Tucked away in the southwest corner of Donegal, Narin & Portnoo Links is a golf course that deserves to be bracketed with many other natural, unspoilt courses that should be given greater recognition. In truth, the members probably prefer it that way as it doesn’t require hordes of tourist golfers fronting up at the first tee to confirm what a good course they play on.
The club was formed in 1930 and they played on a 9-hole layout for thirty-five years until it was extended to its current 18-hole size in 1965. The first green keeper, Jim McCole, held the post for over forty years, from 1934 to 1977 – it’s hearing about people like him that provide a flavour for what clubs like Narin and Portnoo are all about.
At 5355 metres, the 18-hole course may not be considered as a particularly long test of golf but when the wind blows it is certainly a good challenge for golfers of all handicaps. With six par 3’s, one needs to be striking the irons well, play the par 3’s well and you are well on your way to a good score. Narin and Portnoo is yet another delightful links in the Donegal chain.
After limbering up on the opening few holes, the routing takes you into the dunes where some spectacular holes have been fashioned, none more so that the 7th, the signature 143-yard par three, played over a chasm to a two tiered green on an adjacent sand hill. And speaking of sand hills, be sure to have your camera on hand to snap this hole with the backdrop of what must be the biggest sand dune in all of Ireland across the bay.
The club have revamped the course in the last few years, fashioning a new 6th hole from the old 6th and 7th then remodelling the old holes from 11 to 15 – in the process creating three back-to-back par fives between hole 13 and 15! Additionally, the Narin & Portnoo clubhouse has been completely rebuilt, opening in June 2008.
To conclude, a warm friendly welcome awaits visitors and societies to Narin & Portnoo Golf Club and it is ideal for year-round golf. And if you want to know what is a Links click here.