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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres
« on: June 15, 2024, 08:50:21 AM »
A small town in Donegal tucked away in Dunfanaghy Bay, Dunfanaghy is not without some charm. The location is enough to blush over as the area abounds in beaches and the Derryveigh Mountains hang in the distance as if it was planned by a higher power. A former fishing port, the town is now a tourist hot spot offering a wide range of outdoor activities and sport. I was in town to play the local course which is reputed to have been designed by Harry Vardon in 1906. I have no reason to doubt the great man’s involvement, but I do suspect much has changed in the intervening 118 years.  The course is nestled on a ribbon of links between the town and beach community of Portnablagh. Much of the land is rather flat, but there are a few high points of interest which offer the best of what Dunfanaghy has to offer.

The start to Dunfanaghy is patchy. Its not exactly poor golf, but little stirs the soul. Although I like the approach to 3.


At the 6th things come alive due to the great green location. Unfortunately, this is one of several holes that were substantionally lengthened in recent years. At well over 400 uphill yards this hole is a complete beast.


Severe target!  That is Spangles surveying the situation.


A view of the hole from the 7th tee with Portnablagh in the background.


A long downhill par 3 follows at the seventh. We climb straight back up the hill for the nimble 8th. The hole is fairly short, but tricky. Its back down the hill for the short 9th. A look at the hole from the 8th.


From the tee.


From near the left bunker.


Behind the madly sloping front to back green. Remarkable hole.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 24, 2024, 03:03:02 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-9
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2024, 10:11:16 AM »
Goodness I  miss Donegal.
Dunfanaghy is such a great town to stay in, and the course is charming in many ways, with several highs both in absolute and comparative terms. Very cool set of greens.
Not every course has to have a steady diet of climbing tall dunes and forever lost ball gunch.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-9
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2024, 11:22:45 AM »
I love Dunfanaghy and stay there every time I travel to Ireland. The course, however, is below average compared to what’s available in Donegal. If I was there more often, I’d probably be happy to play it every now and then. But when I’m only looking at about two weeks a year, I’d have a hard time choosing Dunfanaghy over the courses at Ballyliffin, Rosapenna, Narin & Portnoo, Cruit Island, Murvagh, etc. The views at Dunfanaghy are pretty great, but I’ve found the course to be underwhelming.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-9
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2024, 04:39:15 PM »
Nice to see this thread.
I have a lot of time for Dunfanaghy. While it has some flatter holes the stretch from the 5th to the 10th is really good and the finish with the terrific par-5 16th with its lovely green site and the 17th playing and looking back towards the town are more than just fine holes.
It may not have the amazing dunescapes of some of the other bigger name Donegal courses but it’s a thoroughly nice course to play in a lovely scenic location.
I’d be happy to play it regularly.
Atb


PS Donal did a very nice photo tour several years ago - [size=78%]https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49256.0.html[/size]

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-9
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2024, 09:30:19 PM »
Nice to see this thread.
I have a lot of time for Dunfanaghy. While it has some flatter holes the stretch from the 5th to the 10th is really good and the finish with the terrific par-5 16th with its lovely green site and the 17th playing and looking back towards the town are more than just fine holes.
It may not have the amazing dunescapes of some of the other bigger name Donegal courses but it’s a thoroughly nice course to play in a lovely scenic location.
I’d be happy to play it regularly.
Atb


PS Donal did a very nice photo tour several years ago - [size=78%]https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49256.0.html[/size]


+1
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-9
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2024, 08:42:50 AM »
Dunfanaghy Tour Cont

A tad disappointing given the setting and natural attribute of the beach, the strategy of the 10th is intact despite the bunkering and average green.


11 & 12 play over flat ground. I like the use of the ditch off the tee on the 12th. Its easy to leak a drive right toward the water. Another flat hole, the short 13th green is deceivingly close to a ditch. The green too is of interest...many greens are subtle, but interesting.


Another flat hole, the fine 14th plays over a ditch. The highlight of the hole is the green tucked behind a large mound which looks out of place.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 21, 2024, 02:47:21 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Brad Tufts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-14
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2024, 10:46:18 PM »
What about this course v Northwest in terms of quality/interest?


Headed to the area next summer and I might have an opening for an extra round at a locals venue…
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-14 New
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2024, 03:02:47 PM »
What about this course v Northwest in terms of quality/interest?

Headed to the area next summer and I might have an opening for an extra round at a locals venue…

Brad

To be honest, North West was our first choice, but it is 150 Euros. So we opted for Dunfanaghy. I still thought it was a bit pricey, but to be fair the club was extremely generous. There happen to be a comp on that day so they let us enter the event on spec at a much reduced rate. This is the third time this has happened in Ireland! We also got a break at Enniscrone and Portrush Valley.

Dunfanaghy Tour Cont

The course is plagued with many of the holes basically running along the east-west axis; this is not uncommon for most links. Hence the reason why courses such as Muirfield have the extra kick for using the compass well. Not a bad hole, but 15 is not unlike many holes at Dunfanaghy. The same cannot be said of the finishing trio. The thre-shot 16th heads back toward the house. As the fairway rises, it also bends right around no man's land. The green sits on the high ground and makes a tough target. The photo below is behind the green.
 

Over the years I have come to enjoy the long par 3, even if it requires a driver. Afterall, my only hole in one was made using a driving way back in the last millennium. The green is hard on the beach. There is wiggle room left as the terrain moves toward the middle of the putting surface.


A look at the green from 18 tee.


A blind tee shot with OoB right isn't the most hospitable way to end a round, but there you have it. Once over the brow of the hill, the well defended green lies beyond the road in what feels like open country. The hole feels new to me, but I like it. 


It is probably obvious from my tone that Dunfanaghy isn't a course which impressed me. The flow of the design made it difficult for me to get into. Most of the best holes are at either end of the links leaving long stretches of average golf in the middle. Darn it Dunfanaghy, I expected more. Sometimes a bit of architectural acumen can go a long way. Still, being close to Rosapenna makes Dunfanaghy a viable option to pack out a tour of the area. I wouldn't mind seeing the course again because sometimes the subtle can easily be missed.  2024

Previous Stops on the Drifting in Donegal Tour Tres

Cruit Island
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59070.0.html

Gweedore
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72960.0.html

Planned Tour Stops

Rosapenna Sandy Hills
Rosapenna Old Tom Morris
Rosapenna St Pat's

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 09, 2024, 08:19:37 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2024, 07:44:55 PM »
IMHO the difficulty of undulations in a green is often not the problem as much as the transition areas.  If the transition areas are not done properly then slopes can be considered crazy.  And then you have the planned hole locations which are often ignored and cups are placed in areas not meant for the cup thus making the golfer judge the green in a different light than the guy who plays the same green the next day with a different location.  JMO
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-14
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2024, 05:09:42 PM »
What about this course v Northwest in terms of quality/interest?


Headed to the area next summer and I might have an opening for an extra round at a locals venue…


Can't say anything about North West but, whilst I agree with Sean's rating of the course, I got a good feeling about the club and the town. As long as your playing expectations aren't to high, I think you'll have a grand day out at Dunfanaghy.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-14
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2024, 05:18:19 PM »
What about this course v Northwest in terms of quality/interest?
Headed to the area next summer and I might have an opening for an extra round at a locals venue…
Can't say anything about North West but, whilst I agree with Sean's rating of the course, I got a good feeling about the club and the town. As long as your playing expectations aren't to high, I think you'll have a grand day out at Dunfanaghy.
+1
Atb

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Darn It DUNFANAGHY GC: Drifting in Donegal Tres 1-14
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2024, 07:53:31 PM »
What about this course v Northwest in terms of quality/interest?
Headed to the area next summer and I might have an opening for an extra round at a locals venue…
Can't say anything about North West but, whilst I agree with Sean's rating of the course, I got a good feeling about the club and the town. As long as your playing expectations aren't to high, I think you'll have a grand day out at Dunfanaghy.
+1
Atb


I think Northwest is a better course than Dunfanaghy.
The highs are slightly higher at Dunfanaghy 6 green-10,16, 17, but Northwest has many interesting albeit compact holes with many interesting greens and approaches.
Buncrana is a bit larger town than Dunfanaghy, but I prefer Dunfanaghy, especially with its proximity to Rosapenna x2, St. Patrick's, Cruit, Gweedore and Portsalon.


I'm a bit stunned Northwest is 150 euros.
For years I booked off the website at 25 euros! Very friendly place, as is Dunfanaghy.(which was 25 euros as recently as 2017ish)


I blame myself...
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

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