Enniscrone Golf Club started out in life in 1918 as a modest nine-hole course. But it was the prolific Irish architect, Eddie Hackett, who put Enniscrone on the map, when, in 1974, he extended the layout to 18 holes. Donald Steel has recently extended the configuration to 27 holes by using new land and adjoining dunes. He has also changed the original flat opening holes, which were out of keeping with the rest. The main course now plots its way through the gigantic dunes and across the folded rippled links land. Now, with 27 holes, there are a number of playing options but it seems fitting that the main course is now called Dunes (the third nine is called Scurmore).
The location is ravishing; Enniscrone is set on a promontory, which juts out into Killala Bay at the mouth of the Moy Estuary. Scurmore, one Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, borders the links, while the moody Ox Mountains provide a stormy backdrop to the east and the Nephin Beg Range dominates the westerly skyline.
The course itself complements its surroundings. The fairways pitch and roll between towering shaggy dunes. Greens are raised on plateaux and protected by deep valleys and ravines, whilst others nestle at the feet of high dunes. There are elevated tee shots and panoramic ocean views. Enniscrone really is a breathtaking golf course with a serious challenge attached.
Stretching out to more than 7,000 yards from the tips, it calls for some solid driving. There is nothing unnatural about Enniscrone; it’s in tune with its surroundings, where there is this ever-present sense of space and freedom.
You must expect a bit of wind here, and that will naturally bring another dimension to the challenge. If you are feeling weary and windswept after your round, why not visit Kilcullen's Seaweed Baths in Enniscrone village? Guaranteed to provide relief from the rigours of the round. Or try and unravel the giant and rampageous Enniscrone black pig myth. But whatever you do, take the time to play this course before it gets too well known and becomes the Ballybunion of the Western Seaboard.
Enniscrone Golf Club was voted 2008 Golf Course of the Year at the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association Awards Ceremony. Enniscrone wins 2008 IGTOA Golf Course of the Year
I visited Carne and Enniscrone this week to complete my personal play list of Irish Top 20 links courses on this website. Having played the former in the morning and been really impressed, I journeyed from Co. Mayo to Co. Sligo in the afternoon thinking the course at Enniscrone would do well to come anywhere near the same standard. Well, was I in for a surprise as it far surpassed my expectations!
The recently revamped 1st and 18th holes bookend a fabulous set of fairways made up of an amalgam of original (some very original) Eddie Hackett designs and half a dozen new holes from architects Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert, with the less interesting holes from the old layout forming part of the relief nine. Holes 7 to 9 on flatter land towards Scurmore Beach are an ideal trio to take a breather between the testing holes that are routed through the tall dunes. Whilst I loved the six modern holes (2-4 and 14-16) that have been carved out of the massive sand hills, it was the two back-to-back, old-fashioned short par fours at 12 and 13 that really took my fancy here - the first doglegging left to a green carved into the dunes, the second veering and dipping down to a punchbowl green on the right from a wonderfully high tee position – Hackett at his very best.
Enniscrone is a serious golf track that will test any golfer and its sensibly priced green fees should attract many who are keen to play high end golf for a reasonably modest outlay. If you’re visiting for the first time, you’d do well to ask for manager Pat Sweeney to give you a brief outline of the recent course changes and pass on any tips on how to shave a few shots of your score (like how to play the aforementioned 13th) - tell him the two Scotsmen who birdied his stroke index 2 5th hole sent you! Jim McCann