Enniscrone Golf Club
Dunes Championship Course
Designers: Eddie Hackett & Donald Steel
Until the late 1960’s, Enniscrone was a flat, uninteresting nine hole course. If you can imagine the prairie of central Illinois with a few bunkers and greens, you will have it precisely. Just to the west of this uninspired layout, however, lies the real stuff of links golf, a stretch of rugged dunesland that appears as though it had been used for bombing practice by the RAF.
The members, a determined lot, had always eyed this terrain as the ideal extension for their modest club, so in 1974 they hired Eddie Hackett (the patron saint of clubs with a small budget) to spruce up the front nine a bit, and create nine new holes through the dunes. The minuscule budget required that Hackett rely mostly on what mother nature provided and a band of hardy volunteers. It took several years to complete the task, several more years for the raw course to heal in with suitable turf and several more years after that for the course to be discovered.
In 2000, enter Donald Steel, the noted English links golf course architect used to working on far grander budgets than Mr. Hackett. The result? Six lovely and challenging new holes threading their way through the mountainous dunes adjacent to Killala Bay. The addition of another three to the six on the flatland which were replaced. And, voila! A marvelously rugged championship 18 plus another 9 new true links holes on which the youngsters and others can practice. Bring your camera as you will experience as many Kodak moments (most especially holes 14 & 16) as demanding shots. I am quite partial to the finishing hole, a four hundred yard par four yclept “Muckduff” that features a blind drive over a high ridge. Though holes like this are out of fashion, I learned to play on a course with several blind holes and am quite attached to this old fashioned style.
"…an undiscovered gem of a links in the far North-West, a course with some amazing holes" Peter Dobereiner, golf journalist
“Ditto!” Major Basil Haversham, OBE.
Directions for independent travellers: From Ballina, take the N59 north three miles, then turn left and north on the R297 towards Inishcrone. The club will be on your left and is signposted.