Thursday, 21 November 2013

New Nine Holes at Carne Golf Club - Part Deux

This is a follow-up to my previous article about my local course in Carne, near Belmullet in Co. Mayo, Ireland. Therefore, this post hasn't anything to do with Golf Predictor either! On another trip home last weekend, I got the opportunity to walk the new nine holes, this time in the correct order and with the greens complete. These new "Kilmore" nine holes have been open for a few months now to generally rave reviews and I jumped at the opportunity to accompany my uncle as he pitted his wits against the imposing layout and the elements. The weather was dry for a change, but it was extremely windy, with a gale blowing mostly from left to right on the early holes.

Overall, the layout is very challenging for the high and low handicapper alike. The former will spend a lot of time searching for (and losing!) golf balls in the thick grass up on huge dunes and down in deep depressions. The latter will have to use all their course management skills to find the right angle into the right section of undulating greens in the usual windy conditions. Compared to the existing eighteen holes, I would say the terrain is broadly similar to the back nine, with slightly higher dunes perhaps and much more undulating greens. Although very new, the greens are in surprisingly good condition, except for two near the end which were a little patchy.

The first new hole is a par five and it will be a challenge to find the putting surface with a wood/long iron/hybrid, protected as it is on almost every side (and especially the front left by a large depression):

Looking towards the first green (I'm a shadow of my current self!)
The par three second looks great from the tee, with the green nestled just to the left of large dune:

Second hole from the tee.
The second sports a large undulating green with a slope from back to front and a huge natural sand dune/bunker to right of the putting surface:

The undulating second green with adjacent large sandbank
The third hole is a lovely looking downhill par four. This time the green is nestled to the right of a large dune:

The third hole with my uncle just after he had lost another ball!
The fourth hole is an imposing par three with an elevated green:

The par three fourth hole with the wild Atlantic in the background.
The par five fifth hole is the one that had the large dune splitting the fairway in my previous post. However, since that time, the area to the right of the mound has been let grow, leaving left as your only option.

The par five fifth hole from the tee
Your second shot will be blind around that large central dune and the hole veers slightly uphill to the green:

Fifth fairway with central dune centre right (& otter droppings in foreground!)
The sixth hole is an uphill straight par four:

Sixth hole from the tee
This is another hole with an undulating green:
The sixth green
The seventh hole is another nice par three, with short being your only safe bale out option:

Seventh hole from the tee. The green is straight ahead and that's my uncle's jacket in bottom right!
The penultimate hole is a challenging par four to a raised undulating green:

The eighth green from the fairway

This eighth green was one of the patchy ones, but this will improve with time. The final hole has you heading back towards the clubhouse with a drive to a very undulating fairway:

Ninth hole from just above the yellow tee with the clubhouse in the back left.

Overall, I was very impressed with the new Kilmore nine holes. They offer a strong physical and mental challenge to golfers of all levels and when they mature in a year or two, the twenty seven holes at Carne will offer as good a test of links golf as you will find anywhere. In addition, the views from some of the elevated tees are impressive, with panoramic views of the wild Atlantic and associated islands in one direction and Blacksod Bay and Achill Island in the other. So, if you're looking for an exhilarating links golf experience, you now have twenty seven great reasons to make the trek up to Carne.

That's my bit done for local tourism!

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