By Phil Finnegan – Daily Mirror on 24th December 2016
Tradition, according to Woody Allen, is the illusion of permanence.
Wise words and ones that many people on this island – including us golf bores – would do well to heed. Traditionally, if you are travelling up the Inishowen peninsula in search of a great 18 holes, you’ll be directed towards Ballyliffen.
It was ever thus in golf – the hallowed courses draw in the crowds year after year, while hidden gems remain the preserve of their fortunate membership.
But if you do find yourself up in that part of Donegal, then it is well worth straying a little off the beaten track to Greencastle Golf Club where a great day can be had for a fraction of the green fees elsewhere.
Just 30 euros (25 during the week) buys the savvy traveller a round of gorgeous links golf nestling between the banks of Lough Foyle and the foot of Cnoc ns Smug.
And you’ll be feeling a little smug yourself as you make your way round, if you’re the sort of golfer who prefers their course to be playable rather than penal.
It’s certainly not an easy challenge (links courses never are) but it’s fair. Good shots will be rewarded, average ones will lead to bogey and wild ones will get the treatment they deserve.
There are several fine holes, with the 12th in particular likely to live long in the memory. The Light House is a Turnberry-esque par 4, requiring a good blow from the tee to clear a crescent shaped beach before play a precise approach into a drop-down green chiselled out along the water’s edge.
Greencastle is a treat to play at any time of the year, as the turf remains solid underfoot unless sodden by a truly biblical deluge.
But if the sun is shining, then a lovely little deck perched above a sandy alcove out the back of the clubhouse makes for an ideal 19th hole.
And that’s one tradition that should remain permanent.
* Unlimited playing rights on Greencastle Golf Course
* Eligible for all competitions excluding Captain’s and President’s Prize
* Handicap Certificate
* Membership Certificate