Narin & Portnoo Golf Club was founded in 1930 by a group of local men and a 9 hole links course was developed with design accredited to Hughie McNeil & Leo Wallace.
The members themselves extended the course to 18 holes in 1965.
A further significant redevelopment of the course was undertaken in 2004 by Eddie Connaughton in keeping with the club's wishes to retain the natural and classic character of the old house
Narin & Portnoo Golf Club is located in a delightful seaside resort in south west Donegal. The site is surrounded by the Atlantic Coast on one side, with sweeping views of Gweebarra Bay, and a picturesque lough on the other. As many classic links course do, Narin & Portnoo starts quietly with the first four holes routed through low lying flattish land before building through some lower dunes and coming to a crescendo with some dramatic holes in large dunes with glorious views. The course finishes with some pure links holes in smaller dunes. Overall the course has a very natural feel, and is cleverly routed to get best use of the dunes and views.
The green complexes are simple, natural and have enough movement to retain the golfer's interest. There are quite a number of world class holes, none of which have been overdone. In particular:
- hole 7, a par 3 from one high dune to another over a cavernous gully of long grass. The views over the coast from this point are stunning. This is the start of the dramatic holes that define the course
- hole 8 is a short downhill par 4 with a green set on the point of a peninsula. The approach shot is thrilling simply because of the shimmering ocean backdrop, and classic green complex.
- hole 9 has a tee extending off the peninsula, and from this tee you hit over the 8th green to a fairway that rises back up the dunes, and then down to another nice green overlooking the sea.
- hole 10 is a strong par 5 through large dunes, heading away from the coastline. The heaving fairway winds to the right and then through two large dunes to a very impressive natural looking green complex. It is a really tough hole and despite being a par 5 rates as the second hardest hole on the course.
- hole 11 is a longish par 3 set high on the dunes overlooking the beach. It's a lovely links hole
- hole 14 is another wonderful par 5 beautifully and very naturally framed between dunes either side of the fairway, and up to a raised green. It is an impressive hole
- hole 15 is another par 5 and the third in a row- most unusual in my opinion. Nevertheless it is a great setting as the hole runs parallel and overlooks the beach for the entire right hand side of the hole. And because the hole is elevated and exposed to any sea breezes, it's narrow fairways make it a challenging hole
When it comes to golf courses, I am a sucker for natural links courses. Narin & Portnoo is as natural as they come. The setting is gorgeous and the course is a joy to play with a succession of world class holes. It qualifies as a 'Travelling Golfer must play!'
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