How much of the golf course Old Tom originally staked out is not really clear but it is probably minimal at best. The newer holes (1 to 9) which opened in 2009 are quite similar to the Sandyhills course although not as dramatic nor as penal – this can be viewed as a good thing, especially if you are playing both courses in the same day. However, there is still plenty of exhilarating golf to be had where we must drive through funnels, hit over chasms and use the dune slopes to work our ball onto the greens.
Meanwhile, the back-nine (predominantly attributed to Harry Colt although Harry Vardon and James Braid also had involvement) is a much more classic and subtler affair where the ground game dominates. The inward half is very much at ease with itself and is my preferred style of golf and in the case of holes 12, 13 and 14 my perfect type if links golf! In fact these three holes are right out of the very top drawer; a central bunker in the middle of the undulating 12th fairway dictates the strategy whilst at the risk-reward next the wickedly sloping green can easily turn a good birdie chance into a bogey or worse. And then at the very far end of the links we have a peach of a short hole played to a wonderful green set on a plateau across a valley.
The run for home is also very good on this par 71 course which can play up to 6,867 yards.
I get the feeling that Rosapenna is still a bit of a work in progress – not that the courses feel unfinished by any stretch of the imagination – just that it will be fine tuned over the coming years to potentially create one of the best golfing destination venues in the British Isles.
Read the review of Rosapenna (St. Patrick's) here.
Read the review of Rosapenna (Coastguard) here.
Read the review of Rosapenna (Sandyhills) here.
The game of golf has the ability to take you on amazing journeys to the most wondrous places where you meet such interesting people.
It was an impulsive, crazy… and some would say utterly ridiculous… decision that took me to The Machrie in the Spring of 2018.