Rosapenna – 125 Years of History and Tradition

2018 marked the 125 Year anniversary of the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort. Visit once … stay forever

Old Tom Morris Golf Ball Search

Old Tom Morris Golf Ball Search – Divers have begun a search in Donegal for what they believe could be some of the world’s rarest golf balls.The gutta percha balls once belonged to golfing legend Old Tom Morris, who won the Open four times in the 1860s. It is believed the balls have been lying at the bottom of one of the county’s deepest lakes for 120 years. “It really is like looking for a needle in a haystack but if we find the golf balls it’ll be well worth the effort,” said dive leader Gus O’Driscoll.

The team started searching Lough Salt, near Kilmacrennan, last month. They believe that Old Tom Morris drove up to 20 golf balls into the lake while he was designing the nearby Rosapenna golf course in 1891.

From St Andrews in Scotland, he was a player, club maker, green keeper and course designer who helped set up the Open. In the last two decades of the 19th Century he was regarded as the most famous golfer alive. He was brought over from Scotland by Lord Leitrim to design the 18-hole links course through the sand dunes outside Downings.

A statue of Old Tom Morris overlooks Rosapenna golf course in Downings “We’ve carried out some research and spoke to local people whose parents were around when Tom Morris was here and they told us how he stood up on the hill overlooking Lough Salt and drove the balls into the lake,” said Gus.

“It soon became a tradition after that for golfers on their way home from the Rosapenna to stop off and drive balls into the lake.

“That checks out because we’ve seen thousands of balls on the bottom of the lake and we have recovered some which date back to the 1940s and 50s.”

But the golf balls Gus and his team are searching for are no ordinary balls.

Known as gutta percha, they were designed in the 1840s and used by Old Tom Morris at the time when he won his Open titles.

“They are a very distinctive ball and should stand out amongst the others.Some of them have come up for auction before and sold for thousands of pounds. If we were to find some of the balls used by Old Tom Morris then they would be even more valuable. If we do get lucky and find one then we are going to donate it to the Rosapenna Golf Course because they’re his link with this part of Ireland.”

This article appeared on BBC website

Portsalon twins with Headforth

Portsalon twins with Headforth

Headfort and Portsalon join forces in twinning initiative

Headforth Golf Club in Kells, Co Meath and Portsalon in Co Donegal are to join forces this Friday in a “twinning” of the two golf courses.

Members from Portsalon are travelling down to the Headfort club where the official announcement will be made following a mixed competition.

The twinning of the clubs – which are 140 miles and three hours journey apart – will have benefits for members of both clubs.

Headfort boast two wonderful courses – Headfort New, rated as the best parkland in Leinster and one of the top 10 in Ireland, and Headfort Old an all-time gem, while Portsalon – which is being continually developed under the guidance of Paul McGinley – is a stunning links course which is rated number 27 in the top 100 courses in Ireland by Golf Digest.

Portsalon twins with Headforth
The link up between the clubs will allow members to enjoy the facilities of the other club free of charge should they visit, while members from both clubs can play their respective Open competitions at members’ rates.

Work on the deal between the clubs has been done over the past two years and Headfort marketing convenor John Griffin is delighted with the link-up.

It is a fantastic new benefit for Headfort members and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a links experience in a beauty spot well known to many Headfort members

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Portsalon Golf Club

Donegal and the Irish Open

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD recently urged members of the Donegal tourism industry to take full advantage of all the opportunities presented by the Irish Open which will be held in the nearby Royal Portrush Golf Club from 28th June – 1st July, saying “It is imperative that as the cream of golfing journalism descends on Antrim to cover the event that we take advantage of their proximity to win some reflective glory.”

  • Fáilte Ireland is endeavouring to leverage the event to the full benefit of Donegal by rolling out the following initiatives:
  • Top golfing journalists will be invited to visit the region and sample local golf product.
  • A special twelve-page supplement is planned to run on the 19th April in advance of the Open, promoting Donegal, Ballyliffin, Rosapenna etc as a top-class golf destination.

Fáilte Ireland’s Golf website will have a dedicated Irish Open page where it will promote golf and other tourism offers available in the northwest during the event.

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Golf in Donegal

golf in Donegal

golf in Donegal

Golf in Donegal

Portsalon Golf Club
In a remote and beautiful setting, Portsalon is a true hidden treasure. A marvellous links on the Fanad peninsula, Portsalon provides a bracing opening 3 holes before continuing through traditional linksland with a variety of fine holes. A major redesign project, undertaken by the renowned architect Pat Ruddy, has been completed (2003) and will propel Portsalon into the premier league of Irish links courses.


Rosapenna Golf Club
Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris and later improved by James Braid and Harry Vardon, Rosapenna is a charming links. The first ten holes play along Sheephaven Bay between the beach and a range of tall sand dunes. The last eight play inland and uphill in meadow where the high grounds present distracting and delightful views. The 2003 addition of the Sandy Hills course provides another 36-hole facility in Ireland’s North West.


Click here to view all golf courses in Donegal

Rathmullan House Hotel

Ballyliffin Golf Club

Ballyliffin Golf Club has recently been described as “the Ballybunion of the North” – and its not hard to see why. Located a short distance from Malin Head on the scenic Inishowen Peninsula, Ireland’s most northerly golf links covers 365 acres of magnificent duneland and is bounded by rolling hills and mountains – the only other boundary is the Atlantic Ocean.
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T: +353 (0)74 9376119

Ballyliffin Golf Club has two superb 18 hole courses – the classic Old Links and the wonderful new Glashedy Links. The Glashedy Links makes the most of a genuinely spectacular location. Designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, it has been laid out on mostly higher ground above and beyond the Old Links.

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The views from both courses are breath-taking. Glashedy – named after Ballyliffin’s own “Ailsa Craig – measures over 7,000 yards from the Championship tees with large undulating greens, deep bunkers and fairways that twist and roll between towering dunes. The challenge presented by the Glashedy Links is almost as formidable as it is exciting.

In June 1993 Nick Faldo visited Ballyliffin and described The Old Links as the most natural golf course he had ever seen. The Old Links is a classically old style links. It exudes charm, character and curiosity in equal measure. More than anything, it is the extraordinary terrain that makes a golf game on the Old Links such a unique experience – stand on any tee and the fairway undulates in each and every direction. The principal architect of the links was none other than Mother Nature heself.

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