Carne Golf Links in County Mayo will open their long awaited new holes in July this year, writes our Carne correspondent.
The Kilmore nine will form an additional loop through the most spectacular dunes on the 280 acre property and will further enhance what is already considered to be one of the greatest courses in Ireland, at a time when good news stories are few and far between in the industry.
It is the first significant Irish new-build project since the economic crash of 2008.
The original 18 holes at Carne were designed by Eddie Hackett and built on a shoestring budget over a period of seven years in the early nineties.
In the two decades since they were first played upon, they have grown in stature, their charm owing as much to the rugged, remote beauty of the area as to the wonderfully natural course of which Hackett believed “that ultimately there will be no better links in the country, or, I doubt, anywhere”.
The new holes have undergone a long gestation period, having first been suggested by Hackett himself the year before he died in 1996. The heralded American designer and club member Jim Engh put together an initial routing in 2004, much of which was utilised when Irish-based architect Ally McIntosh was engaged by Carne in 2010 to produce what became the final layout and design.
At a time when many other courses in Ireland are struggling to make ends meet, Carne has once again returned to sustainable first principles by building a high quality golf course on a very low budget and by using environmentally friendly methods that respect the unique landscape.
As with the original 18 holes, the construction was overseen primarily by a small and local work-force whose passion for the project has ultimately played a large part in its success. The desire to provide even better facilities for the surrounding community has been a driving force.
The new nine will open to members of the public from 1st August 2013 and will only be available as part of a full 27 hole package for the remainder of the year.