off Rte 261,
Portnoo, Co. Donegal
18 holes. Seaside links. Undulating terrain - several slopes to climb.
The layout evolved over the years from a nine-hole layout (1930) to a full 18 (1965), with inputs from Hughie McNeill, Leo Wallace and various members. Improvements made by Eddie Connaughton (2004). Significant modifications by Gil Hanse & Jim Wagner of Hanse Golf Design (2018).
9 mk N of Ardara / 12 km NW of Glenties / 89 km W of Derry (Londonderry).
Narin & Portnoo Links is situated alongside the small seaside resort of Narin in County Donegal. With several oceanside holes and sweeping views of Gweebarra Bay, the layout here is considered one of the most scenic in Ireland.
Throughout the years, golfers coming to Narin & Portnoo have been captivated by the scenery and golfing challenges laid down by this duneland gem. With significant recent changes made by Gil Hanse, there's even more reason to tee it up at these impressive links.
Most of the holes on this par-70 out-and-back layout meander over and around the wild and rugged dunes. The right-to-left doglegging 4th and 5th holes transition you from the flatter early holes, into some wonderfully scenic and undulating duneland terrain. The stretch from 6 to 11 is sublime. Better views (and holes) you cannot wish for, with sandy bays, craggy shorelines and the open ocean dominating the scene.
Plenty of craft and improvisation will be needed in your shot-making, with draws around sharp dog-legs, crisp irons to short par-3s, and straigh drives down snaking fairways (some wide and some not so generous). Deft putting is required on the large mercurial greens.
Two short par-3s in the last four holes, with a seriously long par-5 to finish, may not provide the layout's most memorable sequence, but they are very capable of sorting out the winners and losers in a tight match. That said, the straightaway par-4 16th serves up another oceanside treat.
Pick of the holes: surrounded by natural scenic splendour and lovely bay views, the tough par-3 6th plays over a cavernous grassy bowl to a plateau green. Up next is the gorgeous short par-4 7th played to a sunken bayside green.
Visitors welcome on weekdays and weekends.
Must book in advance.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2023].
Players generally walk this course.
With a change of name from "Golf Club" to "Links" around 2019, Narin & Portnoo also took the opportunity to introduce a new logo. The crescent shaped logo depicts a Bronze Age neck-piece (lunula) crafted in gold. Dating from 2000 BC, the pendant was found in Narin, and is now on display in the National Museum in Dublin. Such pendant's were usually worn by girls in Ancient Rome (boys wore a bulla), but examples of these amulets have also been found in Ireland.
The club's earlier logo was also focused on the historic roots of the area. Either side of a cross, which signified the area’s religious heritage, the crest featured several local historic monuments and artefacts. These included the 4,000-year old dolmen (tomb) at Kilclooney, a circular island fort on Loughadoon (known as O’Boyle’s Fort or ‘The Bawan’), and the early gold lunula (see above).
The neighbouring town of Narin (also pronounced and spelt Naran) is a small but popular holiday destination.
Ireland: 24th best course in Ireland (Golf World, 2023).
The Diamond, Ardara, Co. Donegal.
+353 (0)74 95 41103Visit website
Built in 1838 the Nesbitt Arms Hotel takes its name from the last whaling family in Ireland, and is located at the heart of the heritage town of Ardara. Refurbished in 2004, the hotel has an excellent reputation for the quality of its food, accommodation and service. The hotel offers 50 ensuite bedrooms, all of which are decorated and furnished to a high standard. Rooms suited to families and people with special needs are also available.
Narin & Portnoo (10 km)
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To secure the best rates and ensure availability, it's recommended to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak golfing season.
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