The general rugged, barren landscape in this corner of Ireland that overlooks Galway Bay is, frankly, so bleak and desolate that it is hard to believe anyone would want to construct a golf course in such a place. But that is precisely what architect Robert J. Browne accomplished in 1996 when he turned such hilly and marshy land – dotted with granite outcrops, heather and gorse – into a fine, 6,793-yard, 18-hole moorland track.
Located beside Lough Inch on land that has more than its fair share of inherent drainage problems, it is no surprise to find out that water comes into play as a hazard on thirteen holes at Bearna. To compensate for this, bunkering on the course is minimal, with only a handful to be found on fairways throughout the property and only one or two used per hole as green protection.
The club motto, translated from the Gaelic, is “welcome, and may lark song accompany you.” The club certainly love to bring wildlife into the naming of holes, with some wonderful titles like “Lake of the Fish,” “Plain of the Hares,” “Marshland of the Seagulls” and, best of all, “High ground of the thieving cow, between two Valleys.”
The views of the course on arrival are mouth watering. After you play the first hole you cross the road to some more level land however no two holes are the same. It is not just up and back and there is nothing hidden. You can see what you are asked to do and you must play the shot. If you miss the green you can still find your ball but you will be playing from a more difficult position. The greens are good but a bit slow for me. A lot of tee shots must be placed in the right part of the fairway so have a look at the hole diagrams placed on every tee. A delightful day of golf and very welcoming people. Of course the Irish love a chat and will tell you about their lovely course. Don't miss this course it is better than the other higher priced ones in the area.
Able to play Bearna this week as 2 4 balls with very short notice. The welcome we received was second to none by the Pro, restaurant and members. Can honestly say I've never played as attractive a course for the price paid. Whilst the weather had been very wet the greens were in a great condition. Should form part of any golfing trip to this area of Ireland.