nights at Rossapena hotel and play 2xRosspena courses and maybe Portsalon.
    Another base could be Bundoran, play Donegal, Narin and you are close to Rosses Point Sligo which is a brilliant course.
    All those hotels/towns are on the WAW and views of the Sea


  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ thewobbler


    Snotty wrote: »
    Depending on how many nights you are over, I would stay one or two nights just at the Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel and play 2xBallyliffin and maybe Northwest.
    Couple of nights at Rossapena hotel and play 2xRosspena courses and maybe Portsalon.
    Another base could be Bundoran, play Donegal, Narin and you are close to Rosses Point Sligo which is a brilliant course.
    All those hotels/towns are on the WAW and views of the Sea

    This is pretty close to what I’d recommend. Though I’d drop Bundoran and head for Rosses Point (Raddison) instead of your 3rd suggestion. As well as Co Sligo on your doorstep, Strandhill Is only 20 mins away, Enniscrone about an hour. And a much nicer base for the missus than Bundoran.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭ Snotty


    thewobbler wrote: »
    This is pretty close to what I’d recommend. Though I’d drop Bundoran and head for Rosses Point (Raddison) instead of your 3rd suggestion. As well as Co Sligo on your doorstep, Strandhill Is only 20 mins away, Enniscrone about an hour. And a much nicer base for the missus than Bundoran.

    Stay in Enniscrone and play Carne :)
    Seen it's golf in Donegal I was trying not to take them too far away from the beautiful county


  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ thewobbler


    Snotty wrote: »
    Stay in Enniscrone and play Carne :)
    Seen it's golf in Donegal I was trying not to take them too far away from the beautiful county

    It’s a fair point. But seeing as Sligo as closer to Bundoran than most towns in Donegal are, it might be worth considering.

    Actually if it was an 11 hour drive through a treacherous mountain pass I’d probably still recommend it over Bundoran!


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 CoachKK76


    I was over 2 summers ago and played Connemara. Would go back there, but not as many quality course choices nearby. [Over 60 and I am not the most comfortable driving.] If these courses are similar to Connemara, I may want to stay longer than the week we have planned.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    CoachKK76 wrote: »
    I was over 2 summers ago and played Connemara. Would go back there, but not as many quality course choices nearby. [Over 60 and I am not the most comfortable driving.] If these courses are similar to Connemara, I may want to stay longer than the week we have planned.

    Have played most and they are at least as good as Connemara. Hard to get away from driving though.
    You maybe best to do Rosepanna and Ballyliffin as u will be able to stay in that area for a couple of days before moving on.
    Most of the coast is on the WAW so not going to miss it.

    https://www.thegolfpa.com/ireland-amateur-tournaments

    Check out if any of these fit in with your trip, all can usually be booked without accommodation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭ Kevinmarkham


    CoachKK76 wrote: »
    I was over 2 summers ago and played Connemara. Would go back there, but not as many quality course choices nearby. [Over 60 and I am not the most comfortable driving.] If these courses are similar to Connemara, I may want to stay longer than the week we have planned.

    The first response is probably what you're after, Coach.
    3 nights in Ballyliffin.
    Ballyliffin has two glorious courses and it's not far from Malin Head, our most northerly point. I'm a big fan of North West - a very subtle links.
    3-4 nights in Rosapenna (Downings is the village).
    Rosapenna has a big hotel as part of the resort and 45 holes. Tom Doak is currently building a new 18 next door. Portsalon is a must, above a beautiful long beach. The 2nd hole is one of the best in the country. You could also take a drive along the WAW to Cruit Island - a 9-hole links that your wife will want to walk with you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 CoachKK76


    Kevin Markham: looked at your photo albums for several of the courses mentioned. Very good stuff - lovely & helpful. [Makes me want to go right now.]

    If I sign up as a single, can I count on the course filling out a foursome? How crowded/not crowded will in be in early October?

    From the photos, I can see courses have yardage markers: do all/most have them? (I will probably bring my range finder.)

    From the pics I see some courses are much more bumpy than others in the fairway. And some look tighter than others - Sandy Hills/Rosepenna looked terrific but tight.

    My plan is to walk. Maybe get a caddy one (1) time. Any courses that are less arduous than others?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 781 ✭✭✭ thewobbler


    Northwest is flat and short. All on the one level.

    Rossapenna Tom Morris is flat and short-ish. One raised tee box around 13 but apart from that you’ll only be climbing if you’re aiming sideways!

    Sandy Hills is a bit of an optical illusion. There’s plenty of dips and hollows, and a few raised tee boxes, but as you’re largely moving along a ridge of dunes, rather than up and down them, it’s not a grinding walk.

    Murvagh in Donegal town is also very flat, but is a long enough walk.


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