Located half way between Coleraine and Derry, the 18-hole parkland course at the Roe Park Resort was recently renovated by Marc Westenborg, a contractor to Hawtree Ltd who reworked seven holes on the layout.
The course opened in 1993 – fashioned by Scotsman Frank Ainsworth, head greenkeeper at Malone Golf Club at that time – and it’s configured as two returning nines, with the River Roe coming into play at a couple of holes on the outward half.
The right doglegged 269-yard 15th (“Coolessan”) is the signature hole on the card, offering big hitters the chance of reaching the green from a raised tee position but the tee shot needs to carry a pond to the front right of the putting surface.
Architect Marc Westenborg kindly supplied us with the following exclusive narrative on the recent course renovation:
New tees and a new green complex were built for the par three 6th hole, raising the tee and lowering the green to reduce the uphill nature of the hole.
New tees and a new green complex were also constructed for the par three 9th hole, shifting the putting surface away from the range to address health and safety issues.
The par four 14th hole now has new tees, fairway bunkering and green complex.
The short par four 15th was given a new teeing area with the putting surface designed to encourage better golfers to go for the green in one if they’re prepared to take on the valley and pond.
The par five 16th hole now has new fairway and approach bunkers and a new green complex. The specific brief for this green was to improve its view from the approach and ease the problems with the steep bank along the left of the putting surface.
Both the par three 17th and par four 18th have new greens, with the home hole also featuring a new approach bunker.
All the new greens were constructed to USGA specification, with the new designs addressing some of the original problems relating to visibility of the putting surface and greenside bunkering.
I havent' played many inland courses in Northern Ireland. It was a good but with so many great courses in NI and Ireland its hard to give it a higher rating.