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Portsalon Golf Club,
Designer: Mother Nature, Pat Ruddy
Championship Length: 5880 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 70
Portsalon Golf Club is set on one of the most northern reaching parts of Donegal on the shores of Ballymastocker Bay, alongside a beach recently voted the "second most beautiful beach in the world". Like Rosapenna and Narin & Portnoo, Portsalon is not an internationally renowned golf course. What Portsalon is however, is a seriously good golf links with roots in the 19th century, located in some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable and offering stunning views.
This is what Irish golf is all about. Portsalon represents a throwback to what the great courses such as Ballybunion and Lahinch were like before they became recognised the world over and before demand for tee times grew beyond their wildest dreams. The course simply exudes character and charm, does not suffer from any pretensions of greatness and offers all visitors a warm welcome and the opportunity (lest we forget) to play a marvelous links.
Though Ireland has many great hidden golfing gems, Portsalon can legitimately lay claim to being Ireland's best kept golfing secret. With heather clad mountains plunging into the deep blue waters of the bay, Portsalon has few peers with regard to scenic splendour. The opening hole is an uphill dogleg around a cliff and is followed by a par three of some 196 yards over water to a green that juts into the bay. The 3rd hole, unchanged since 1891 is a downhill par four played across and along the beach to a green guarded by two ancient rock formations. It is an exhilarating start and so it continues at Portsalon, with fairways and greens threading through sand dunes untouched by the course of time.
Portsalon has received many great reviews over the years and with its fantastic new course is once again catching the eye of the many visitors at the magnificent links course overlooking Lough Swilly and great backdrop of Knockalla Mountain.