Cruit Island - Donegal - Ireland

Cruit Island Golf Club,
Kincasslagh,
Co.Donegal,
Ireland


  • +353 (0)74 9543296

  • Joseph Gillespie

  • Michael Doherty

  • Not known

Cruit Island is considered by some to be one of the best 9-hole golf courses in the world. It is certainly one of the most scenic courses in Ireland. Overlooking Arranmore and Owey Islands and with Mount Errigal as a backdrop, Cruit (pronounced Crutch) is located near Kincasslagh in The Rosses, County Donegal. Tucked away in this north west corner of County Donegal, this is about as far off the beaten track as you can get when searching for a “hidden gem” course.

And yet, incredible as it might seem, Donegal International Airport is just a few miles away at Carrickfinn, allowing visitors from the UK to fly directly to the remote west of Donegal, avoiding the less than perfect road system!

The nine holes of Cruit Island were only created in 1986 (by Michael Doherty, the professional at City of Derry Golf Club) but they feel like they have been in play for many years more with their wild and windswept look. The views from the cliff tops are simply stunning and the sound of the sea is ever present as the Atlantic crashes in relentlessly on the rocks below – this is raw, elemental golf from a bygone era played in a new century.

The land for the course was originally leased from Dr. Seamus Hegarty, Bishop of Raphoe and was subsequently passed on to the current landlord, Paddy Forker. A very comfortable clubhouse was built soon after the course was first opened and this has served both the members and the growing number of golfing cognoscenti who make their way to play the course as its reputation widens.

The club is proud of their claim to being one of the first clubs in Ireland to offer full membership to ladies. In fact, they went one better by becoming the first Irish club to have a lady as President when Eileen Oglesby was elected to the position in 1994.

Cruit Island is 2,809 yards long with seven par fours and two par threes, one of which, the 150-yard 6th, is the spectacular signature hole, played along the cliff edge. The first two holes are stiff openers, both measuring over four hundred yards in length and the other par three is no pushover at 213 yards.

Mention must also be made of two golf competitions involving two of the area’s most favoured sons – Packie Bonner, the ex-Celtic and Ireland goalkeeper has an Open in July and Daniel O’Donnell, the popular Irish singer, hosts another Open in August. Cruit Island is well worth the visit, whether you choose to participate in either of these Opens, or just turn up on a day when you’re looking to play golf for fun.

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Reviews for Cruit Island

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Cruit Island Golf Club is considered by some to be one of the best 9-hole golf courses in the world. It is certainly one of the most scenic courses in Ireland. Rating: 4.5714285714286 out of 6 Reviews: 10

The beautiful, wild drive over the bridge certainly sets the scene nicely for the golf course. Hard to describe, other than to echo others' observations of the amazing variety of views from all parts of the course - on a sunny day like ours it is superlative. The greens were excellent, none of the blind shots too confusing, and the staff were very helpful and friendly. Maybe the 5th could be softened to reduce lost balls, but other than that keep it as it is and enjoy its quirky individuality, much as you should other fun but good courses like Durness, Traigh, Shiskine, Glencruitten and Anstruther.

4 / 6
Cruit Island
April 22, 2018


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A T Corr
July 01, 2018

Glad you enjoyed the unique experience that is Cruit. We have just had a great stretch of fine weather and if you can find a better place to experience golf as natural as this I’ll be more than happy to invite you back for a round as my guest.

Just came back for this year's trip to Donegal. Despite also playing the scenic and wonderful courses at Ballyliffin, Rosapenna, Narin&Portnoo and Portsalon, it is the crazy golf and breathtaking scenery at Cruit Island that our little group will remember the longest. Pick a clear day, only use the scorecard for navigation the first time....and do not forget to take lots of pictures! Almost impossible and irrelevant to rate as a golf course only.

4 / 6
Cruit Island
September 01, 2017


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Played Cruit Island a couple of years ago and noticed it is in the "Gem" list. It fully deserves to be in the list. Crazy, memorable and wild 9 holes. Forget the yardages, the change in elevation makes it obsolete. Pick of the holes are 3, 6, 7 and 9. The drive to the golf course is staggering beautiful also. A unique golfing experience and an absolute joy to play.

6 / 6
Cruit Island
April 19, 2017


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A T Corr
July 31, 2017

So glad you appreciated the experience. We believe Cruit to be(one of) the best 9 hole courses in the world and the best in these islands. Not many people realise how accessible we are being only twenty minutes from Donegal airport and an hour flight from Dublin. Come up and enjoy golf as it was meant to be.

Just when you think there are no surprises left in the golf world, you stumble on Cruit. Others have described the course, my advice is just go there with no preconceptions and come away stunned. Rating it is almost irrelevant as I have nothing to compare it with. Unique!!
4 / 6
Cruit Island
July 23, 2013


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Dennis
July 21, 2014
The course is a gem because not only is it in fantastic condition, there are wonderful views from every tee box and green, and also the holes are not only challenging but also very enjoyable.
I have played this course many times,I just think its such a great course and a good challenge.the 6th hole is one of the best par 3s I have played anywhere in my 35 years of playing.the staff in the clubhouse are so friendly too.I would recommend this place to anyone.
5 / 6
Cruit Island
August 17, 2011


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Played this course yesterday and I have to say I was very impressed. Just a few small things I would note about the course. It is certainly one of the best 9 hole golf courses I have ever played, however I have only played 8 of them between Ireland and Scotland. For that reason I cannot pass judgement on it being one of the best in the world. I would imagine that there are very few as scenic as it. Its condition was excellent yesterday and the greens were firm and running very fast which provided a very good challenge. Some of the holes are excellent and require many blind tee shots which were tricky on the first nine as I was not sure of the layout. The back nine was much easier and with course knowledge I would say that it is not that hard a course (14 points front nine, 26 points back nine of a 7 handicap) The course is short which makes some of the greens reachable from the tee (5th/14th and 9th/18th spring to mind) and these will give excellent eagle opportunites. The 6th/15th is one of the most enjoyable holes I have ever played and if there was a course of 18 of just this hole I would be the first to sign up. An absolute gem which I would advise you to play the course even just for the enjoyment of this. Overall a good course which I would have rated higher with some small improvements (some tee markers missing, yardage indicator missing on some holes). Definitley worth a round at 25euro (sandwich and tea included)
4 / 6
Cruit Island
April 27, 2011


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A T Corr
April 30, 2017

Great that you enjoyed the course. 26 points would be considered an outstanding score for 9 holes by members. Wind is a big factor on the course and maybe you got one of the few totally calm days! 9th. hole is only short if you take on a very high tariff drive over the out of bounds on the left, many a winning card has been torn up as a result. All improvements (and a few more) now made. You are very welcome back.

Cruit Island is a breathtaking beauty. Chalanging golf in a fantastic scenary.
6 / 6
Cruit Island
July 16, 2010


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we play this course once a year every year and the course is amazing . one of the best kept secrets in golf .
6 / 6
Cruit Island
September 19, 2009


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Joe
February 25, 2010
If it is a fun game of golf you are looking for with spectacular, wild views - then Cruit Island is worth a visit. In fact, in order to appreciate the quirkiness of the course it is well worth a second visit. Depending on the wind conditions, the course plays very differntly - like most links, but because of the exposed location of Cruit Island the differences are particularly marked. The 'signature' 6th hole plays anything from a sand wedge to a 3 wood. It is the overall experience that makes this little course memorable. It is a joy.
Walter Methorst
July 16, 2010
We played the course several times now, and these wo'nt be the last: A breathtaking beauty to be remembered for a long time.
We were running late and, being strangers in this part of the world we were relying heavily on the Sat Nav to take us to our next destination. Before we knew it, we found ourselves way off the beaten track, on perhaps the most remote and austere road that I have ever been on. I fully expected Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight and a banjo player to appear whilst someone told me to “squeal like a piggy boy”. Thankfully, my chauffeur held his nerve, (I certainly didn’t) and several more miles down the way we found an escape road which eventually led us to Kincasslagh and the fabled Cruit Island. I quickly realised why the mere mention of Cruit brings a smile to the face Irish golfers as it is a jaw dropping beauty of a place, and more than enough reward for my “deliverance” experience.Cruit starts with its longest holes first which “ease” you in, before you come to the signature part of the course at holes 4,5 and 6,where you see blind shots over weaving and tumbling fairways coupled with testing irons to lonely greens. The tee shot at the short 6th encapsulates this, calling for you to be heroic (and perhaps a bit lucky) as anything slightly off will see your Pro V1 on the way to America. It is a hell of a lot of fun.Our day finished with tea and a chat with Jimmy Bonner, the club secretary, who couldn’t have done any more for us and this, to me, sums up Cruit Island. A Friendly and informal club in a stunning location where nothing is too much trouble and an absolute must play. MPPJ
4 / 6
Cruit Island
September 02, 2009


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Jim McCann
September 02, 2009
In relation to the satnav "incident" above, I, as driver of the hire car in question, was merely testing the bottle of my passenger on a rudimentary track in the middle of a rock strewn barren moor to see if he had what it takes to stand on the exposed 6th tee at Cruit with a 6 iron in hand, wind whistling around his ankles, looking across at a distant green perched on the other side of a rocky cove - needless to say, he was unable to match the par 3 of his opponent when the time came...
The course is in a fantastic setting, but isn’t that good really. But for the setting nobody would bother with it. Having said that, I enjoyed playing it. The are quite a few blind shots and certainly the second time around the 9 is more enjoyable than the first. I’m glad I made the effort to go and play, but I don’t expect I’ll ever return (which is probably my loss rather than Cruit (pronounced critch) Island’s).
3 / 6
Cruit Island
July 05, 2007


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