The Old Rosapenna Hotel and first Rosapenna links course designed by Old Tom Morris opened in 1893. Changes were made in 1906 when James Braid and Harry Vardon played an exhibition match, and made recommendations which added length and more detailed bunkering. Over a century later new holes known as The Strand nine were layed out by Pat Ruddy, and they replaced the back nine and were incorporated into the course. And later again Tom Doak’s Renaissance Design reinvigorated the Strand nine which them became the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Links
In 2003 The Sandy Hills Links opened as the second course at Rosapenna. The course had been designed by Pat Ruddy, and while acknowledged as a very good course, the knock was that the course was just too tight. American architect Beau Welling has in recent years been employed to widen the playing areas, and generally improve the course.
The new Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort now comprises the two championship links courses, a 60 bedroom hotel, a leisure centre, 9 hole academy course, 12 hole par 3 course, and extensive practice facilities. A recent acquisition has been the St Patricks Links GC- giving Rosapenna the chance to become a very special golfing destination.
The Old Tom Morris Links are routed though lower lying linksland, and not surprisingly display some of the characteristics of St Andrews Old Course as the fairways have serious ‘rumple’, to match the quality of the Old Tom greens.
The front nine of the current course is routed in smaller dunes away from the sea, and this is the nine Pat Ruddy/ Renaissance Design have contributed to. Slightly more modern looking this nine should be your starter at Rosapenna. The back nine is routed along the seafront with a number of holes touching the beach. It does not have the visual impact of The Old Course at St Andrews as there is no gorse, and the magnificent bunkering from the old course is absent- nevertheless there are similarities and it is a good links course in a pretty setting
Notable holes include:
the long par 4 twelfth hole play along the beach through bunkers either side of the fairway to a green with a right to left slope
the par 3 fourteenth hole hitting from the beach over a sea of rough to green framed by low dunes
the long par 4 fourteenth hole with it’s left to right camber and strategically positioned bunkers
the long par 3 seventeenth hole played over tussocks to a lovely punchbowl green
The Old Tom Links is classic links golf!
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