FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Donegal Golf Club, Donegal County, Ireland

Oct 1, 2015
2015 / September 2015

The most common name in the Donegal phone book is Gallagher, so it was fitting that I found time to visit, staying at the beautiful Lough Eske Castle. It was equally important to hit the links while in Donegal to provide you with another golf report from around the world.

Donegal Golf Club was established in 1959 with the first golf course and clubhouse at Tullycullion just outside of Donegal Town. Some years later, the membership realized a fine parcel of land on the Murvagh Peninsula was more suitable for the links-style course they required. They hired Eddie Hackett, one of the top Irish designers of the day, to design an 18-hole championship course in 1970. The course and new clubhouse officially opened in 1976.

Pat Ruddy, the most respected links designer in Ireland today, recently refined the design and improved some of the holes and greens.

The Murvagh Peninsula offers windswept topography bordered by pine forest, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Donegal Bay on the other. “Windswept” is not an understatement. The day I played here, sustained winds of more than 40 mph howled across the land, so I was nearly the only person on the course. As I gathered my clubs in the parking lot, a few members were giving up play for the day. My hat blew off, and I chased it about 100 yards, to the merriment of the packing members. “You need a woolly hat on a day like today,” one said — and then the cover for his driver took off on the same windy dance. I chased that, too, to their cheers.

I teed off to an open course that had been cleared by nature, alone except for a threesome who let me play through on the second hole — just like when the president plays.

Hole 1 | 530 yards, par 5
“The Road to the Isles”

The club website says birdies are possible for the long hitter, but this was not in the cards on the day I teed up. The course is spectacular, with a view of the Bluestack Mountains and just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Donegal Bay. Hole 1 provides a warm-up, as you are just entering the teeth of Murvagh. I shot a decent drive right center, but the wind punched down my approach into the forward bunker, ending my dreams of a first-hole par.

Hole 2 | 463 yards, par 4
“Westward Ho”

As I approached the tee box, I was waved through by a threesome searching for a ball in the high fescue on the left and only about 90 yards away. This was my big break to pass and play the course in record time, making it back for lunch in Donegal Town with my wife. I teed up and sent a ball dead left and low, right toward the threesome, as I screamed, “Fore!” There was no way they could hear me over the howling winds. Fortunately, the ball did not strike them, nor did they see how close they came to near-death. I teed up a provisional ball and sent it out toward the bunker on the right, running to my cart to make my getaway. Even on a normal windy day, players consider this hole one of the most difficult on the course; on this day, I had to play it as a par 5 and hope for the best.

Hole 5 | 196 yards, par 3
“Valley of Tears”

The name is no lie: This hole can bring the strongest player to tears. A nearly blind long shot leads to a plethora of bunkers on the way to the elevated green. Some believe this hole marks the beginning of the greatest front nine collection in all of Ireland.

Donegal Golf

Hole 8 © Francis X. Gallagher

Hole 8 | 549 yards, par 5
“Moyne Hill”

If you had any question that Donegal has length, this hole will firmly remind you; it is one of the longest holes on the Emerald Isle. Eight is an absolutely beautiful hole, with Donegal Bay to your right; you must pause a few minutes for a selfie. But once you finish your foolishness, prepare for battle with this monster’s narrow fairway and little trouble areas. Some small bunkers and moguls lie to the left of this landing strip of a fairway. As I lined up my drive, the wind picked up sand from the beach far below the high dunes where the tee box lies, stinging my face as it hit. The next shot is blind and almost fooled me into going for the 10th green, which happens to many visitors. This hole’s green lies down lower than the fairway and slopes front to back.

Hole 12 | 593 yards, par 5
“Runway”

I have a different name for this hole: I call it “The Destroyer,” as this is what it did to me. Forget that the hole is nearly 600 yards from the tips. Worse, a drainage ditch runs diagonally across the hole, and you can’t see it from the tee box or fairway until you are virtually on top of it. Also, bunkers dot both sides of the landing area from the tee box. You need to lay up on the right side, avoiding the ditch, and then smack away to the green in three. Wind or no wind, this is a long and difficult hole; I understand it represents one of Ruddy’s signature changes at Murvagh.

Hole 14 | 566 yards, par 5
“Hare’s Croft”

Here’s another long hole where you need to send out a near-perfect drive to be in position to lay up — as on 12, that pesky drainage system snakes from the left side of the fairway, then crosses the green and continues up the right side of the fairway. This is where a little course knowledge comes in handy! The green is best attacked from the left side of the fairway.

Murvagh is a must-play course, and I liked the conditions under which I played — a testament to my fortitude, and it makes for a great golf story.

Donegal Golf Club

Murvagh
County Donegal
Ireland
tel 353 74 97 34054
donegalgolfclub.ie

Newsletter sign-up

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
March 2021
Mar 8, 2021

Venture Out in Vienna, a City of Opulence and Grace

Brewing long and deep at its center before radiating out to the rest of Europe, Vienna boasts an illustrious history and lasting intellectual impact. The Austrian capital dates back to Celtic and Romen rule, the latter inhabitants using the center city as a military hub among many other employments.

The Greatest Show on Earth

Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.

Daily
Mar 8, 2021

Redeem AAdvantage Miles for At-Home COVID-19 Testing

Whether taking a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight or looking up different travel restrictions before planning your trip, travel has looked a little bit different this past year. With all the extra steps for traveling, American Airlines is committed to finding ways to provide ease and more flexibility and choices for passengers when traveling.

January/February 2021
Mar 8, 2021

Take Time to Indulge in Well-Being at Canyon Ranch Lenox

Even in “normal” times, folks gravitate to wellness resorts to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, destress and be nurtured. In this COVID-19-era state of elevated anxiety, people seek even more natural beauty and caring hospitality, healthy food, fitness activities and beauty and body treatments. Canyon Ranch Lenox also provides an extensive staff of experts offering a multitude of health, wellness and spiritual well-being modalities that alleviate personal issues.

Daily
Mar 5, 2021

3 Recipes for Lent from New Orleans’ Top Chefs

The Lenten season continues through April 3. This year, New Orleans’ top chefs share some Lent-friendly recipes for at-home dining.

eFlyer News
Mar 3, 2021

Explore Fairbanks Highlights New Aurora Tracker Video

The lights of the aurora borealis appear frequently in the Fairbanks region of Alaska, with a growing number of Aurora Trackers in the area. A new video from Explore Fairbanks features five Fairbanks Aurora Trackers sharing their thoughts and photography on the northern lights.

eFlyer Deals
Mar 3, 2021

Gaylord Hotels Announces Spring Specials

Gaylord Hotels invites guests to Spring It On at Gaylord Texan, Gaylord Rockies, Gaylord Palms and Gaylord Opryland. March 12–May 16, craft the perfect spring break getaway with Gaylord’s themed family programming and more.

eFlyer Deals
Mar 3, 2021

Workcation Offer at Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Remote workers looking for an upgrade from their home offices might want to consider Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ Workcation offer. Those booking an extended stay of 10-plus nights are eligible for discounts of up to 15 percent off best available rates; those booking 20-plus nights enjoy up to 25 percent off. The offer is available at Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ diverse portfolio of properties.