Donegal Golf Club, also known as Murvagh, is blessed with a glorious and beautiful setting - Rob Smith takes to its charms

Donegal Golf Club Course Review

County Donegal is a spectacularly beautiful and unspoiled region of Ireland with the lovely course at Donegal Golf Club a perfect place for golf…

The extreme north-western corner of Ireland is not quite so well known as some other parts of the country, but it’s a glorious area for scenery blessed with some superb golf including two clubs with pairs of courses, one in the Golf Monthly Top 100Rosapenna and Ballyliffin. A little further west and south, the Eddie Hackett course at Murvagh, Donegal, is a must-play for any golfing tour of the area and is a firm favourite in the Next 100 Courses.

With five three-shotters and a par of 73, it stretches to more than 7,400 yards from the championship tees but is a far more manageable proposition for golfers of all abilities from the variety of forward tees. The front nine encompasses the back nine, and begins with a reasonably gentle par 5.

Looking back to the clubhouse from behind the opening green

Looking back to the clubhouse from behind the opening green

Turning 90 degrees to the left, the second heads straight into a westerly breeze and is a far tougher proposition.

The green at the tough, par-4 second is well protected

The green at the tough, par-4 second is well protected

Holes three and four then take you to the furthest point of the course and a sublime par 3 to a slightly raised green nestling in the dunes. This immediately became one of my favourite holes in Ireland… and not just because I managed a rare, regulation par.

The beautifully sited green at five, Valley of Tears

The beautifully sited green at five, Valley of Tears

The next three holes run back down along the western edge of the course, bordering a beautiful and vast sandy beach.

The approach to the seventh hole

The approach to the seventh hole

The par-4 seventh is one of several holes that have been remodelled by the renowned architect Pat Ruddy.

Looking back down the seventh with the twelfth on the right

Looking back down the seventh with the twelfth on the right

There is a very inviting drive from the elevated eighth tee, and this lovely par 5 offers the chance of a much-needed birdie before you return to the clubhouse via a slight dogleg to the right.

The par-5 eighth, Moyne Hill

The par-5 eighth, Moyne Hill

The back nine is also full of enjoyable golf, albeit in a slightly less dramatic setting than the front nine. It opens with a couple of gentle par 4s before the longest hole on the course, the par-5 twelfth.

The tenth green with the eighth fairway beyond

The tenth green with the eighth fairway beyond

Nominally the easiest hole on the course, thirteen is a very pretty par 3 with the lovely backdrop of the rolling hills of Donegal.

The par-3 thirteenth, the shortest hole on the course

The par-3 thirteenth, the shortest hole on the course

The fourteenth is the final and longest par 5 on the course where a snaking stream will pose questions for your second shot.

The approach to the strategic par-5 fourteenth

The approach to the strategic par-5 fourteenth

The finishing four holes loop round closer to the clubhouse, my favourite of which is the dogleg right-to-left seventeenth which has more fine views over water and the hills beyond.

The penultimate hole, a slight dogleg left

The penultimate hole, a slight dogleg left

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and the welcome at Donegal, and my one suggestion would be to swap the two nines round leading to a more dramatic, but probably tougher, finish. Regardless, it is a lovely course in a glorious setting and deserves to be better known.

The magical setting of Murvagh

The magical setting of Murvagh

No matter how you play, the views that surround the course will keep you enchanted from start to finish.