GRADE “A” ARCHITECTURE
Carne Golf Links / Belmullet / County Mayo / Ireland
17th hole / 436 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Eddie Hackett
Front-nine opened 1992 / Back-nine 1993
The journey to Carne is one you’ll likely never forget as the community of Belmullet is truly isolated. The spirit of golf comes alive in grand fashion — the course is situated in some of the finest pure links land one can encounter anywhere. The creation of Carne is an interesting story of determination — bringing to the forefront a magnificent creation enticing eager golfers willing to sample what Carne so uniquely provides.
Túrasóireacht Iorrais (Erris Tourism) is a company set up in 1984 by the local community to develop and promote tourism in the Erris region of North Mayo. As part of this tourism development, it undertook the construction of an 18-hole championship golf links. The golf links and clubhouse were built on 260 acres of commonage — land jointly owned by local farmers — part of the Carne banks, which was purchased in 1985. The journey to complete the course took some time — eight years — the clubhouse opening in 1995.
The building of Carne Golf Links has caused little disturbance to this wild and ancient landscape. Tees and greens occurred naturally and very little earth moving was involved in the course construction. There are some breathtaking views over the Atlantic Ocean and the legendary islands of Inis Glóire and Inis Géidhe.
The 17th is the penultimate hole and easily one of Ireland’s finest. The hole moves to the right for the tee shot and the player must decide how bold a line one to try. The more you attempt to cut the corner the greater the carry becomes but if successful the shorter the approach and the better angle is one’s reward. For those going too far left you’ll encounter a steep bowl-like drop-off. The difficulty from this area multiples itself several times over as visibility to the green becomes a major obstacle.
For those finding the fairway you face a superb green-site — the green is shaped like the letter “C” working its way along another major drop-off to the right side. While the green has sufficient room — 7,534 square feet — the effective playing area can be significantly lessened pending on where the pin is located. When the flagstick is tucked all the way to the rear right it takes a herculean effort to both gauge the distance on the approach and to achieve the proper trajectory to ensure a soft landing will remain in place.
The topography is simply spellbinding.The 17th hole is named “An Muiríneach” — translated means hazardous, burdensome and difficult. Each of those words fits the 17th so aptly. Since its opening there have not been any changes to the 17th hole since its creation by legendary Irish architect Eddie Hackett. There was never a need.
In sum — the 17th at Carne is nothing less than tour de force golf.