McGinley Design gets green light for course development at Donegal

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Paul McGinley at Donegal Golf Club

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Donegal Golf Club has announced that it has engaged Paul McGinley’s course design company, McGinley Golf Course Architecture & Design, to undertake the next phase of development on the iconic links course.

The par 73 Championship Links Course expands over 7,400 yards and is situated on the scenic Murvagh Peninsula near historic Donegal Town on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

The course was originally designed by Eddie Hackett and later remodelled by Pat Ruddy with the outside loop playing along the sand dunes providing stunning views overlooking Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The inner loop is more protected with picturesque views of the Bluestack Mountains.

The course regularly features among the top courses in Ireland and has played host to some of the country’s biggest amateur events, including the 2004 Irish Men’s Close in which a young Rory McIlroy competed. More recently it played host to the 2020 All Ireland Cups & Shields finals and was listed as “One of my Favourite Courses in the World” by Darren Clarke (2011 Open Champion).

Paul McGinley’s design philosophy is based on the classic strategic mode of H. S. Colt and Donald Ross course styles. His vast knowledge of links golf in Ireland and his design expertise will realise his vision for a timeless, classic, traditional links course that is both fair to its members and still an enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels. His inspiration for Donegal’s redesign stems from the unique weather conditions across the Wild Atlantic Way.

The work is being rolled out in phases. McGinley’s first three holes, the 16th, 17th and 18th were completed in the spring of 2024. In the autumn of 2024, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th holes will be finalised, leaving 7 holes ready for the 2025 golfing season when The Open Championship returns to Royal Portrush.

“Donegal Golf Club is extremely excited to begin the next chapter in our evolution by partnering with McGinley Golf Design,” commented Brian Boyle, President, Donegal Golf Club.

“Paul’s stature in the world of golf combined with his love of County Donegal has created the perfect partnership to successfully deliver our next phase of development.

“I have every confidence that Paul and his team will enhance the previous work of Eddie Hackett and Pat Ruddy, two legends of Irish golf architecture. The Donegal Golf Club Canvas together with Paul’s expertise will enable the club to develop into one of the world’s top links courses in the coming years.”

McGinley too was delighted with the announcement: “It is with great pride that I have been approved as the new design consultant for the magnificent Links at Donegal Golf Club, following in the footsteps of Eddie Hackett and Pat Ruddy.

“My core principle for the Links is it needs to be more playable for the membership and all standards of player. At the same time, it should be seamlessly prepared for major events to create optionality on tees and a challenge on green designs that allows pins to be tucked when needed.

“The Links is one of the very best canvasses of any club in the country and that is what both excites and motivates me to best utilise the terrain while also honouring the history, routing, and flow of the course.”

The newly renovated holes provide the club with a thrilling finish to the magnificent course, which highlights Paul McGinley’s desire to see Donegal Golf Links as a must visit Club for International Golfers in the years ahead.

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