Jeff Lynch focuses on nature connection for Portmarnock Links redesign

  • Portmarnock Links

    A Golfgraffix visualisation of how the seventeenth will look once architect Jeff Lynch has completed work

  • Portmarnock Links

    Lynch’s sketch for new bunkering on the fourteenth

  • Portmarnock Links

    Sixteen holes will remain open while construction work is in progress

Amber Hickman
By Amber Hickman

Jeff Lynch of design firm (re)GOLF is under way with a renovation of the golf course at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links near Dublin, Ireland.  

Portmarnock Links was originally designed by two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer in 1995 on the shoreline of a rugged peninsula and is spread across 203 acres that was previously the Jameson Estate of St Marnocks. 

The renovation project involves rerouting holes eight, nine, twelve, fourteen, fifteen and seventeen. DAR Golf Construction will build six new greens, three new tees, and new fairways. 

“The remodelling stems from the fact that some of the golf elements needed to be renovated anyway, giving us an opportunity to explore other possibilities,” said Lynch. “With the modern world and society spinning at a rapid rate and digitally plugged in 24/7, a reconnect with the natural world is a must. 

“This concept was the main driver for the redesign. Similar to Royal Lytham, Portmarnock is cut off from the sea. We are trying to engage the members and guests with a more coastal experience both visually and acoustically. We have cosied up to the foredunes with certain greens, tees and pathways, and elevated others to embrace the Velvet Strand and the Irish Sea. There will be more playable corridors for the majority but they will be flexible enough to be set up for tournament play.” 

The club also aims to improve course conditions through the development of high-quality fescue grasses and achieve sustainability and biodiversity goals by reducing the inputs of water. Aquaturf Solutions, an Irish sports turf irrigation company, is also involved in the project. 

Head superintendent Fintan Brennan and his son Mike have been long-time custodians of the links turf of Portmarnock. “Their knowledge of agronomy and how the course plays has been invaluable, they have bunker re-vetting down to a fine art,” said Lynch. 

Paul McCanny, director of golf at Portmarnock, said “the new green and tee complexes will significantly enhance what is already a fantastic links. Although we will continue play throughout the winter, we are really excited about the future and look forward to opening the new holes.” 

Portmarnock will remain open during the renovation, with 16 holes playable. All eighteen are expected to be back in play from May 2023.