North West - Europe's prime golfing destination for 2011

North West - Europe's prime golfing destination for 2011

North West - Europe's prime golfing destination for 2011

Alan Foley

A series of enticing offers coupled with the fact the North West is the place to play golf this year means Donegal has excellent value to offer for its fine collection of golf courses.

Tourism is one of the avenues upon which Donegal can thrive in these challenging times and golf is a valuable commodity that is a already in place. In the latest Golf Digest rankings list, released in November, eight Donegal clubs made the top 100. Ballyliffin's Glashedy Links was ranked 16, Donegal's Murvagh was placed 19th, with Rosapenna's Sandy Hills two places behind at 21. Ballyliffin's Old Links was 32nd, followed directly by Rosapenna's Old Tom Morris and Portsalon came 35th. At 51st, Narin and Portnoo, while Letterkenny made the top 100 for the first time in 96th.

The North West then scored a considerable birdie at the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) awards ceremony in Valencia, when the North & West Coast Links Golf won the prestigious title of ‘European Golf Destination of the Year 2011'.

At Narin and Portnoo Golf Club, promotions are available to societies. For bed and breakfast in one of the nearby hotels - the Nesbitt Arms in Ardara, the Highlands Hotel in Glenties and Portnoo's Lakehouse Hotel - and a round of golf, prices start at €49. Also, any societies wishing to play the course before the end of March can do so from €20 per person, while societies that play before the start of April can get a free day for the same group in either November or December. Adult membership for the year starts at €282.

"With Donegal and the North West being named as Europe's prime golfing destination for the current year we feel as though we have a lot to offer," said Narin and Portnoo professional Connor Mallon.

"That award was given not only in terms of the great golf courses, but also on the quality of the accomodation available here. Things have changed in recent times of course, but we have two target markets. As well as introducing a lot of tourists to the facilites we have here, we also thrive to look after the local golfer and I think our promotional offers show that. With the economy the way it is and tourism so important, golf can be the beacon of light this year."

Letterkenny

Each summer, the Ladies Branch in association with the Irish Ladies Golf Union offer a beginners course for ladies who have never played the game before. Anyone who wishes to take part can contact the Lady Captain Anne Condon on 087 4186305.

There are also special rates joining rates available for beginners, families and country club members.

Having joined the elite of golf clubs in Ireland by attaining for the first time in 2010 it's position in the top 100, Letterkenny Golf Club is actively promoting itself as a premier course which will attract golfing and non golfing visitors from all corners of the globe.

Dunfanaghy

For the first time, Dunfanaghy Golf Club are offering a 12 month easy payment plan to current and new members. This initiative was designed so that the members can pay their annual subscription on a monthly basis instead of having to come up with one lump sum at the beginning of the year. Anybody interested should contact the clubhouse at 074-9136335.

With the exception of the recent heavy snow which caused the course to be closed for a few days, Dunfanaghy is usually open and very playable all year round. Winter membership is available from October to March for a very reasonable €200 euro.

Single Stableford Open competitions take place throughout the year every Wednesday for just €15. The Saturday Fourball Open competitions are becoming more and more popular and run right through until April for a fee of €15 per person. Each Friday we have a 14 Hole Open competition which also costs €15 for visitors but the full 18 holes can be played. We also have very competitive rates for Societies with many weekend slots available to book throughout the year and you can be sure that you'll be made to feel very welcome in the friendly, modern and well equipped clubhouse with it's bar, shop and changing rooms.

Donegal

Donegal G.C. (Murvagh) was recently voted by the prestigious "Golf Digest" 19th place in the Top 100 Golf Courses throughout the island of Ireland. This is quite an achievement when one considers that there are approximately 450 affiliated Clubs in the whole country.

Due to the popularity of the course, membership had been full for some time past. However, nowhere is immune from the current recession and, accordingly, some places are now available for new members at Donegal G.C. The all in cost for new members will be €1,000 and this includes the Annual Subscription of less than €490, terrific value and an opportunity to become a member of one of the top courses in Ireland. New members will also accrue reduced Green Fee rights to play on a number of other top Links Courses that stretch all the way from Royal Portrush to Connemara, Co. Galway. Interested parties should immediately contact Grinne Dorrian at the Club.

Cruit

Winter Rates available for Groups and Societies, Green Fees and Soup & sandwiches.

Course dry and excellent condition, ring Clubhouse at 074 9543296 for Tee Times.

All weekdays available and most Saturdays. Very competitive rates.

Portsalon

The club are in talks with Paul McGinley about upgrading the course and they are very happy with the latest rankins, rated 35th best in Ireland and 25th best links course.

They are open for new full membership at 470 euro with various categories available. There is Society membership from 20 euro with greens fees 40 euro from Monday to Friday.

Bundoran

Bundoran Golf Club are offering exceptional value on Fridays from now until end of March. For only €23.00 per person, a golfer can enjoy tea/coffee on arrival, 18 holes of golf and a meal afterwards (choice of burger and chips or fish and chips). This should be booked in advance through the Pro Shop on 07198 41302 or email bundorangolfclub@eircom.net.

There will be special golf deals throughout the year and these will be posted through the web site at www.bundorangolfclub.com

The club is also pleased to have new categories of membership available this year. For people who might be interested in golf but felt that the types of membership available didn't suit their needs we have the following a) progressive membership b) a five day membership.These memberships are for new members only. Full details of both will be posted on our web site or by telephone Noreen in the office or the Pro Shop on 07198 4130.

The 10th