A tremendous modern links carved through impressive dunes. It’s challenging but fair with some interesting holes to negotiate – a real thinker’s course.

Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Sandy Hills Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 – 46

Previous Rankings

2019/20 – 44
2017/18 – 45
2015/16 – 45
2013/14 – 42
2011/12 – 39
2009/10 – 43

Summer Green Fees

Round – €140

Visitors: 7 days a week during playing season

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,345 Yards

rosapenna.ie

Changes since previous ranking

None advised

Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Sandy Hills Course Review

It’s hard to believe the Sandy Hills Links is less than 20 years old, the Pat Ruddy design opened in just 2003. Carved through the dunes, this superb layout has quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest modern links in Ireland.

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

6th at Rosapenna Sandy Hills

From the outset, the challenge of this tricky course is evident – you must find the fairways. Dunes wait right from the tee on 1, with a fall-away to the left. Although it’s a short par-5 on paper, precision from the tee, on approach and, likely, on the third shot are key.

The slopes and speed of the greens on the Sandy Hills Links are quite a feature and a deft short game and touch is essential if you’re to negotiate the testing green complexes.

13th at Rosapenna Sandy Hills

There are some very difficult shots to be faced on the Sandy Hills. On the par-3 7th, the tee shot is played downhill to a firm green with dramatic run offs right and long. On the par-5 8th, the approach is to a raised green where anything short will roll back some 40 yards.

But that’s not to say it’s unfair, carefully thought out and well played shots will be rewarded. This is a real thinkers’ links course and definitely one that’s fun to play, trying to master its nuances and subtleties.

On the run in there are some really excellent holes with standouts including the bunker-less par-4 15th and par-5 17th. The former dips and turns to the right before climbing again to a sheltered green.

The latter offers a birdie chance in prevailing winds but with significant slopes to a collection area right of the green, it’s a daunting approach and one that must be played with surety.

Sandy Hills is one of the great examples of course design from the last 25 years. It makes the very most of this dramatic coastal landscape, delivering a superb variety of unique, memorable and challenging golf holes.

It’s tough, there’s no question about that, but it’s fair and it’s hugely enjoyable.

Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Sandy Hills Course Review

Assessor Feedback

This course is set in an amazing area of sand dunes that stretches for miles and has to be one of the most natural links courses in the world. It is pure links golf which is both challenging and thrilling at the same time. There’s great variety to be found and a firm but fair test of golf.

GM Verdict

A tremendous modern links carved through impressive dunes. It’s challenging but fair with some interesting holes to negotiate – a real thinker’s course.