Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide 2010…The Irish Times’ Philip Reid’s Favourite Eight Irish Golf Courses…Narin & Portnoo ranked 7th.
“Portnoo is the real deal in links golf, a 6,800-yard course of championship calibre, yet still invitingly unpretentious…unique for not two, but THREE outstanding par-5 holes, all back-to-back. The 15th hole is the rarest of seaside gems, a long hole of such scenic splendour and challenge that it comes with a tiara. Only the 11th at Ballybunion, and 13th on Pat Ruddy’s European Club, may be serious rivals. Here is a precious stone waiting to be polished, the last true links for which mother nature was the main architect…a roller-coaster ride over humps, bumps and jumps to greens that look like beads on a giant tray. Here nothing grows higher than a wild rose, but that’s how the game has always been at Portnoo, unconventional and full of surprises; as tastily different as sirloin and salmon. For too long, this may have been the course that time forgot, but not any longer.”
Jack Magowan, Belfast Telegraph, June 21, 2008
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“From there, we played the Narin & Portnoo Golf Club. Any golfing trip to Ireland is a journey of discovery. Narin & Portnoo was to me like Burningbush was to Michael Murphy in his book Golf in the Kingdom. Tucked away in Ireland’s hidden coast, Narin & Portnoo was rustic, wild and yet so very authentic. Narin & Portnoo called on every type of shot (and every club), always providing for multiple options of how to approach the task at hand. Narin & Portnoo seemed from another golfing universe, worlds away from beverage carts and monolithic clubhouses.”
“Venturing into Ireland’s remote North and West” By Matt Adams, June 30, 2008
(Matt Adams is the host of the Fairways of Life show on the PGA Tour Network and a member of the live PGA Tour broadcast team, reporter and columnist for the Golf Channel and a New York Times best-selling author. For more information, visit www.FairwaysofLife.com.)
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“Portnoo has always had a charm and a touch of romance but now there’s more. Previously it had six par threes; now there are four. The two that remain untouched are certainly two of the best short holes in Irish golf. With a few minor changes, this course will rank in the very top grouping of Irish links courses. It is well worth the journey to play here – don’t miss it”
Golf Monthly Magazine, March 2008
Awarded a Gold Medal by Golf Monthly Magazine in October 2007.
“Recent changes to this course have transformed it into a tough and long par 73. The views are simply fabulous and the terrain is pure links. The standard of the putting surfaces throughout the year is excellent and although the greens are rarely very fast, they are always true. The rest of the course is now maintained to a very high standard”.
Tim Browne, Golf Monthly panellist, November 2007
“Its a links course to be reckoned with, espically from the 4th on. The quiet flat start will fool many, but stand on the 2nd tee and look high into the far dunes on your left. Yes, that is a flag you see and it will send a tingle down your spine. It belongs to the 14th. The holes caught up in the big dunes (the 5th to 11th and the 14th to 16th) are of a quality you cannot appriciate until you play them. The 7th to 11th may be te best run of holes inIreland, dancing around the dunes and along the waters edge – it starts and finishes with tremendous par 3s. The 7th hits from dune top to dune top…… The 8th and 9th mark this course for greatness, while the two new par 5s – the 14th and 15th – are superb: the 14th rocks its way between lines of dunes while the 15th, above the beach, is mouth-watering. Dispite its remoteness, there is a vision here” “89 out of 100″
Kevin Markham, “Hooked – An Amateur’s Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland”, Collins Press 2009.
Selected as one of the ten best value-for-money courses in Ireland for 40 euro and under:
“It seems there is a new awareness among many clubs that to survive and be healthy, more value for money needs to be on offer. For instance, that wonderfully old links at Narin and Portnoo outside Ardara in Co Donegal has come up with a “weekly green fee pass” for €150 which offers tremendous value for holidaymakers…The bottom line, though, is that while many aspects of golf in Ireland may be on the pricey side, there is also good quality and good value for money if you look for it.
Old-fashioned, with a meandering route that works its way through magnificent dunes, Narin and Portnoo is one of those gems worth the journey to discover. This is a course that will test, and leave ever-lasting memories. It requires you to draw around sharp doglegs, and to hit pure shots to narrow fairways defined by the natural sand hills and equally pure shots to raised greens. This is links as it used to be, raw and beautiful. Watch for – the par four 8th, a wild, downhill hole that runs out to the north Atlantic.”
Philip Reid, Irish Times, April 10, 2007
It’s a very good golf course…it’s no tuppence-ha’penny links. It’s a good test and if a wind comes up, it’s a hell of a test and that makes it for me. I would say most of the professionals love playing it.”
Christy O’Connor Senior
“Another Donegal nugget.”
Greg Allen, RTE Broadcaster, Irish Times, October 24, 2006
“Hidden gem…Narin, Portnoo, absolute belter of a course.”
Bryn Cunningham, Ulster Rugby Star, Irish Times, June 6, 2006
“The views from just about anywhere on the course are stunning…The 10th hole is the perfect 10.”
David Jones, PGA Tour Professional, Sunday Life Newspaper, 2002
“Professionals rate [Narin and Portnoo] as one of the few remaining real links courses…it’s still sandy and it’s entirely natural…a place [professionals] love to go to for the enjoyment of the weekend more than competitive play, as such. The hospitality there is second to none.”
Bobby Browne, PGA Tour Professional
“Narin and Portnoo is yet another delightful links in the Donegal chain. One must wait till the 6th for the first view of the sea, but the panorama from the sandhill that houses the 8th tee says it all about Donegal. It is simply breathtaking! Across the bay are Aranmore Island and Croghy Head. The sense of having found a little corner of heaven is maintained on the 9th tee which juts into the Gweebarra Estuary. And so it goes on, nothing too frightening, simply good old- fashioned take it as you find it kind of golf, so typical of all these lovely courses in Donegal.”
Charlie Mulqueen (The Examiner & Ireland’s foremost Golf (Analyst) from ‘The Bank of Ireland Guide to the Golf Courses of Ireland’
“Play the seaside courses in Donegal and you’ll soon find there’s nowhere to hide from the wind. That’s especially true at the delightfully named Narin and Portnoo. It’s not a long course, but the wind can sometimes make it feel like a walk in purgatory, as if the devil was blowing at you through a straw. Holes that would normally call for a drive and pitch sometimes ask you to play a driver and 2-iron only to see the ball come up short…This is a totally natural course that seems to jut out into the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed the holes closest to the sea are the best on the course, although they can be a nightmare when the wind is howling. And here’s the rub: you very seldom get a calm day in this part of Donegal…There are some crackers, as the Irish would say, but best of the bunch may be the 16th. Called High Altar, the hole only measures about 120-yards. However you have to play to a green that drops off on all sides. In a gale you can be hitting a wood. A word of warning – if the secretary says it’s just a gentle breeze, sit in the clubhouse and enjoy a pint of the black stuff. There’s lots of time for golf in Donegal.”
“This is another classic links to add to the renowned courses on the North West Coast. Founded in 1930, the club is set right on the seafront with some serious sand dunes. Your short game will need to be on top form to navigate the last few intricate holes and for out and out value, this course is a front-runner.”
“Narin Portnoo is one of the great undiscovered links in Ireland. A genuine golfer should never fail to enjoy a turn around this course and where some holes are not too taxing others are very deceptive and require some caution. On a good day there are few more beautiful places to find yourself. Recent work on the greens has left them in good order and the nice wide fairways give even the novice a fair crack of the whip. Well worth a trip.”
Hugh Curran May 3, 2005 www.golftoday.co.uk
“One of Irelands true Links Courses…situated in the West Donegal Coast with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Arranmore Island. The Narin/Portnoo Beach lies on the other side of the Sand Dunes along the 2nd nine.”
“Set amidst wonderful scenery on the west coast of Donegal, this very picturesque links offers some very challenging holes and is an ideal vacation course. The Atlantic breeze and tight fairways create a demanding test of golf for players of all skill levels.”