CARNE GOLF LINKS
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|Other Nearby Courses|
|Westport (49 miles)|
|Enniscrone (48 miles)|
Carne Golf Links cannot adequately be described. The quotes below can only begin to convey some of the growing golf legend that is Carne. It is one of those courses you can confidently recommend to friend and stranger alike without fear that they will be disappointed.
Isolated on the far north west peninsula of County Mayo it is as inaccessible as a place gets on such a small island such as Ireland. Yet once the extra 90 minute or so journey beyond Westport or Ballina has been made the euphoric feeling of discovery is certain to dispel any reluctance or doubts about the journey.
From the moment of arrival, Carne exudes an air of speciality. The splendid scenery, the proximity to the ocean and the visual appeal of the links itself are all-pervading. And the last design by Eddie Hackett is surely his best (and what a big statement that is).
Carne begins with a typically quirky links hole. The general direction of the tee shot is plain enough, but exactly what part of the hilltop to aim for is not apparent. The hole is actually a slight dogleg right and a line left of the mound with the high tufty grass is probably best. A well struck short iron favouring the left hand side of the green will leave a good chance for an opening par.
After the excellent par-3 second (pictured left), Carne heads inland and excellent holes include the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th. The sixth especially requires a long accurate drive before an approach to a dome shaped green with a narrow entrance. This tricky par-4 is rated the hardest hole on the course, and certainly can justify that rating if the wind is from any southerly direction. The 8th green is in a hollow protected by hills and local legend is that fairies used to dwell here - an excuse often used for putts that don't drop.
The back nine begins with a relatively short par-5, though the well sheltered green can cause misjudgement of wind direction and distance. A good score is recommended here before the next challenges of this terrific golf course.
The next four holes are named after the Children of Lir, heroes of an ancient Irish folkstory, which suggests that they are buried on Inis Gloire (Island of Daylight), situated just off the coast near the fifteenth green. From here in is where good scores need to be protected.
The view from the 11th tee is one of the best on the course and needs to be absorbed in advance of the concentration required for the tee shot on this dog-legging hole. The green is behind the large hill on the right and there is no reward for attempting to carry it. There is also trouble left and a severe pull can require a long trek up and down the huge sand dunes (and then back again) to play a recovery. The green itself is slightly elevated so precision is required on approach. The 12th doglegs the other way (left) but this time it is possible to cut the corner - how much depends on your length. For the first timer an iron into the visible landing area might be appropriate as it leaves just a short iron to a green that is perched high. Anything short, right or long will roll way down to the bottom of the hill and bogey does not feel good on such a short hole.
The 14th affords the best views of the ocean and is itself a good par-5 hole that may offer the best chance of a birdie on these closing holes. The next is an absolutely superb par-3, with a large well-protected green that has many slopes and borrows. Take any 2 putt on offer here!
The homeward stretch is equally enthralling and challenging. The 15th is a par-4 that features a narrow entrance to yet another well protected green, the 16th is a short, downhill par-3 with a well protected green. The 17th is perhaps the best par-4 on the course, long and with a challenging approach to an inviting elevated green. The final hole is a par-5, beautiful views from the tee, and superbly natural terrain all the way to the final green.
As with the Children of Lir, Belmullet golf links is set to become a legendary Irish golf course. Of all the fine work that Eddie Hackett produced we are very grateful that he had the chance to complete his final masterpiece.
"I am thrilled with the way the dramatic Belmullet course has turned out, and again I reiterate my first opinion that ultimately there will be no better links golf course in the country or I doubt anywhere".
Eddie Hackett - Course Designer
"From the 1st tee to the 18th green it is all that one could ever yearn for."
James W. Finnegan - Emerald Fairways and Foam Flecked Seas
"Playing Carne is a thrill, a helter - skelter ride that will stay with you for ever"
Golf World June 2003
"Carne is, quite simply, the most stunning "discovery" I have made in golf. Even the impressive reports I heard about the place hadn't prepared me for the splendour of the terrain."
Dermot Gileece - Golf Correspondent, The Irish Times
"If I were limited to one course for the rest of my days, this would be it"
Keith Ging - The Express
"This was, for me, not merely the golfing highlight of my trip. Instead I felt that I knew how Livingstone felt when he discovered Victoria Falls. With vast dunes, unbelievable scenic views of neighbouring Blacksod Bay and islands, the place combines tranquillity, beauty and golfing nirvana."
Michael Pask - Golf Internation Oct/Nov 2001
This is one of, if not the very finest, of the Golf Courses of Ireland. Indeed on the right clear and bright day its as good as is in Europe. The back drop views are astounding and the course layout is a tribute to nature and Mr Eddie Hackett, who teased greens and fairways out of an astounding landscape. Captain Mr P.J Carey and the entire staff keep this facility in perfect order and the course has matured brilliantly since I played there two years ago. No one could come near to describing this course - one just has to play it. What a joy to find one of Irelands best kept golf secrets, beautiful scenery, warm welcome and fantastic food and drink to finish a marvellous day. Admittedly, we played in near perfect September 2001 conditions but none of my group from London could fault it in any way - in fact we voted it No 1 unanimously. Can't wait to get back!
Tom Beisty (from )
Carne Golf Links is an absolutely beautiful golf links and is a truly magnificent test of golfing skills. My choice of holes is the (8th) with a huge two tiered green in an amphitheatre like surrounding. On the back nine I would select the (15th) as my favourite golfing hole and an accurate drive required to set up any chance of reaching the green in two. There are wonderful views of the Atlantic as you play the (13th) par 5, and the tricky par 3 (14th.) You are always made very welcome at Belmullet, which has a beautiful clubhouse and an excellent food, and service, which compliments a round of golf there.
M Callagy (from )
We played Belmullet on a wonderful day in late September. It was sweater weather and we were one of about four groups on the course in the afternoon. I've heard the Carne course described in a golf book as 'Ballybunion on Steroids' and after playing I would agree. While the course is not yet mature and the greens were being top-dressed on the front nine we had a wonderful day. Walking through huge dunes. It is a venue like no other I've played in Ireland although the 9th and 10th holes at Inniscrone reminded me of all of Carne. Everyone I met travelling in the West said wait until you see Carne and they were right. Stay and play two times. The greens and the way they are laid out are almost unlike any I've ever played on. It seems as if no land was moved or levelled to create this wonderful course. September was my fourth golf trip to Ireland and I could stay for a week at Carne and play it all day every day.
People in the area a very friendly and I highly recommend staying at the Kemar House, which was excellent.
Jim Mattimore (from )
This is a special golf course that has some room to improve. We played in September 2000 on a perfect day. If you're walking, it's a helluva workout as many of the tees (especially back nine) are on very high sand dunes. The locale is beautiful and superb and, due to its remoteness, it wasn't hard to get a tee time. The conditions need some improvement (I didn't care but some of my pals were critical of the fairway grass or lack of it). For an American in search of an Irish links experience (and if you haven't scheduled a tee time at Ballybunion or Lahinch six months in advance), this is a must play course (if you can get there).
Brian McGraw, Cleveland, Ohio (from )
Carne Golf Links has the potential to become one of the best courses in Ireland. It is routed through a great piece of links land, with towering dunes lining many fairways, and great green locations, many well elevated in the sand hills. The surroundings are equally dramatic, against the water with the Nephin Beg Mountains always in the background. The finishing holes are tremendous, with #18 being as good a five par as there is if Carne is to be ranked among the top courses in Ireland, the greens must improve greatly, still it is great fun!
JP McGuinn (from )
The back nine holes are as challenging as you will find, I played the course in 1999 and I am going back in September 2000. This course must be one of Irelands finest 'Hidden gems'.
Dr. Fagey (from )
God bless the designer, the late Eddie Hackett, for one of the rare, primal golf courses on the planet. Surrender any notions of control, and predictable shotmaking and discover new repertoires of shotmaking and understanding at the edge of the Atlantic. I hesitate to even speak in any grandiose manner for fear of attracting too many others to a unique, unspoiled, links adventure.
Enjoy the scent of turf in the air! Enjoy your Guinness in as tranquil a setting as will ever exist again......
Paul Westland hdcp.13 (from )
Excellent stuff. Set in the middle of nowhere, it is a true test. I played it in what almost seemed like gale force winds, but the locals tell me that is usual. There are some stunning holes and very intimidating drives. The only slight negative is that the Greens were only OK. Get them improved and you have one of the worlds best.
James Allen h'cap 15 (from )
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Carne Golf Links - Course Description