Wild Atlantic Way Open Ladies Four Ball Championship

Posted by Kevin Markham on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 in Carne Golf Links Blog


When the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI), the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) and the PGA combined their wisdom to create the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), they may not have anticipated quite how large the strides the CGI would take… and how quickly.  The CGI is helping to advance the sport of golf in Ireland, now and for the future.
This can be seen in various guises ( but one of the clearest measures of success has been the number of women trialling and taking up the sport.Adult membership numbers for the ILGU have been falling since 2007, but 2016 saw the smallest decrease in 10 years (1 per cent), indicating that perhaps we are finding a balance which will soon swing towards positive growth.
Considering the success of the programmes, I’m surprised that more clubs haven’t taken advantage by introducing specific ladies events. Only two spring to mind: the Ladies Retreat at Lough Erne, now in its 6th year, combines coaching (from two lady professionals), a competition and a luxury overnight stay at the five star resort; the second is right here in Belmullet.

The Event

Carne Golf Club have created an event to meet the growing demand both for lady golfers and from lady golfers. The club has set up a ladies-only tournament – The Wild Atlantic Way Open Ladies Four Ball Championship – and those who enter (in teams of two) will be in for something special… and I don’t just mean the golf course, but the beauty of the region and the hospitality of all who live here.
The inaugural event will be played on Saturday 10th June, but there are a couple of tempting extras: competitors can play a free practice round on Friday or a free follow up round on Sunday. Given that Belmullet is a little further off the beaten path and that this is a beautiful part of the world it makes sense to take advantage. It’s also worth remembering that on a course this unique, your Carne ‘experience’ will really benefit from a second round. Any number of holes will mystify you on a first encounter and there are plenty of shots you will want to take another go at… the drop-dead gorgeous par three 16th for instance.
The event is open to all lady golfers with ILGU handicaps, throughout Ireland,  and there is an early bird entry rate of €60pp up until 30th April. Thereafter it is €70. Accommodation packages, which include your golf entry fee, are also available at the nearby Broadhaven Bay Hotel, with 2 nights’ B&B costing €170pps, and 3 nights costing €210pps. A wide range of local B and B options are also available.
The Broadhaven Bay Hotel
It is also worth adding that the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, on the edge of Belmullet town, has a spa and a health and leisure centre. As someone who has benefitted from a massage on an over-golfed body my visit to the facilities at the hotel were a vital fillip. The Leisure Centre comes with a 25 metre heated swimming pool, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, and a fully equipped gym.
Some information on the dining options at the hotel, click here ( … although I have to say the food in the Carne clubhouse is also exceedingly good.

Carne Golf Links

Carne is a big and shapely links… which may make it sound like a tough challenge, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Carne’s muscularity hides a very playable and fun course. Holes are dramatic – as are the views – but at 4,826 yards, par 72,the ladies course is most definitely accessible and thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll be challenged, for sure, but this is a unique golf links, one that every golfer should experience at least once… and given how the competition is being set up, you’ll have an opportunity to play it twice… and don’t ignore the new Kilmore nine, which only enhance the Carne adventure.

To book, or for more information Contact 097 82292 or

Get into Golf… at Carne

The enthusiastic participation of new lady golfers can be seen across the country, with clubs hosting up to 90 golfers through CGI’s ‘Get Into Golf’. This is anintroductory training programme with lessons provided by a PGA Pro. They can last for eight weeks with generous incentives for programme participants to join the golf club thereafter. Royal Tara, Corrstown and Naas are just three examples where successful programmes have led to an influx of new members.
Golf clubs have been running variants of these beginner programmes which will undoubtedly draw more lady golfers into the game. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about and how much fun golf can be, why not try the Get Into Golf programme which will be held at Carne,starting 3rd May, with Professional Aidan Moran. The cost is €40… and for that you will get the following:

  • 4 lessons with the Professional.
  • 2 lessons of on the course activities with members.
  • There will also be scrambles and coffee mornings in the newly refurbished clubhouse.
  • For all participants there will be various membership packages offers at the end of the programme.

Use the contact details above if you’re interested in attending.
The CGI’s Get Into Golf programme was first launched in 2014, and given what is on offer and at the costs involved it is no surprise at its success. Up to the end of 2016, 213 programmes were successfully delivered to 6,020 participants. This resulted in 3,445 people (approx. 2,000 being ladies and girls) converting to Golf Club Membership. In 2016 alone, 100 projects attracted 3,449 participants, with 2,061 converting to membership.

Photographing Carne: Far More than a Thousand Words

Posted by Kevin Markham on Saturday, 03 October 2015 in Carne Golf Links Blog

I guess the black cloud barging in over the Atlantic should have been fair warning, but I was out striding the fairways in glorious sunshine. A black cloud wasn’t going to darken my mood. Rucksack on my back, camera in hand, I was taking advantage of the beautiful weather to photograph one of the most remarkable courses I have ever played or seen… and yes, I mean Carne Golf Links. I was heading towards the 13th green at the farthest point of Carne’s 27 holes, its green hovering above the beach, its flag sitting against the ocean and the horizon beyond. Next stop, America. And the cloud advanced.

Two minutes later the rain was inflicting a painful experience on my head and a painful lesson of the risks of how contrary the Irish weather can be. There was no shelter, despite the nearby towering dunes. The 14th is the most exposed hole on the course and there was no point running, so I squatted down in one of the dips and covered up my gear.

Any golfer coming to Carne would be mad not to bring their camera. I know smartphones have taken over and now deliver a perfectly satisfactory ‘image’ experience, and you’re not likely to have much time as you’re playing golf… but you need a real camera out here. And here’s why…

From almost every tee box, golfers will be rewarded with stunning views. Islands are dotted across the ocean, the Nephin Beg mountain range rises to the south-east and Slievemore stands proud on Achill Island to the south. In every direction there is endless sky.

And then there’s the course itself, set on the Wild Atlantic Way. With its enormous scale, dizzying drops to fairways, dunes shadowing your every move, there are going to be stunning photo opportunities. You won’t have time to whip out the camera every two minutes so here’s a quick guide on where you’ll get the best photographs. Have your camera at the ready.

Original Hackett 18

3rd tee. The 3rd is a cracker, and the tumbling links fairway looks superb from the high tee. Views stretch into the distance over countryside and to distant mountains.

9th tee. [See the photo at the top of the page.] The par four ahead of you dips down from the high tee and then rises over a sharp ledge to the green, which is above you, right in front of the clubhouse.

10th approach to green. See below. A popular shot for the size of the dune that stands behind the green below.

11th tee. The hole is almost a right angle dogleg, the fairway bending hard right around a titanic dune. You are also atop a dune, at one of the course’s highest points, with the fairway far below… it makes for a dramatic photo.

13th approach to green. The green and the flag sit on the horizon with nothing behind but sea. (Watch out for dark clouds – they move fast around here!)

16th tee. See below. The par three 14th, right on the ocean’s edge, is well worth a shot, but the 16th is THE par three on Hackett’s 18. The green sits in a bowl of dunes far below you and the views spill into the distance across the Co. Mayo countryside. There are tees left and right of the 15th green, but it’s a stunning photo whichever side you end up on.


18th tee. Walk across the tee and you will find yourself looking down on the entire 17th hole, the green just beneath your feet. It’s a stunning shot, with the views stretching out to the islands and the Atlantic.

18th approach. After you play your second shot, climb up the highest dune to the left of the fairway (you can’t miss it) so you can get some height looking down on the green, the clubhouse and the beautiful views beyond.

Carne's Kilmore 9

Just about every hole is a photo opportunity, so you either need to keep that camera handy all the time, or pick three or four keys shots… which could be from:

1st green. If the opportunity arises and you have time, climb up the dune behind the 1st green and take a shot back up the fairway towards the clubhouse and the distant sea and mountain views.

2nd tee. See below. A par three hitting into what looks like a crater of dunes below. And then it turns into almost flat countryside beyond. A striking contrast.

3rd downhill approach. The green below is embraced even more tightly by dunes, and the sea beyond appears to be on a level high above it.

7th tee. There are three photographs here: the first is of this brutally tough par three, over a chasm (which holds the 5th fairway below); the second is from the left of the tee and almost backwards – the approach to the 5th green is below, the dunes all jagged and erratic, with more sea views; and the third shot is a few yards away, behind the 6th green and back out to sea and the spits of land that jut into the ocean.

8th approach. See below. When the green first comes in to view, walk up the dune to the left and get some height. It’s a perfect links golf shot… both golf shot and photograph.

And remember this: when there’s sunshine and then a downpour (or vice versa), chances are that there will be a rainbow lurking. As my soaked clothes dragged me back towards the clubhouse I found the perfect light hanging over the 8th green on the new Kilmore nine… and then minutes later the rainbow arrived. Wet clothes forgotten it was back to the camera and the views over the clubhouse, the 18th green and Blacksod Bay.

Carne Golf Links deserves your camera, as does Belmullet, Co. Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way.