There are 27 holes at Connemara, imaginatively titled the A, B and C nines. Each starts and finishes next to the clubhouse. If you’re spotting a theme then you won’t be surprised to learn that this is a Hackett creation dating back to the 1970s. The C nine was added by the same man, in partnership with Tom Craddock, in 2000.
As a whole, I would rate it as one of his most impressive works. The C nine has perhaps the most challenging piece of land and correspondingly features arguably the strongest and the weakest holes on the property. At his best, Hackett’s designs are uncomplicated, intuitive and on a grand scale, the fairways following natural lines and curves, and that’s certainly the case on the original 18 holes.
The first nine is situated on largely at ground, but then there is a shift to elevated greens and additional drama. It culminates at the 17th, a par 5 where the protected green stands well above the level of the fairway.
This leads to the downhill tee shot on the last, which is as tempting an invitation as I can think of to have a lash at a drive with both your feet off the ground. Connemara is characterised by rocky outcrops, with white stones peeking through coarse grasses. This leads to some terrific green sites that call for bold approach shots.