Carne (Hackett) - Mayo - Ireland

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


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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.

In November 2020 it was announced that Carne would host the 54-hole Irish PGA Championship in August 2021. The championship routing, which is being referred to as the “Wild Atlantic Dunes” course, will comprise 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: 58
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Tim Johnson
Carne is the best of the over 35 courses I have had the pleasure to play in the UK. Some of the reviewers have mentioned the "weak" front 9 and I believe that to be nit picking. While it does not have the massive dunes of the back nine, the layout reminds me of an older, more traditional links course. Holes # 5 & 6 are very nice holes and #7 is a quaint uphill par 3. #4 is a short par 5 but one must remember that links golf is typically 4 or 5 holes of tough golf then a breather. The back 9 is quirky and spectacular. The closing holes are very tough and 11 & 12 require very precise shots off the tee. Keep in mind, Mr Hackett did not move alot of earth for the course, he let the terrain dictate the end result. I very much look forward to the new 9 which is too be opened in 2010.
March 05, 2008
10 / 10
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phill donnelly
June 09, 2008
beautiful course and friendly staff.a fair test of golf
Roger Fleet
November 25, 2008
It's a fantastic course and unliken anything else you'll have played. I believe they are building a new nine holes there and that could make it even better. One thing, though, the comment of August 26, 2008, said it was in the U.K. - It's not, it's in Ireland.
Ivan
Played in February in wind and sunshine, the front 9 is very nice - the back 9 is fabulous. Views of the Atlantic behind greens plus high dunes to carry a golfing joy.
February 26, 2008
8 / 10
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Jim Pearson
Carne requires careful observation to bring out all the subtlties of this design, including the many strategic options in both direction and length of shot. Not a course for the impatient, unobservant or easily intimidated, for its bark is worse than its bite , ie it looks harder/more intimidatingl than it is. Its about spotting dead ground and where you want your ball to stop, not just where to aim it or it land it. I couldn't dissagree more with those who would tinker with this terrific unique natural example of the coursebuilder's art. Play the ground as it liies, enjoy discovering new subtleties of its design when you return and leave it alone. This is a far better strategic and varied test than the penal Rosapenna Sandy Hills layout. Take my word for it as I have played almost all the top 50 links in these islands,; many quite a number of times. I think Peter Thomson would heartily approve of this layout if he were to come here. JP Aust
November 07, 2007
10 / 10
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paul turner
At some point sand dunes get too big for great golf; Carne is beyond that point. It’s spectacular but you either hit it straight or you’re up in mountain goat territory; where’s the strategic interest in that? The green complexes have far less interest than the best links in the Isles and combine this with an uninspired back and forth routing for the front 9 and I can’t see it ranked anywhere near 36 in GB and Ireland. I like the course, it’s beautiful, but worth 6 little golf balls???
August 31, 2007
6 / 10
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simon freeman
I agree with what everyone here says about the design- it is fantastic. BUT- all good architects will leave a blank canvas behind to allow for future developement, and Carne just has not been developed. It is obvious that this is a course run by a tourist board who have no idea about golf, and they need to get someone in to bring out the full potential of this brilliant design. The back 9 is just about ok because it is so spectacular, but the front 9 needs a lot of work to get the best out of Hackett`s excellent layout and basic design. Why mess about building another 9 holes when they haven`t finished the 18 they`ve got. This place is worth a visit though- don`t let me put you off going. Belmullet is the end of the earth- its twice as remote as Cambeltown (!), but it has some charm, and the people are friendly, PS..the barman was a really nice guy...
August 18, 2007
6 / 10
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Chris
I first played Carne a few years ago and was blown away by the beauty of the dunes and the amazing routing of the course. Having now played virtually all of the top 20 Links courses in Ireland (excepting on Baltray and the Island), I feel I can now say that Carne is my favorite. Many courses have more picturesque views of the water (Tralee, Waterville, Old Head) and a few have dunescapes that compare to Carne (Ballybunion, Enniscrone, Sandy Hills), but nowehere else that I have played really compares to Carne. It is a fair test of golf that is not tricked up, with very few bunkers, and only a handful or blind or semi-blind shots. The course fits in seamlessly with the land, and the greens feel like they have been there forever. Carne is a course which you must think your way around, and where accuracy is much more important than distance. The routing of the course begins by winding you through some of the smaller and lower dunes, building up to the back 9 upon which Carne's reputation really rests. The 10th is a wonderful par 5, but the back nine really begins on the 11th tee, where you are faced with an elevated tee and an intimidating shot where you must thread the needle between two truly gigantic dunes in order to have a look at the green around the corner of this dogleg. Marked by elevated tees providing wonderful views of the ocean and bay, these finishing holes are quite memorable, with the stretch from 15-18 being my favorite stretch of 4 holes in the country. The only course in Ireland whose routing is as masterful in my opinion is Waterville (not surprisingly also a Hackett design), though the stretch of holes in the middle of that course provides a let down as compared to the beginning and end. Carne builds to a crescendo from hole 1-18 and with the possible exception of holes 4 (a fairly bland shortish 5) and 7 (a uphill, inelegant 3) this is a course without a discernible weakness. While many will argue the merits of othe courses in the republic (Ballybunion, Lahinch, Waterville, Portmarnock), but I will stand by my opinon that Carne is best and most appealing golf experience to be had in Ireland. I look forward to playing the new 9 holes once they are complete.
August 07, 2007
10 / 10
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wtc
Played here on a dry day in July, with moderate winds. The cost for a day of golf equated to around £40. The course was deserted when we arrived at 9 am and remained very quiet all day. Playing Carne is a golfing adventure – the course is staggeringly remote and you will have to drive for at least an hour through barren peat bogs before you reach the small town of Belmullet, where the flat landscape gives way abruptly to a cluster of monstrous dunes. Playing in this fantasy landscape is an awesome experience, and the course makes wonderful use of the contours and the wind to provide a fascinating challenge – the golfer is not confronted by rows of bunkers (there are only twenty) or forced to play in any one way but instead is encouraged to invent shots that can overcome the natural defences. As a result the course is ridiculously fun. It is also, hole-for-hole, the most memorable I have played, with 18 very different challenges – and the back nine, which tumbles over the biggest of the dunes to touch the Atlantic before returning inland, is as good as golf gets.
July 31, 2007
10 / 10
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bionictitch
Played Carne on a windless day June 2007 and have never left a course so in awe. perfect in every way want to come back to Ireland and to Carne for ever.
June 10, 2007
10 / 10
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Super_Long
This course is a true test of golf and in my opinion one of the best links in the country. If you are going to play this course I suggest you have your game well tuned up. I found that you must keep your driver in the bag sometimes and just take a club that will find the fairway. Or you can go all out with your driver but any wayward drives will be punished by the steep dunes and believe me you will be very tired after playing this course if you spend the day climbing the dunes looking for your ball. The back 9 holes are brilliant once you think you got over one obstacle another is placed in front of you. The views here on a fine day are breath taking. Simply brilliant
May 15, 2007
10 / 10
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Frank Donoghue
An unique experienice. Everything is so right about it. Most enjoyable and a live long outing.
February 23, 2007
10 / 10
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