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 100, Rosapenna 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.
Turning 90 degrees to the left, the second heads straight into a westerly breeze and is a far tougher proposition.
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 next three holes run back down along the western edge of the course, bordering a beautiful and vast sandy beach.
The par-4 seventh is one of several holes that have been remodelled by the renowned architect Pat Ruddy.
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 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.
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 fourteenth is the final and longest par 5 on the course where a snaking stream will pose questions for your second shot.
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.
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.
No matter how you play, the views that surround the course will keep you enchanted from start to finish.