Off the beaten path

Connemara Isles

Connemara Isles Golf Club

Connemara Isles Golf Club

Date Reviewed
September 14, 2022
Reviewed by Ed Battye
I have been fortunate enough to play golf in many stunning locations throughout Great Britain & Ireland and Connemara Isles is right up there with the best of them.

I like to go off the beaten path to find interesting courses and feel like I hit the jackpot with this one. It’s totally unique and unlike any other golf course I’ve seen before.

The course opened in 1993 and was designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock. The green-fee is cheap and the experience is amazing.

I visited here on the final leg of an Ireland trip that included 14 courses, mostly lesser known links. I included Connemara Isles for two reasons. The first was that I had heard it may be a true links course (I am on a mission to play them all) and secondly it was basically on the route of my journey back to Dublin from the main Connemara Championship venue which I had played earlier in the day and is located around an hour away.

I can report that it is definitely not a links but that should not deter you from playing here. It’s golf in a glorious setting for a modest green-fee and there’s very little not to like. Although it is right next to the sea the soil is heavy and the ball doesn’t really run.

Maintained on a low budget please do not expect perfect conditions but this just adds to the ambience of the place, a small community run golf club.

Playing the mundane first you may wonder what all the fuss is about but the course then opens up to reveal some picturesque golf and some really interesting holes.

The second has a blind green, at the 3rd we play over water and the fifth is a bamboozling par five which is only 412 yards the first time round. The eighth has a wonderful plateau green which works really well at this a par-five.

I joined a Dutch gentleman on the second hole and played the remainder of the front nine with him. He had arrived in Ireland a few weeks prior and was trekking the coastline for a couple of months trying to play any links course he came across on his way not knowing where he was going to sleep each night. He had been to Ballybunion and Lahinch and was on his way to Carne. His inspiration was the author Tom Coyne who did similar. I later learned his name was Wouter Hietink and was delighted to give him a lift to the nearest village after the round.

Few will find themselves at Connemara Isles but if you are ever in the western reaches of Galway it’s a course you should seek out.

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