Photographing Carne: Far More than a Thousand Words
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 southeast 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

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.

Posted by admin at Jun 23, 2016 Category: Other
Tags: Blacksod, carne golf links, golf photography