The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, outside the Irish capital Dublin, has rebranded as the Jameson Golf Links and the Portmarnock Resort, and has opened a new-look course, redesigned by Irish architect Jeff Lynch of (re)GOLF.
The course, located on the former estate of the Jameson family, Ireland’s most famous distillers, was built in the middle 1990s by architect Stan Eby of European Golf Design (with Bernhard Langer as signature name). But the site was first used for golf in the 1850s, when John Jameson the third created a private nine hole course on the estate (the Jameson family had originated in Scotland) at a time when there was essentially no other golf in the country – Ireland’s first official golf club, the Royal Curragh, was founded in 1858. Many of the Jameson family lie in the graveyard to the right of the course’s first hole.
The hotel and golf course was acquired by the Canadian Gagliardi family in 2019, with architect Lynch being appointed to work on the course shortly after. Lynch has done extensive work on the course, rerouting several of the course’s final ten holes, mostly located in the dunes close to the Irtish Sea. The rerouting of certain holes has led to several significant changes on the final ten holes. The previously dog-legged eighth has been transformed into a straighter par four following the development of a new fairway, green complex and grass pathways – as well as moving an irrigation lake which has greatly increased the course’s water collection capabilities and sustainability credentials. A new par-three ninth set in the high dunes close to the water is a highlight of the course, while the now par five twelfth hole has a highly elevated ‘volcano’ green offering stunning sea views.
Perhaps the most dramatic change is still in production. Lynch has built a new green for the seventeenth hole, in dramatic, previously unused land beyond the existing green, so the hole will change from a difficult par three to an exciting short par four. The new hole is expected to open early in 2024.