In Volume 1 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, Tom Doak published that,
“The original course at Rosapenna has been shifted numerous times from Old Tom Morris’ 1893 design; in fact most of the “Valley nine” is actually the work of Harry Colt who was there in 1906, with a wonderful natural green at the par-4 12th and a fine short hole at the far end amongst the highlights. For years this was paired with the “Coastguard” nine going up over a big hill, but it played across a road four times in nine holes, and with the increased development of the peninsula those holes had to be detached and altered, while a new nine holes in the dunes just west of the road now serves as the front nine. It’s good golf with some good features, but relatively tame, appealing more to families than to belt-notching tourists.
Sandy Hills was conceived with the latter demographic in mind. Built in epic dunes rising above the Valley nine, it is a course of spectacular views and difficult narrow fairways, which cannot be widened due to environmental restrictions. The designer was quoted as saying the course is “twenty years ahead of its time,” but ten years in, that’s not turned out to be such a good business plan. Bring your camera … and two or three sleeves of golf balls.”
The Sandy Hills course averaged a score of 6 from Doak’s co-authors, while the Old Tom Morris Links averages 5.5.
The full resort package at Rosapenna is tremendous, the wonderful old hotel, great food, hospitality and beautiful local beach combine well to complement the golf. Perfect for a weekend getaway, or a serious golfing buddies trip.