The 36-hole St Patrick's Golf Links complex in Donegal, Ireland, is to be redesigned by Nicklaus Design. Owners Relton Development plan to create a world-class resort around the courses.
St Patrick's consists of two 18-hole links courses with views of the Sheephaven Bay. "The land and the dunes comprising St Patrick's is what Ireland golf is supposed to be – raw, natural, wild, windy, with bunkers carved and created by Mother Nature," said Tim Kenny, executive vice president of Nicklaus Design.
The first of the two courses, Maheramagorgan, was designed by Eddie Hackett in 1982 but construction did not begin for 11 years and was not fully completed until 1996, the year of Hackett's death. The second course, Trá Mór, was designed in 1993 by former Royal County Down assistant professional Joanne O'Haire, and is said to be the only course in Ireland designed by a female.
Construction is expected to begin in January.When the overall project is completed, the resort at St Patrick's Golf Links will consist of a five-star hotel, with spa and leisure facilities. Full planning permission has been obtained for the hotel.
Nicklaus is also on site at Monte Rei in the eastern Algarve, Portugal, where the course is expected to open in the autumn.
This article first appeared in issue 3 of Golf Course Architecture, published in January 2006.