Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 6th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 6th hole
The sixth hole of the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort plays to a green set in wild dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 7th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 7th hole
It's a perilous shot over a sand pit to the seventh green on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 8th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 8th hole
Players who go for the par-5 eighth green in two have to contend with these bunkers on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 4th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 4th hole
A pair of golfers take on the challenge of the par-4 fourth hole on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna in County Donegal, Ireland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris statue
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris statue
A statue of Old Tom Morris looks down upon the 18th green on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 18th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 18th hole
The Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort finishes with a 602-yard par 5 that's actually reachable if it's downwind. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 17th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 17th hole
The green on the par-3 17th hole of the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort sits almost entirely hidden in the dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 16th hole
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - 16th hole
After an awkward drive, the 16th hole of Rosapenna's Old Tom Morris Links opens up to become a reachable par 5 of just 446 yards from the white tees. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - no. 14
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - no. 14
Hitting the par-3 14th green of the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna feels almost impossible in a crosswind. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - dunes
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Rosapenna - Old Tom Morris Links - dunes
When the sun shines, the dunes bordering the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort come to life. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort
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Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort
The accommodations at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort are just a short walk from Old Tom Morris Links and Sandy Hills Links. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Travel back in time on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in Ireland

COUNTY DONEGAL, Ireland -- Sometimes old school is the better school. Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort's Old Tom Morris Links doesn't measure up to the grandeur of the more modern, more difficult Sandy Hills Links.

It might, however, deliver more joy.

It's classic links golf on flatter terrain where you can bump-and-run your way to a respectable score.

The front nine cranks up the fun starting at the sixth hole, finishing at a green surrounded by dunes. What looks like a meteor crater guards the two greens at the par-3 seventh hole, each designed by a famous architect: One by Irishman Pat Ruddy during a greens renovation on the front nine in 2007 and the other by American Tom Doak, who redid them all again in 2009. The current plans are to keep both and possibly alternate play. The drive on the narrow eighth hole must stay within 10 yards either side of the fairway barber pole to stay out of the fescue-lined dunes. A good shot sets up a chance to reach in two if you avoid the mess of bunkers on the left side.

The back nine might be my favorite loop at the resort. It wanders the shore of Sheephaven Bay overlooking the beach. The first four holes, all interesting par 4s, follow the coastal dunes up the right side. The exception par 3 at no. 14 turns back inland, requiring the finest of shots, often through a cross wind, over a handful of front bunkers to a plateau green. The rousing finish -- a reachable par 5, a semi-blind par 3 and a stout par 5 -- can shift momentum in any match. Old Tom Morris, the Scottish legend whose statue sits above the final green, would be proud.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Travel back in time on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in Ireland
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