Connemara Golf Club - Par 72 - 6,939 Yards
Connemara Golf Club is a true links course situated on the western coast of County Galway. The scenery is stunning on a sunny day with the Atlantic to the west and south and the rugged Twelve Bens and Maamturk mountain ranges to the east. In spring and summer skylarks can be heard twittering and singing from heights that make them very difficult to see.
The wind is an all important factor in Connemara, on a calm day it can be as sheepish as any one of the ewes on the nearby hills but when an Atlantic gale blows it can make the 7000 or so yards feel twice as long. The opening holes are flat and the rough is not too penal, provided you keep the ball reasonably straight. It's as if the golf course is giving you a fair chance to warm up before it starts really challenging your golfing skills on the back nine.
The 6th is a great par-3 with one of the trickiest greens on the course, a driver to 9- iron can be the right club depending on wind direction. The 8th is a fine golf hole usually into the prevailing wind, a par usually made by chipping and putting.
The homeward nine starts with a good par-4, the fairway is generous, but stray far enough left or right and trouble awaits. The green, like an upturned saucer, is very difficult to hold if approached from any distance. The 12th is another great hole, similar to the 10th but tougher. A good straight drive is required to bring the elevated green into reach on an average day. Very tough to get up and down for any ball that rolls off short or left.
The par-3 13th is a beautiful golf hole and in many people's opinion Connemara'a signature hole. Standing on the tee you know you need a pure strike on the ball to get on the green. Anything short will roll back 30 yards and anything left or right will be gathered by bunkers.
Unusually Connemara finishes with back to back par fives. Although they run side by side they have a very different feel as one is nearly always into the wind and the other with. Once you have enjoyed the elevated 17th green nestled high up in the sand dune take in the scenery around you before facing the challenge of the final hole. Few golf courses can have such a beautiful scene as here.
The 18th is one of the great finishing holes in Ireland, and is nearly always played into the prevailing wind. You need to stay away from the out-of-bounds down the right while still maintaining a fairway position before the critical second shot. Box clever with the second or the ball will find the drain that traverses the fairway 150 yards out. Don't relax just yet, the challenge is just beginning. The elevated green is fronted by an embankment guarded at the bottom by three pot bunkers. No mercy is available (unless pure blind luck), for any approach that comes up short will surely find one of them as it rolls back towards its owner. Plenty of courage is required to avoid being short - 140 yards may require a full blow of a fairway wood. The best advice is to go for it even if it's too long - there are no easy escapes from the three dreaded hazards.
Connemara Golf Club is a superb links. Take the opportunity to build a score early and hang on for dear life over the closing holes. And if defeated, remember to absorb the place on the 18th tee and take consolation that you are not it's first victim and will certainly not be the last!
Quotes and Comments
"...a perfect reflection of the austere beauty that is the world of Connemara"
J.W. Finnegan - Golf Author
"If there were a course like this on the West coast of England it would surely host a British Open"
Peter Alliss - Golf Commentator
The adventure of playing on an Irish Links style course for the first time is in itself most gratifying. . . but to play on a fascinating layout, especially the 1st. 6th.15th and 18th holes, was nothing short of sensational! I lost 3 balls in the long rough, and 3 putted several of the holes, (the greens were freshly aeriated in anticipation of a heavy summer influx of golfers) but all in all, I couldn't help but walk off the 18th, with a big grin on my face. While March may not be the best time of the year for a round of golf, I don't know of any time that is truely bad, unless it is the morning of your favorite bird dog's wake.
Martin Folan and John Busch III. USA. (from GolfEurope.com)
In May of 98, we stayed at the Hotel and played the course. The wind was wild and added to the fun of the game. The view was beautiful. I would love to play the course again. We also stayed in the hotel, the room and food were both very good. The personnel were very helpful.
We will be back.
Bill Hartman (from GolfEurope.com)
The course starts slowly and builds momentum, finishing with some of the most challenging holes on the West Coast. Our group's handicaps were 6, 10, and 15, and we all were pleased with the quality of the greens. The people couldn't have been nicer and the green fees were very reasonable, but you must know that they have only junior caddies. The drive to the course was spectacular, as was our short side trip up to the nearby village of Roundstone.
Terry Dillow (from GolfEurope.com)
I am a 20 handicapper and I would just like to say that Connemara is one of the best courses I have ever played in my life. The run on the fairways was absolutely incredible and I could reach all the par 4s in 2 shots which I cannot usually do because I am not a big hitter. The back 9 is definitely a lot harder than the first 9. I had 17 points on the first nine and only 11 on the back 9. This just shows how hard the back 9 is. It was really an amazing course and I will definitely play it again if it's the last thing I do.
Sean Hodkinson (from GolfEurope.com)
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