The course at the City of Derry Golf Club lies on the hillside that runs down to the River Foyle and Willie Park Junior designed the original 9-hole layout back in 1912, with a fee of £10 paid for his efforts.
When a new clubhouse was built in 1922, the 4th hole became the 1st then the remaining holes were played in the same order. Ten years later, a full 18-hole course was fashioned by a Mr Spiller from the North West club, along with his associate Fred Dickson.
Additional land was acquired and this led to a redesign of the layout by resident professional Ted Pope and architect Eddie Hackett in the early 1970s. A decade on, when more adjacent farmland became available, the 9-hole Dunhugh course was created and the 18-hole Prehen course slightly remodeled.
In chapter two of the club’s Centenary Book, it states that Willie Park Junior’s original holes 6 and 7 are now the current 3rd and 4th holes on the Prehen layout “and remain substantially unchanged” whilst the 9th is another of the holes that date back to 1912.
According to Walter Stephen’s book Willie Park Junior, The Man who took Golf to the World, “City of Derry is a fine course, with as much variety as can be generated from what is basically a river valley side in an area of quite high rainfall… The course is well wooded with big, mature trees, new plantations and Irish hedges run wild.”
“Greens are big and fair, often in two steps. The fairways are mostly generous, but many holes have a ‘throat’ just before the green, making straight play necessary at that stage. The course can be very wet in parts but there are splendid views over the Foyle to the city and the mountains of Donegal.”
The author detects the hand of the architect at a number of holes, including the par five 3rd: “the fairway is blocked by a couple of Willie Park’s fortifications… here he has had a drainage ditch embanked on both sides.” And at the final hole: “the 18th has fine big trees and a satisfyingly big green, with Willie Park’s usual three bunkers at 5 o’clock, 7 o’clock and 12 o’clock.”