Portsalon Golf Club

Portsalon, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Located in one of the northernmost parts of Donegal, Portsalon Golf Club is home to a little known golfing gem. It might not stay a secret for much longer though, as the northwest of Ireland has become increasingly well known for its golf.

The course at Portsalon Golf Club dates back to 1891 and has been likened to courses such as Ballybunion and Lahinch before they became recognized the world over. The green fees at Portsalon Golf Club are considerably more modest too.

Portsalon was originally designed by Charles Thompson, a professional from the then-titled County Club at Portrush. Pat Ruddy orchestrated an extensive redesign of the course in 2000, leaving only five holes unchanged and adding another nine. The redesign also stretched Portsalon’s yardage from just under 6,000 to a daunting 7,000-plus.

The course’s third hole was one Ruddy left alone, and it’s a good thing he did. Unchanged since 1891, this hole makes full use of one of Portsalon’s most notable features: the golden, sandy beaches of Ballymastocker Bay.

On this downhill par four, the ball is played across and along the beach to a green guarded by two ancient rock formations. It’s a hole that’s just tricky enough for players to still be able to stop and appreciate the abundance of natural beauty that’s to be found there.