Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
18 holes. Seaside links. Undulating terrain - several slopes to climb.
Pat Ruddy with input from owner Frank Casey Snr.
Above distances are for the Sandy Hills Links. Also at Rosapenna is the 18-hole Old Tom Morris Links (par-71, 6915 yards) and 9-hole Coastguard course (par-32, 2497 yards).
70 km NW of Derry (Londonderry)
From Letterkenny, take the N56 direction Dunfanaghy. After 24 km turn right onto the R245 direction Carrickart (aka Carrigart or Carraig Airt). After 10.2 km, just before Carrickart village and its church, turn left direction Rosapenna. After 1.6 km turn left at T-junction onto R248. After 1.5 km turn left into Rosapenna Golf Pavillion.
Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort (Sandy Hills Links): Rosapenna underwent something of a transformation in the early-2000s when the original Old Tom Morris Links (aka the Old Links) was joined by the newer Sandy Hills Links. The "new kid on the block" was designed by Pat Ruddy of the European Club, who crafted a full-blooded, through-the-dunes links layout, which is both challenging and breathtakingly natural.
On the front-nine of this modern out-and-back links layout there are many exacting drives to make between the marram grass-covered dunes. On a few occasions there's only a marker post to guide your way. Space to land the ball opens up and closes down unexpectedly, especially on your first visit.
The back-nine is a tad more forgiving, but just a tad mind you. With a constantly undulating layout, fairways that swirl and tumble, mischievous greenside pot bunkers and usually fast, firm greens, all the ingredients of great links golf are here in abundance.
Flanked for the most part by the Old Tom Morris Links, Sandy Hills is a spectacular layout that has matured into a true Irish links classic. Don't be surprised if there's just you and your playing partners in sight. For much of the time you'll be tucked-in amongst the towering sand dunes, with opportunities to take-in spectacular views over the neighbouring Old Tom Morris course and beautiful Sheephaven Bay.
Pick of the holes: romping across the interior dunes, the best stretch of Sandy Hills arguably lies between the 6th and 13th. The par-4 6th is located at the southern end of the course, requiring a drive over a crest that reveals a picture-postcard view of the crescent of Tramore Beach with Muckish Mountain straight ahead. The par-3 7th plays downhill to a sliver of green peeking out from the dunes, while the par-5 8th leads inland, at first tumbling downhill, then climbing toward the backdrop of Carrigart and the Lough Salt Mountains in the distance. Towering dunes continue as you tee-up at the par-4 9th, and start the winding journey back to Rosapenna's impressive Golf Pavilion.
Stay & Play at Rosapenna: luxury onsite accommodation available, see Where2Stay section below.
Visitors welcome on weekdays and weekends.
Must book in advance. Proof of handicap may be requested.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, Stay&Play packages, etc. [Last updated: 2019].
Non-metal spike facility. Players generally walk this course. Golf carts available for hire. Caddies available (if pre-booked).
The undoubted popularity of the area around the village of Rosapenna can be seen in the growth of all manner of activities on offer, including water-skiing, jet-skiing, yachting, dinghy sailing, diving, deep-sea fishing and river fishing, as well as swimming in a safe seaside environment.
To the south of Rosapenna are the two courses of St Patrick's Golf Links: the Maheramagorgan course designed by Eddie Hackett in 1982, and the Trá Mór course designed by Joanne O'Haire in 1993. Both courses are currently closed and lie dormant, but may re-open at a later date under the ownership of the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort.
Sandy Hills Links:
GB&I: 73rd best course in Britain & Ireland (Golf World, 2020/21).
Ireland: 17th best course in Ireland (Golf World, 2019).
Sheephaven Bay, Downings, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal F92 PN73.
+353 (0)74 915 5301Visit website
Located on the edge of the picturesque Sheephaven Bay, Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort offers an onsite luxury hotel, two great championship courses (Old Tom Morris Links and Sandy Hills Links), excellent practice facilities, a stunning bayview restaurant and much more.
Rosapenna is an excellent venue for a golfing break or just a quiet getaway in this beautiful corner of Donegal. The very efficient and friendly staff ensure that golfers and non-golfers alike will enjoy their time at Rosapenna - an excellently run hotel in one of Ireland's most up and coming golf and holiday destinations.
Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris Links and Sandy Hills courses)
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