Should you put Connemara on your next Irish golf trip itinerary?
The honest answer is “probably not”.
This is not because the course is bad in any way. In fact it is almost visually unique among links courses with all the bare rock close to the playing surface. The sea and landscape views are as lovely. The layout is also sympathetic with the more forgiving golf on the front nine and the longer, tougher holes on the back nine. For matches and twilight rounds it is also great to come back to the clubhouse after hole no 16.
We saved the third “C” loop of nine holes for our day two but quickly decided that once was enough. Some of the holes are fantastic designs on their own, but the long walks between holes make this nine feel like an afterthought. My advice is to play two rounds on the main 18 holes instead, unless you are a keen student of golf course architecture.
So, indeed, why not Connemara on your next Irish golf trip ?
You go to courses like Connemara for two reasons: (1) they fit into an itinerary where you play also other courses over 3-7 days or (2) they are great, out-of-the-way weekend type destinations on their own, a bit like Machihanish if you like.
Ballyconneely does not fit into the first category. It simply is too far away from other top-ranked Irish golf courses. It took us almost three hours northwards to get to Carne; it would have taken about the same time had we gone south to Lahinch. In the second category there are better combinations of accessibility, affordability and quality in Ireland: Ballyliffin comes to mind.
Therefore, I am afraid that future reviews on this site may also comment on the remoteness of this place and, perhaps also, praise Connemara as an undiscovered gem.
Date: October 03, 2016