“We fell in love with the scale of the site, the variety of the features, the views, and the rugged character of the landscape.”
Narin & Portnoo has long been regarded as one of Ireland’s hidden gems. But with a significant restorative effort by the design team of Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, don’t expect Narin & Portnoo to be hidden for long.
Set on an incredibly breathtaking strip of linksland along the Atlantic Coast in the Donegal region north-west Ireland, since 1905 Narin & Portnoo has been known to those seeking intriguing, inventive and unforgettable links golf.
In recent years, new ownership engaged Hanse and Wagner to re-establish the classic features that made Narin & Portnoo so compelling. The result is a remarkable transformation—an eminently walkable Irish links that is generating raves from visiting golfers and critics alike.
Experience Narin & Portnoo for yourself, and you’ll be sure to agree this revitalized course is among the best in Ireland.
Restoring the genius:
Though established in 1905, in recent decades, Narin and Portnoo was fundamentally altered, leaving a mix of contrasting styles and holes that didn’t measure up to the incredible setting. New owner Liam McDevitt, who acquired the course with business partner Larry Foley, wanted to turn back the clock to the time when he played the course in his younger days. So they enticed Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, one of the leading design firms in the world, to challenge themselves in re-establishing the course as one of Ireland’s great links. Hanse and Wagner reworked the entire golf course creating many new tee and green complexes. The result? Brilliance restored.
“What’s remarkable is Jim and Gil took all of the elements of the property into consideration and created something very special,” says Foley. “It is more enjoyable, more fun, more intriguing and even pace of play is improved. They took the most challenged parts of the design and made them strengths.”
“I was just blown away by its beauty — the sky, the landscape, the water.” That was golf designer Jim Wagner’s take on first seeing Narin & Portnoo. Over the following two years, renowned architect Gil Hanse, who works alongside Wagner, turned Narin & Portnoo, already an established course, into a world-class design.
Hanse Golf Design is among the most important golf architecture firms working in the industry today. Having created Top 100 courses like Castle Stuart, the Black Course at Streamsong, and the course for golf’s return to the Olympics in Brazil, Hanse’s team is also known for restoring many of the best in the world, fabled haunts like Winged Foot, Merion, and Fishers Island.
Hanse and Wagner reimagined Narin & Portnoo, tapping into its potential. “Golfers will be blown away by the natural beauty, interest and quirk that the property offers,” said Wagner. “The new combination of golf holes and greens locations will add challenge and stunning visuals associated with the property.”
“It has a scale that ranges from large-scale dunes down to the smallest, nuanced rolls in the ground and that variety will provide countless opportunities for our imagination and the play of the course.”