Carne (Hackett) - Mayo - Ireland

Carne Golf Links,
Carne,
Belmullet,
Co. Mayo,
Ireland


  • + 353 (0) 97 82292

The Carne links at Belmullet is the late Eddie Hackett’s swan song and many reckon it’s his finest design. The course sits in splendid isolation on the Atlantic edge of County Mayo. It lies on a peninsula, amidst gigantic dunes with far-reaching views across Blacksod Bay to the Atlantic islands of Inis Gloire and Inis Geidhewild. And it’s absolutely charming.

“I am thrilled with the way the dramatic Belmullet course has turned out,” said Hackett, “and again, I reiterate my first opinion that ultimately there will be no better links course in the country, or, I doubt, anywhere.” It’s impossible to disagree – the course is wild, and natural. It's difficult to believe that the course only opened for play in 1993. It feels as though it’s been here forever. Many of the greens and tees are sited naturally and, for such a modern course, very little earth-moving was required during the construction. From spring to late autumn, the course is alive with harebells, sea holly and wild thyme.

Carne is owned and operated by a community-owned company called Turasoireacht Iorrais Teo. Primarily, the course was developed to attract tourism to an isolated, but beautiful area of western Ireland. If you haven’t heard of Carne, it could be your golf course find of the century. You’ll certainly remember the lunar landscape and the towering sand dunes – we’re in the same league as Ballybunion here at Belmullet.

This 6,700-yard links is not a simple out and back affair. Each nine wends its way back to the clubhouse – the holes snake up and down through the dunes in all directions. As with any coastal course, the wind always plays its part. On a calm day you might play close to your handicap, but when the wind is up, hold on to your hat. Undoubtedly, Hackett has created a high-spirited golf course and it’s a layout that you cannot help but enjoy. “It would be great to believe that we could all leave as beautiful a signature on the world when we depart as Eddie Hackett managed to do,” said Michael Pask from Golf International after playing Carne.

A trip to Ireland’s beautiful west coast would not be complete without playing Carne. Include County Sligo, Enniscrone and Connemara on your itinerary, alongside Carne, and you’ve played four of the most naturally beautiful links courses in the world. Finally, don’t visit Carne without experiencing Ally McIntosh’s new 9-hole layout, which opened in 2013. It’s called Kilmore and is probably the best 9-hole course in Ireland and perhaps Britain too.

Carne hosted the 54-hole Irish PGA Championship in August 2021. The championship routing, referred to as the “Wild Atlantic Dunes” course, comprised of the 9-hole Kilmore and the Hackett back nine.

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Reviews for Carne (Hackett)

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Description: The Carne Golf Links at Belmullet is the late Eddie Hackett’s swan song and many reckon it’s his finest golf course design. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 64
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James Bloomer

Played here as part of 4 day event also involving Enniscrone and Rosses Point.

I cannot recommend too highly these 3 courses as a trip. The duneland at Carne is thrilling, and quite unlike anything I have seen elsewhere.

We played the "Wild Atlantic Dunes" 18, in at least a four club wind. This is a memorably dramatic layout, even for someone who has been lucky to have played in many places. The sheer scale of the dunes defies description. 100 feet high is commonplace. No exaggeration I promise.

There are marvellous holes and parts to holes here. I adored the second shot to 2, with the green benched into a big hill, and all options open, but you had better not get it wrong. Hard on its heels is the terrifying green at 3, with a massive drop to the right, and a card wrecking dune left. A short club in, but as scary a shot as you can have. The last of the drop shot par threes, with its sneaky, dramatic mound front left of the green is lovely also. All around you are stunning views.

If all this is so, and this is a course with more real drama than almost any I have seen, why could I not love it quite the way I loved Enniscrone, a course I rate higher than at least two Open venues?

It might be in tiny part the condition, which was ok and no more. I suspect budgets are small here, and this is not a corner of the world where temperatures are always great for growing.

It is perhaps in part just how windy it was, and that I was unlucky with a willing, but not well-informed caddie. I'd love to go back and give it another go.

It might also be that this is a matchplay not strokeplay course. I have scarcely seen a course that would be more fun for a few friends playing matchplay.

Most of all it is that just a few holes are just a bit too much. 8, with a 80 foot dune in the middle of the fairway of a par 5 and alternate routes each side, was just crazy. Fun, yes, but a little over the top for me. Perhaps better if I play it a second time. 11, the uphill short par 4, was another example, I thought. I was so glad I laid up. A bunker straight out of a calendar of crazy golf holes to the right of the green, so narrow that I cannot imagine ever being able to play out of it towards the flag is one thing; a green with contouring so wild that I was thrilled to two putt a 15 footer quite another. Its not a risk reward hole if you get no reward, surely? Dramatic, yes, but..

Please understand: this is a course unlike any other I have seen, that I really want to go back and play, and that I would highly highly recommend to anyone. If you love golf, go and play it. Just maybe not with a card in hand, and with a well-developed sense of humour.

June 25, 2022
7 / 10
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Steve MacQuarrie

My May 2016 review covered what’s today called the Hackett course—the original 18 holes. This one reviews what’s now played as the Wild Atlantic Dunes course—nine Hackett holes and the new Kilmore nine. Jim Engh routed five holes of the Kilmore and Ally McIntosh finished the job when the club did not go for Engh’s desire to rework some of Hackett’s holes. The club found an ingenious way to use their 27 holes as two different courses. The Hackett course is played half the time (on alternating days) and the Wild Atlantic Dunes course (which consists of holes 1-7 of the Hackett, holes 8-9 of the Kilmore nine, then holes 1-7 of the Kilmore and holes 17-18 of the Hackett) on the other days.

The first Kilmore hole is the most fascinating on the course, the dogleg 8th with a split fairway bisected by an 80 foot high dune. The Kilmore features nine wildly contoured greens, making for a fun, if occasionally maddening, experience. In all cases, the architecture is completely minimalist, built with only rakes and shovels. The routing faces all points of the compass, though one might be put off by the long (and frequently uphill) walks from tee to green. My pedometer read 8.5 miles, where a usual reading would be 6.5-7.

Carne features few bunkers and green speeds of less than nine, but the combination allows club president Gerry Maguire to operate with a greens staff of 2.5 people and still present a delightful experience. If it’s manicured golf you’re after, Carne may not be for you. But if you like natural golf, challenging greens and scenery exceeded nowhere else in Ireland, Carne should be high on your list

May 24, 2022
8 / 10
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Mark White

We played all 27 holes at Carne on a beautiful mid-spring day in sunshine and low wind. After playing the course, with only two mis-steps in finding the next hole, I am conflicted by the courses.

My playing partner and I have a friend who has played it and described it as a course which sometimes exhibits questionable architecture. My playing partner stated it should be referred to as a “curiosity” due to its uniqueness. As for me, I summed it up by saying “don’t know” due to that being my response when asked:

- what it the best line off the tee?

- what way is the green (when out of position blocked by a dune or down in a hollow

- What is the distance to the green?

- Should I cut over this dune?

I suppose that is the joy of the 27 holes at Carne. One is often guessing more here than anywhere.

I was amazed that a golf course existed that featured such high dunes. I only seen these dunes at Royal Aberdeen, Royal Birkdale, Trump Turnberry, Western Gailes, Trump Scotland, and Trump International (perhaps a few others), but never as high and on those courses they are not on the majority of the holes.

I was also amazed that the dunes actually occupy a relatively small amount of acreage with regards both to its location next to the beautiful Blacksock Bay and adjacent farms. The course uses up every bit of the dunes with flat land next to it beyond the fencing. One would think there would either be no tall dunes at all or a much larger territory.

My final “amazement” is that much of the additional nine holes were essentially squeezed inside the previous design by Eddie Hackett. Indeed, the first hole of the Kilmore course designed by Ally McIntosh, is wedged between the first and tenth of the Hackett course although separation occurs after the tee shot.

It is a golf course where a local caddie would save you 3-4 shots each nine due to properly clubbing you as well as reading the greens. I only lost one ball which was on 18 of the Hackett where we walked past the tee box all the way down the hill to discover the red tees. I grabbed my driver and made the trek back uphill only to discover I had no tee and my driver off a broken tee went short and right. I did love the hole despite my double bogey.

There were several times I thought the holes in the taller dunes to be too much. While they are visually appealing, some of the walks to the tee boxes or to the greens are difficult (although maybe that is due to walking 36 holes for five days in a row). At times I did not consider the holes to be links but rather almost a mountain course.

We played the white tees on all three nines. There were a few holes where another five yards off the tee would have added somewhere between 25-70 yards.

While I typically describe each hole, in this review I will merely give my assessment. References are in meters per the scorecard.

Kilmore:

1. Par 5 513/505. I liked this hole going uphill then downhill to a green set beneath the tall dune.

2. Par 3 - 165/147. I liked this hole as well playing from an elevated tee across a valley to a green nestled between dunes. It offers high drama.

3. Par 4 - 313/309. Neither of us liked this hole going sharply downhill.the green also was disappointing.

4. Par 3 - 146/114. Both of us hit too much club to another green playing across lower ground, but it is an okay hole.

5. Par 5 - 506/471. This hole is set between dunes then turning sharply right to an elevated, long green. The tee shot is admirable, but the green complex is a little lacking. Overall, it is a fun hole and beautiful from the elevated Black tee.

6. Par 4 - 341/292. This hole goes strongly uphill resulting in a blind approach shot for nearly every player. There is out of bounds right and a fall off to the left. This has a very good green. It is another solid hole.

7. Par 3 - 209/196. I just missed going over the dune on the left side of the green and tumbled all the way down to the bottom of the blow out bunker. I had a blind shot about 30 feet high and perhaps 30 yards but managed to recover for par. I mention this because recovery is possible at Carne, although sometimes highly unlikely. It is a demanding and dramatic hole which we liked.

8. Par 4 - 350/340. This is an okay hole that snakes it’s way to a good green complex.

9. Par 4 - 409/393. This is perhaps the toughest hole on the Kilmore nine as a long par 4 where one must go left off the tee and even then will likely have a low second into a green placed on a plateau with a false front with a preceding valley. It has a flattish green. This was our favorite hole on the Kilmore.

Hackett: (yards)

1. Par 5 - 510/473. This is a lovely starting hole going uphill then back down to a green nestle against the dunes. Going right off the tee can lead one to a depression with a blind recovery. Of the two, I preferred the first on the Kilmore.

2. Par 4 - 360/325. This hole can have many tee balls running through the fairway due to it being sharply downhill. Longer hitters will likely go through the fairway center if cutting the dogleg right over the dune. One must club their tee shot appropriately. The green is substantially uphill with a dune wall behind it where balls will not release back onto the green leaving a delicate chip. We disliked the tee shot but liked the setting of the green.

3. Par 4 - 362/332. Despite the almost volcano green, this sharply downhill hole is not very good due to the short club one will likely have in their hands.

4. Par 5 - 523/486. A pretty standard par 5 playing slightly uphill to the green with various ripples in the fairway. The green features three bunkers. It is a standard hole even with the out of bounds to the right. There is a nice view of the bay from the green.

5. Par 3 - 159/155. This hole plays uphill to a green that is man-made with tall dunes to the left of it and a mound to clear on the right. The green is very well contoured. We liked the hole.

6. Par 4 - 401/394. From an elevated tee you hit down the valley but the green is level with the tee. The fairway narrows as you approach the green which is long and quick to the front. It is a fine golf hole.

7. Par 3 - 171/ 141. You climb to slightly higher ground for a tee shot that falls as much as 120 feet (?) below to a green with a fall -off to the right and a bunker left. I did not think much of the hole from an architectural standpoint.

8. Par 4 - 431/423. This is a terrific hole climbing ever upwards to the green that has another false front. Beware the fall-off on the left that creeps into the fairway about 160 yards on the left. It also has a terrific green.

9. Par 5 - 539/529. I wish I had brought a tee for the most dramatic drive on the course with the best views as well. You play from a very elevated tee across a valley but you must stay left to avoid the tall grass and dunes going down the right. The approach shot is likely to be 180 yards across another deep valley to a green with another false front. It is the best par 5 of the 27 holes.

The back nine is on much flatter land and often lacks the drama of the previous 18 holes but it was actually my favorite nine due to the green complexes, particularly the surrounds. Perhaps Mr. Hackett put more thought into the greens and it’s surrounds as the land lacks the drama of the front 9.

1. Par 4 - 375/368. This dogleg left plays slightly uphill but longer hitters will get a favorable bounce when their ball releases after the rise. It is an okay hole.

2. Par 3 - 202/162. This is a terrific par 3 set against the dunes behind it and on either side. The green features a false front.

3. Par 4 - 411/404. From another elevated tee this hole plays straight to a wonderfully shaped green. It is a slight dogleg left. We liked the hole.

4. Par 5 - 527/506. There are dunes down the right and out of bounds down the left but the fairway is wide. There is a bunker right front of the well-contoured green. It is the weakest hole on this nine and the weakest par 5 on the course.

5. Par 4 - 413/358. We liked this hole with the fairway narrowing with offsetting bunkers. It gets even smaller as you approach the green which has a lot of movement to the front.

6. Par 4 - 390/381. This hole offers a narrower fairway but with more room to the right than one thinks. It is also the preferred lime to see all of the green. The green has a smaller false front and is well contoured. It is another good hole.

7. Par 3 - 177/170. The green is set high above the tee with a sizeable fall-off before it. Balls hit too far will go into the tall grass of the high dune behind the green. It is a very good and dramatic par 3.

8. Par 4 - 403/397 We thought this to be the coolest green on the course sited on lower ground surrounded by dunes. We really liked the hole particularly the visual of the green.

9. Par 4 - 398/350. We played this one from the black tee and we loved the look of it playing from an elevated tee with a high dune hill on the right. The hole seems to snake its way to the green placed high above you with another false front. The green has a middle 4 feet tier running horizontally thought the green. This was in our top three holes on the course.

My review versus others suggests to me that the Hackett nine has been reversed from other reviewers. I also seem to be different Ain that I did not favor as many of the holes in the tall dunes as other reviewers. At times, those holes in the taller dunes are too much as they are overwhelming while offering the least interesting green surfaces and some times not as good in surrounds. I would likely need another look to confirm. Yet from our first visit, we liked 19 of the 27 holes and thought only two holes to be “bad” due to simply not enough land more than any other factor.

Overall I greatly favored the back nine on the Hackett versus the back nine save for four holes. I thought there was only one weaker hole on the front nine.

For uniqueness, Carne is in a high echelon of courses. For golf purists it will,likely not rate as highly. It certainly is a course everyone should play once, if not return. It will be a fun discussion to pick out one’s favorite holes.

May 15, 2022
8 / 10
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Mariano Martinez de Azagra

If we ask any avid golfer what he is looking for when he travels thousands of kilometers to play golf, perhaps many would not know how to answer first, or would adduce answers such as the possibility of spending a few days with friends, good times in the course and outside, with or without beers in between, or the possibility of getting away from it all for a few days.

But, from a purely golfing point of view, the reason why we travel to distant destinations, at least in my case, is to enjoy golf courses other than those in which we are used to play regularly.

Well, if that's really what it's about, Carne would deserve a golf trip by itself, (although my recommendation is not to forget some other courses in the region), because it has some of the most incredible and memorable holes that I have had the pleasure of playing.

My recommendation for other players would be to play the 27 holes that the club has, , in one or more days, in order to enjoy the entire experience.

In my case, we played the 18 of the Hackett course in the morning, and in the afternoon the 9 of the Kilmore course, which are integrated together with the first 9 of the previous one at the Wild Atlantic Dunes.

As for the Hackett course, it begins in an overwhelming way, since holes 1 to 9 take you through the most untamed terrain of the property, between some giant dunes and very close to the sea. Each hole is a delight in itself, although, if there are any to be highlighted, I would opt for 2nd, 8th and 9th.

After that, the course enters the area furthest from the sea, less dramatic, but not negligible, far from it. In fact, in my opinion, some of the holes have nothing to envy to the previous ones from the point of view of the game, only that the landscape not as overwhelming.

Special mention should be made of the 11th hole, a beautiful par 3 where the green is partially obscured by a dune, the 12th, a long par 4 with a difficult-to-access green, and the 18th, a complicated par 4 that is a more than worthy culmination on the back nine.

In our case, after a quick lunch, we spent the afternoon on the Kilmore tour, the club's newest addition. The president of the club, Gerry Maguire, who kindly received us at the end of our round in the morning, had already warned us about the drama of these holes, but, the truth, the reality exceeded those high expectations.

Some of the holes could be discussed, or discarded by purists, but in few places have I enjoyed it so much, not only for the landscape, but for the challenge they pose and for the multiple possibilities that each hole offers. And above all, they are pure fun.

It is difficult to highlight any hole when all are special, but I would mention the 2nd, a par 3 to a green nestled in a depression, the 5th, a wonderful par 5 that is played in a true corridor between dunes and that finally opens up to the approach to the green (my favorite of the entire course) the 6th, a long par 3 played on the side of a monstrous dune, and the 9, with its fearful drive from the top of the property.

Many have praised Carne before me, and in some cases the descriptions do justice to the course, but my advice is to go and play it as it can hardly disappoint anyone. Apart, and regardless of all the drama, and the beauty of the place, the course forces you to think and define a strategy in most of the holes, especially when the wind blows.

Carne is the closest thing to an amusement park from a golf point of view; don't miss out if you go as far as the North West of Ireland.

October 19, 2021
10 / 10
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Tyler Webb

I do not understand how anyone could play this course and not be blown away. The most impressive golf grounds I have ever had the pleasure of walking. Speaking of walking, Carne is not an easy walk, but the golfer is rewarded with incredibly views from nearly every tee. The par 3 hole titled "Fionnuala" is like playing the Pebble Beach of Ireland. The conditioning of the course was top notch. If you do not enjoy playing golf at Carne, it is time to give up the game. Worth every minute it takes to reach the golf course on the westernmost point in Ireland.

September 08, 2021
10 / 10
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Doug Roberts

Carne is a special place. The course or 27 holes are fabulous. But seriously....Keep the 27 holes as 3 nines and don't mess with creating a Wild Dunes....The original 18...A new 9...Play as 3 nines with rotating play on them as such. That's pretty much what every other 27 hole course does. And these are 27 excellent holes.

August 31, 2021
9 / 10
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Andrew Forde

First off with Carne, make sure you play all 27 holes. This is an absolute must!

Had the pleasure of playing in August 2019 and instantly fell in love with the entire property as soon as I stood on the grass that runs along one side of the upper floor of the clubhouse that I thought was a putting green (note to Carne; please make it a putting green). When you stand here you get an indication of what awaits you as you look out at towering dunes and fairways that disappear behind them, but the treasure of Carne is waiting beyond them.

#1 is a short Par 4 that eases you in nicely where you can hit a long iron favouring the left fairway to open up the green with a short iron in hand. The green gives an early lesson in undulations sloping left to right. You move on to #2 (it’s to the back right of the green, we got lost) and get a treat of a Par 3 with a large dune behind watching over a relatively straightforward green.

I could speak about more of the holes on the front but will jump forward to #8, possibly my favourite on the course, and doesn’t let up the whole way in in my opinion. Favour the right side of the fairway to have a look at the green but you still might have to go for a little stroll to view the green and what a visual it is. Set in an amphitheatre of dunes, it is glorious to look at and makes an approach so inviting but it’s not without its trouble, a bunker short right, a two-tier green and the aforementioned dunes guard it well. #9 is a lovely finisher to this set also with a ridge running straight across the fairway so look for enough club to be beyond and don’t be short.

#10 is a beautiful Par 5 which is definitely one to score on, no particular side to favour but get a good one away and reaching in two is a real possibility. Enjoy the view of this approach with the dunes behind, it’s just a taster of what’s to come.

#11 is simply stunning to the eye. An alleyway of a fairway between a long dune on the left and a giant of a dune on the right. Doglegging to the right, a long iron played to the left will kick back into the fairway and leave a flick of a wedge to an elevated green.

#12 is not to dissimilar to the previous but doglegs the opposite way. Again, a long iron off the tee and do not be short with your wedge or you’ll have the agony of watching it roll 50ft back to you.

#13 is a reachable Par 5 with OB the whole way along the right and a water hazard hidden just off the right of the fairway. It has wonderful sloping fairway and you can just enjoy the views as you make your way to the green. #14 a Par 3, is all about the green which is a fascinating complex and walkaway with your head held high with par.

#15 doesn’t make your life any easier as it plays completely uphill and even if you find the fairway it has some extreme elevation changes making a narrow green even tougher to hit. Favour the right side and you will hopefully trickle down to the centre.

#16 a stunner of Par 3 and could be any number of clubs depending on the wind and how to choose to flight it. The green slopes back towards you so too much spin could be troublesome.

#17 is a proper test of where your game is for the round. If you’ve been driving well and think you can find the silver of the fairway as it begins to narrow at 235 then you’re a better person than me! Anything left and you find yourself in a 50ft hollow. The approach is just as daunting with a green that can mean a 3-4 club difference depending on its position. Respect the index and remember that bogey is sometimes a very good score.

I admittedly have a soft spot for a closing hole Par 5 and when I play one like #18, I remember why. I can only imagine how fortunes have changed in matches or Strokeplay scores here over the years. it’s also one of those Par 5s where the decision is either go for it or play your 2nd as only 150 shot because a valley awaits anything in between to torment you for a shot to an elevated green.

I came off the 18th absolutely blown away by the layout and even more mesmerised when you hear that now machinery was used to sculpt it. Carne brings you back to a feeling of how golf was supposed to be played and how someone would have looked at a plot of land and decided to play golf there because why not?! Carne only has two greenkeepers…two! Bear that in mind when you play and appreciate the place even more for it and that golf courses don’t have to be immaculate or pristine to be enjoyed, they sometimes offer you flags in holes in the ground over spectacular land because why not.

Eddie Hackett is truly the father of golf course design in Ireland and blessed be his name.

Interesting/quirky note(s):

Spoke with the Chairman of the Club, Gerry Maguire (yes, really) after the round and told me they are planning a reroute to incorporate the Kilmore 9 into predominantly the back 9 of the Hackett. That will be special!

November 14, 2019
9 / 10
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Peter Wood

Located near the village of Belmullet, Carne’s Hackett course is set in towering dunes set on a peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Coast. The course is very much a tale of two nines with the front nine playing through more subdued terrain with rural vistas. The back nine however is a different story as it is routed through large dunes, and touches the coastline.

The front nine eases you into the round with a succession of nice links holes in low lying dunes, and a couple (holes 3 & 4) which skirt the dunes.

I thought the two par 3's were good holes – the second a semi blind tee shot to a raised green surrounded by Carne (Hackett) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer small dunes, and the seventh which has an elevated green sitting on a ledge in the dunes. It has a sharp fall off at the front and the green is quite narrow, so it's is a difficult target to hit.

Hole 5 & 6 are gentle dog leg par 4's where the small dunes are used well to protect the green. But I thought the best hole of the nine was the par 4 eight hole with the green guarded by two slightly larger dunes.

The back nine is more demanding and quite dramatic. The tenth is a par 4 with the green set in a huge dune amphitheatre. It looks good!

Hole 11 is a par 4 which doglegs sharply right. The view from the elevated tee is breathtaking! A good tee shot between the dunes below sets you up for a look at the green (which is hidden by a large dune off the tee). Again the green sits up high on a ledge in the dune making for a most unusual and dramatic golf hole.

The twelfth hole is similar in that the elevated tee has glorious views and the tee shot must be accurate to hit the tiny fairway below, with outer bounds long and right and dunes to the left. The approach is to a high green behind the left dunes.

The back nine continues through the largest of dunes, with heaving fairways and a number of elevated greens. Fourteen is a nice par 3 with ocean views, and sixteen is a drop shot par 3 from an elevated green to a green set well below in a dell.

The closing hole is a tumultuous par 5 which summarises the back nine perfectly.

Unfortunately when we played the condition of the course was below par, likely because of economic factors as a result of the building of the Kilmore nine.

Certainly if the Kilmore nine is finished, and played back to back with the existing back nine Carne would be a major player in Irish golf.

Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.

September 25, 2019
8 / 10
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Ed Battye

The Hackett 18 is currently the main configuration although the addition of the Kilmore 9 in 2013 (but closed until recently) may change this in the future. Either way if you are going to make the effort to travel all the way to remote Belmullet, situated on a peninsula at the very edge of Ireland –just about as close as you will get to America from the British Isles – then you may as well play all 27. You won’t regret it.

At Carne – created in 1993 to boost tourism to this part of the World and overlooking Blacksod Bay and the wild Atlantic Ocean - you play some crazily-good golf between, over and around some monumental dunes. As you make your way through the labyrinth of sandhills, at times plunging down, at times climbing up, you are continually amazed at the outlandish shots you must play. It’s a dune junkie’s paradise.

The untamed, and largely untouched, nature of the terrain ensures that the course often borders on the extreme but importantly it never once crosses the line, although in the case of the Kilmore loop it pushes the boundaries tantalising close! This is golf close to the edge and if you are a thrill-seeking golfer Carne is likely to be your manna from heaven.

Although it is mostly unconventional – at times off-the-wall – there is still an undeniably quality to the links and this is why it rightly takes its place in the Top 100 of Great British and Irish golf courses. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way Carne is a true golfing treasure. You are often firing into the unknown and although you always have an inkling of where you are heading you can never be 100% certain.

Wind is likely to be a factor too but the course remains playable and the rough wasn’t too penal in June 2019. The nature of land dictates that not many bunkers are required either so play keeps moving nicely.

Carne is relentless in the holes it puts before you. It’s a wild ride where we play to some brilliant green complexes; the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th have all hit you directly in the face before a third of your day is done. And when I say the front nine of the 27 is the most sedate loop of the three you can only imagine what is on offer for the remainder.

To single out individual holes is a near impossibility because the course keeps delivering amazing holes one after another. If any given golf course had just one hole similar to what we find at Carne it would be the main talking point but here we simply take for granted the perpetual quality of each hole as we traverse the boundless dunescape.

An aging Eddie Hackett laid out the main 18 (his last course) and over time – if not already – I’m sure it will become his magnum opus. The addition of the Kilmore 9 – where arguably the best holes on the property reside – only enhances this remote venue further.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

June 12, 2019
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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Dan Hare

Belmullet is miles from anywhere, but any links lover definitely needs to make the trip - Carne is stunning, and unlike other "golf porn" courses, if anything the photos don't do credit to the amazing topography. The dunes may be higher at Enniscrone, but their use is more varied at Carne. The overall quality of a Dunes Links experience often rests on the holes on the perimeter. Carne's flatter landward holes still have plenty of good golf around dunes, including the 12th requiring a strong drive drawing around the dune then another well hit approach into the wind with a bad drop off to the right with OOB waiting a tentative shot. There are some farm views to the North, similar to RCD back 9, but then supplanted by glorious sea and beach views at 13. The quality continues through to the notoriously hard 17th (cavernous drop offs left and right of the fairway) and then the 18th with its huge dip short of the green. Very good front nine, but one of best back 9's we've played. Recommended to stay in Belmullet, one of the nicest and friendliest villages we've been in so far, with a great play and stay deal at the excellent Drum Caoin B&B, and beers at McDonnell's bar run by the irrepressible Padroig. Not for nothing is its nickname "The Lobster Pot" since it's so hard to get out once you're in ! Will definitely come back again when the extra 9 is in play, those holes look other worldly !

April 26, 2018
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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