Letterkenny Golf Club,
Designer: Eddie Hackett, Declan Branigan
Championship Length: 6,274 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 70
Letterkenny Golf Club is set in the beautiful natural woodland habitat of Barnhill Estate, County Donegal. The course is the ideal parkland supplement to any exploration of the excellent array of Donegal links courses which are all within an hours drive.
Approaching the elevated first tee box, the visitor is greeted by views of Lough Swilly and environs, through a corridor of natural hard wood trees including beech, native Irish oak, sycamore and birch. The next four holes hug the banks of Lough Swilly, providing panoramic views across a natural wildlife habitat, where wild geese, swans, seals, buzzards, owls, kingfishers and curlews can regularly be spotted. But do not be distracted by Mother Nature for there is more to ‘Barnhill’ than meets the eye. This is an exciting golf challenge that has left 3-time Ryder Cup winner, Paul McGinley craving yet more local knowledge.
The long Par 4 sixth, doglegs past a lake and two bunkers towards a small testing green. The 7th is a wonderful expanse of trees, fairway, lakes and bunkers and represents all that is unique about Barnhill. From the championship tee, the Par 3 eighth is a 180 yard shot to a two-tiered green, carrying water for much of the way. The journey back through the hillside woodland begins at the 11th, where the tricky elevated green is hidden. Another long par 3, the thirteenth, sits proudly on a crest, surrounded by an abundance of shrubbery including eucalyptus and rhododendron. Fourteen and fifteen are both doglegs, with notoriously deceiving greens, and the 16th is perhaps the signature hole. This uphill par 3 is protected by the deepest bunker on the course, and guards an undulating multi-tiered green. The 18th has a large downhill fairway, which twists and turns toward a green which is beautifully positioned amid a clearing in the woods.
Few of Irelands many parkland courses can claim to have the naturally tranquil setting, and abundance of mature woodland and wildlife that can be found at Barnhill. This is an ideal course for providing parkland variety, while touring the famous Donegal links circuit.