Atlantic Coast Challenge 2015
Apr 28 Posted by Kevin Markham in Carne Golf Links Blog

Atlantic Coast Challenge

The Atlantic Coast Challenge first teed off in 2011. It was the commitment of three of the north west’s most spectacular clubs that made the Challenge a reality. By coming together, Carne, Co. Sligo and Enniscrone golf links have created a three day tournament which is open to anyone who loves the game of golf.

Now in its fifth year, the event has become one of the most prestigious golf challenges in the country. It has brought a renewed prominence to the north west, showcasing not just three of the best links golf courses in Ireland, but also the beauty of Mayo and Sligo, and the wonderful reception visitors receive on every trip. If there’s one thing you’ll always get in the north west, it’s a heartfelt Irish welcome.

Such factors are increasingly important as golfers come from far and wide. Canada and the USA, France, Germany, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and, of course, our neighbours across the Irish Sea have all been regular visitors at the Challenge. We’ve even had golfers from Oman and Australia. It helps of course that this north west region was voted the European Golf Destination of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) in 2011. It was a major boost to the region’s profile and the feelgood factor remains. Little wonder, given what’s on offer.

Value For Money

And let’s not forget the value-for-money aspect, as entry to the Atlantic Coast Challenge costs just €139. There are early bird offers available but unfortunately you’ll just have to remember that for next year, as this year’s event will be played from the 6th – 8th (MonWed) July, and any early bird offers have been snapped up… not surprising considering the Challenge’s popularity.

Discounted green fees are also offered to golfers who want to arrive early and get in a little practice. Considering the quality and – let’s call a spade a spade – the size and deviousness of Carne and Enniscrone, particularly, such practice might well help in you and your team’s quest to conquer the courses and have a shot at the €6,000 prize fund.

Yes, a €6,000 prize fund is enough to make you sit up and take notice, isn’t it! That’s a large pot and the 2015 Challenge has been divided into individual and team competitions to create numerous prizes… not that everyone who enters the competition has designs on winning, but it’s nice to know that you’re in with a chance.

For all entrants – be they winners or not – there is a buffet/barbecue (weather dependent) on the last night at the Diamond Coast Hotel. This is included in the entry fee and it is here that the prizegiving
takes place.

The Atlantic Coast Challenge Format

A three-person team event has always been the main format, with an individual element most years. Scoring uses the Stableford system, which makes things fairer for all as you play across some of the most buckling dunes in the world. In the event that you fail to score on a hole, there’s always plenty to catch your eye with views in every direction. Or maybe that’s why you didn’t score in the first place! At Carne, the waters and beaches of Blacksod Bay can prove very distracting on the back nine, while the mountains of Achill Island and the Nephin Beg Range ripple along the horizon on the opening holes and create a stunning backdrop as you play the 18th.

A team can be any combination of men and women, and the only restriction is a handicap limit of 24 for men, and 36 for ladies. Handicap certificates are also required.

The event is not what you’d call formal, which is very much in keeping with the tone of these courses. You simply check in at the Pro shop, mingle with fellow competitors and head for the first tee prior to your allotted tee time. There you are greeted by a starter, as well as a few goodies to help sustain you during your round. It gives the event a relaxed air and makes it that much easier to enjoy. At the end of the round you hand in your scorecards and, most likely, head for the bar and a bite to eat.

Results are available in all three Pro shops the following day… just in case you’re doing rather well and need a bit of extra motivation for the round ahead.

The Challenge offers three different sets of course rotations, both to cater for the number of players involved and also to help those golfers who are travelling from far away. In other words, you can start at Carne, Co Sligo or Enniscrone. It’s entirely up to you.

It is also worth pointing out that you don’t have to enter as a team of three. Plenty of individuals and pairs put their names down and are then grouped together. It adds to the fun and the camaraderie. One such individual came from Finland.

Places to Stay

Each town has places to stay, from high-end hotels to B&Bs.

In Belmullet town (beside Carne), there are two hotels to choose from: the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, on the road into town, and the smaller, boutique Talbot Hotel, which is in the town itself. Both are family run and have that friendly air about them. The Broadhaven Bay has 88 rooms, while the Talbot has just 21.

You could also choose the Stella Maris hotel, which is 45 minutes east, in Ballycastle.

Sligo has a wider choice due to its size, with the Yeats Country Hotel and Radisson Blu Hotel being the closest to Co Sligo golf club. Enniscrone, with its famous beach, has the Atlantic Coast Challenge’s key sponsor overlooking the golf course; among other things, the Diamond Coast Hotel has large rooms and is only a five minute walk from the first tee.

Timing is Everything

It is important to note that the rounds of golf can be quite slow. This can be for various reasons such as the blind shots you face, lack of course knowledge, lost balls and the general numbers on the course. Our advice is to follow golf etiquette and let those behind you play through if you have lost ground on the group in front.

There’s still time to enter the Challenge, and enjoy the courses that some 300 other links’ enthusiasts will be playing in early July. Talk to your friends and book here.
Posted by admin at Jun 22, 2016 Category: Other
Tags: Atlantic Coast Challenge, carne golf links, Sligo