Rosapenna (Sandy Hills)

Rosapenna (Sandy Hills)

Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Golf Resort

Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Golf Resort | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

Rosapenna Golf Resort is home to three courses, all of which have their own charms and challenges. The venue, situated in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland, has been the host of the Old Tom Morris Links since 1893.

Since the turn of the millennium, the Sandy Hills Links and the St Patrick’s Links have both been incorporated into the venue’s 54-hole lay-out. The venue also features a luxury hotel to provide a great golf break in Donegal.

The Sandy Hills Links was incorporated into the Rosapenna Golf Resort in 2003, laid out by Pat Ruddy of European Club fame.

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A Brief History of Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Golf Resort

Rosapenna's history dates back to the 19th Century, with the Old Tom Morris Links being designed and constructed in the 1890s. 

It was more than a century before Rosapenna had a second course in its repertoire. That is the Sandy Hills Links. The course, designed by Pat Ruddy and Frank Casey Snr, opened in 2003, and makes its way through the dunescape of the region.

The resort has gone on to construct a third course, the St Patrick Links. Tom Doak was the man to design the St Patrick, which only opened following the return of golf after the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2021.

Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Review | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

The Sandy Hills Links at Rosapenna measure at more than 7,250 yards from the tips, making it a challenge for even the biggest of hitters. The narrow fairways wind in and amongst the dunes of the region, with those dunes featuring plenty of marram grass to entangle your clubs if you get off-line.

The majority of the holes on the course run either north and south, parallel to the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Links. It kicks off with a par-5, and it is one that is reachable and offers up an early birdie chance. After a long par-4, the 3rd is the opening par-3 on the property, with a lengthy carry over a valley required. 

4, 5 and 6 are a string of dog-leg par-4s, with each one slightly longer than the last. The par-3 7th is the southernmost hole on the course, and is followed by the second par-5, the 8th. The front nine closes out with a straight away par-4 down the east side of the property.

The back nine begins with the 10th, which takes golfers into the centre of the course, one that sees 11, 12 and 13 wind around themselves. The last of those, the 13th, is the opening par-5 on the back nine and is a dog-leg to the right.

14 and 15 sit next to each other, travelling in opposite directions, before the par-3 16th, the last short hole on the course. 17 and 18 take you back north to the clubhouse, with the penultimate hole being the final par-5, and a great birdie opportunity late in the round. 

Rosapenna’s Other Courses

The Old Tom Morris Links and the St Patrick’s Links are two very different beasts. The Old Tom Morris Links, named after the great man himself, who designed the original lay-out of the property.

It was opened in 1893, and has since undergone changes, including the new Strand Nine, which opened at Rosapenna to replace the original back nine. Like Sandy Hill, Pat Ruddy from the European Club was the man to design the new nine holes, which are now played as the front nine on the Old Tom Morris Links Course. 

The St Patrick’s Links is the newest course at Rosapenna, opening in 2021. Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design finalised the design of the lay-out eight years earlier, with construction beginning in 2018. Work continued following lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the course being opened a year after. 

Where is Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Golf Resort located?

Rosapenna Golf Resort is situated in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland, around 20 minutes from the nearest town of Milford. The resort is situated approximately an hour from the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

For international visitors, Donegal Airport is around an hour away from Rosapenna to the southwest, with the City of Derry Airport just over the border in Northern Ireland, around 90 minutes away. 

For those coming from further afield, Belfast International Airport is the best hub in the north of the island, and is around 100 miles from Rosapenna by car.

What are the green fees at Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Golf Resort?

The green fee for the Sandy Hills Links at the Rosapenna Golf Resort is €150, the same as the Old Tom Morris Links. You can then get a ‘Replay Rate’, to play the same course on the same day again for €100.

The most expensive of the three courses is the St Patrick’s Links, which would set you back €200 for a round during the summer months.

The resort also has plenty of amenities for hire. Electric buggies are €50 per round, while an electric trolley is €20 per round. A push trolley will only cost €5 per round. You can also hire a caddy if you let Rosapenna know in advance. That will cost €75 per bag and hire clubs will cost €50 per day if you require.

Visit Rosapenna's website here.
Go back to the NCG Top 100s Homepage.