Carne (Hackett) - Mayo - Ireland

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


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Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Carne

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.

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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: 9.1 out of 10 Reviews: 59
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Steve MacQuarrie

Eddie Hackett certainly knew how to route a golf course. And at Carne he got a piece of land that allowed his genius to show through. One can just imagine the former Portmarnock professional tromping through the marram grass locating one delightful green site after another. The result is 16 holes that from tee to green are as good as it gets. Only the two par 5s at the extremes of the course (the 4th and the 13th) are ordinary. Moreover, Carne manages to challenge the golfer while employing minimal bunkering, another testament to Hackett’s work.

The issue at Carne for me, however, is that the greens do not measure up to the routing. With a few exceptions (most notably # 14), they are rather flat and not particularly imaginative—an unfortunate counterpoint to the excitement the course provides from tee to green. Had Hackett been able to match the creativity of the routing on the greens, we’d have a course to match the best on the island.

Americans who love links golf do so for the firm and fast conditions that are so rare on our side of the Atlantic. On my most recent visit, Carne played neither firm nor fast. The fairways hadn’t been cut in some time and were infested with wildflowers. And the greens read 7.8 on my stimpmeter—the slowest of eight courses I played on the island in May 2016.

May 29, 2016
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

Eighteen months after my last visit to Carne, I was back again last week to play the original 18-hole layout. Because I had only played the front nine once before, when it was very foggy, it was great to get the chance to reassess the course on a bright, sunny day with little wind.

Belmullet’s Immediate Past President Jim Brown accompanied me on my round and he regaled me with numerous stories of how the course had developed in the last two decades. Suffice to say, his yarns could easily be combined into a very entertaining book about how, in the modern era, a small, remote community could Carne Golf Course - Photo by reviewersomehow manage to transform part of its wild, coastal landscape into a world-class 27-hole links facility.

It was evident from the large pools of water by the sides of the 4th and 5th fairways that this place has taken a pounding over the winter months – indeed, the rain in recent months is said to have fallen in biblical proportions. I was surprised to see the fairway on the 12th hole has still not properly bedded in, but that’s another consequence of last year’s generally inclement weather conditions.

Overall, for a course that has ONE full time greenkeeper in Daire Higgins, Carne shapes up rather well and the quality of the astroturf pathways that he’s installing around the teeboxes in the dunes are testament to his endeavours. There’s so much exciting golf to be played within the towering dune system here that Carne simply has to be included in any golfing itinerary to the north west of Ireland. Jim McCann.

April 19, 2016
10 / 10
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James clark
I've used this website to plan various golf trips and at 33 my appreciation of what a great course is has changed over the last 8 years or so. Me and my dad go Scotland normally every summer for a week some of my favourites (machrinhanish, elie , western gales, Stranraer and of course the old course) my disappointments ( kingsbarns, dundonald). This year we chose Ireland, we played seven courses, The Island,ballyliffin (old) after kingbarns and dundonald,I thought old the way to go. Port salon, narin, Enniscrone, Carne and Lahinch. I felt I had to write this about the amazing Carne, as I nearly didn't go with it being a modern links but you read how natural and wild it is so we gave it a go. So glad we did its everything people say it is an more. Stunning,isolated ,wild if you love he game and you love links golf you have to play here. The potential here is amazing it could ,in time be one of the greats it needs investment but what a place, what a layout. We played Lahinch he day after which was perfection in every way a golf course can be. Both course breathtaking, don't miss Carne out whatever you do.
July 05, 2015
10 / 10
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Craig
July 23, 2015
For a lad of 33, you have exceptionally good taste in golf courses. And to be able to play all of them with your dad- well, that is just terrific.
Jim McCann

Much has changed at Carne since I was last here in 2009, especially with the introduction of the fabulous new 9-hole Kilmore course, which has rejuvenated the whole setup. The original 18-hole Eddie Hackett layout is as good as it ever was - indeed, ongoing remedial work to lower the fairway on the 12th hole will actually improve the course - so Carne Golf Links has slowly evolved into a formidable 27-hole golf destination.

Carne Golf Course - Photo by reviewerTalking at length to Eamon Mangan, one of the club´s original members, before setting out on my round, it was fascinating to hear how ordinary local enthusiasts, with the support of various local government bodies, have managed to develop such a fantastic tract of linksland into the wonderful golf facility that it has now become, providing an income for those who operate the clubhouse and course. In many ways, the story reminded me of Askernish, where kindred golfing spirits on the island of South Uist have achieved something similar with their honest endeavour, albeit on a more modest scale.

Having played elsewhere in the morning, I only had time in the afternoon to tackle the new 9-hole layout at Carne and the back nine on the main course which was a pity as I’d played the front nine holes in fog during my previous round and would have loved to replay them in better weather conditions. Still, missing out this time is as good an excuse as any for a return trip another day…

Jim McCann

October 09, 2014
10 / 10
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Chris Fahy
March 01, 2015
Fabulous links course with sand dunes reaching to the sky. Possibility to make a great composite course from 27 holes available. "Heaven on Earth"
David Oliver
Brilliant mad golf course. Stayed in Donegal so it was approx. 3 hour drive to the course. The last hour of the drive was through stunning terrain which added to the experience. Very welcoming club. Decided to hire a buggy which I believe was the right decision especially when navigating the back 9. The front 9 is good, the back 9 is great. The scenery and elevation changes are breathtaking. In all the madness there are some well designed strong holes. The 18th is wild. Absolutely worth the journey. Ive played 70+ GB&I links courses and this is in the top 5 in terms of memorability. (6 handicap golfer - played Carne June 2014)
July 08, 2014
10 / 10
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Craig Waggaman
Links golf is an experience in the metaxy, the in-between, where we find ourselves wandering between sea and land, life and death, time and eternity. It’s hard when the wind is blowing to keep your balance, as it is difficult to maintain a balance of consciousness among the elements that distract and batter us in what we, likely incorrectly, think of as the real world. It’s really hard, when the hail is covering the green and your hands are frozen into wet claws, to see the underlying beauty and order in the scene before you and re-order your own soul in the process- but it does happen..I just returned from my third trip to Carne which is, for me, the place that comes to mind when the word golf comes up in any conversation. It is remote enough that you can play some mornings as a single and walk the linksland as if you were the only person in the world. But it is also a small and friendly club with members that are genuinely welcoming to strangers and a history that is also an uplifting story.This summer I had the privilege of being able to play the new 9 at Carne. For those of you who know the course, the back 9 is what gives Carne its character and reputation. The front 9 is pleasant enough and has a number of nice holes, but it isn’t until you climb the hill to #11 tee that you start to really understand why this is a very special golf course. The new Kilmore 9 will become the perfect companion to the back 9 of the original Eddie Hackett layout to form what may be the best sandhill-inspired links course in the world. So take that turn onto the R313, travel west across the bog lands of Mayo, and take the left (after the Eurospar) coming out of the small town of Belmullet. Enjoy the meaty smell of the turf fires as you wind around the road to Blacksod and don’t let the cemetery on the way to the course intimidate you. You will survive the test. Come once to play and I hope, like me, you will afterwards follow that road as if it were taking you home.
August 25, 2013
10 / 10
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Ronald
Played Carne on our 2nd "annual" Irish golf trip and what a pleasant surprise. Heard about this after reading a novel in which it is mentioned, so we made the drive over after playing RCD. This is a wild ride and one that you will enjoy if you like links golf in a natural setting. I especially liked the back nine and 18 was the icing on the cake. We will be back again this year and give it another go.
August 29, 2011
8 / 10
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James Winter
November 04, 2013
Hi there,just read your review of Carne and am planning playing it next summer.It sounds spectacular.Have played Ballybunion,Lahinch and Tralee already and Old Head which is different again but think I need to add Carne to that.Was interested to read that you heard about Carne i a novel.Which book was that,wouldn't mind reading it.Thanks again for your review
Ronald
I have been lucky to play all the top courses in Ireland and last week played Carne, Wow! It may not be RCD, but it was as wild and natural a golf course you will find. It is a roller coaster ride ending with an exciting par 5 that was terrific. If manicured fairways are what you like, then stay away, but if a day on one of golfs most natural and exciting courses is your thing, then do play Carne, you won't regret it.
April 15, 2011
10 / 10
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Fran
A solid course but a little too over the top for my tastes.
June 30, 2010
6 / 10
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DF
July 30, 2010
Too over the top? I don't understand how that statement can possibly relate to this golf course. A little elaboration on your review might help us better understand.
Fran
We played Carne on a beautiful, sunny day last week (6/15/10). Let me preface by saying I played poorly, hitting only one fairway and losing at least a dozen balls. Carne is a wild ride, up and down and side to side with huge dunes framing the fairways and greens. The fairways were brown,hard and fast while the greens were nice and green and receptive. Carne plays fairly for the most part. Most holes you can see what's required to have success. There were two holes that I felt were tricked up. Numer 11 a dogleg left that plays around a huge dune and then plays WAY uphill for the second shot ( I hit one of my few good approach shots here and ended up about six feet right of the hole) with a sheer drop off if you miss the green to the right. If your walking ( which we weren't) I guarantee your not walking up that hill twice. The other hole is number 18 a hole you will absolutely love or hate, I'm the latter. About a hundred and fifty yards from the green you find a huge gulf between you and the green big enough to lose an apartment building in. Carne is a wonderful course with an extremely friendly staff that is well worth the trip even if a couple of the holes aren't to my liking.
June 23, 2010
8 / 10
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