Located in the Gaeltacht, Bearna Golf Course is in a highly scenic area, with commanding views of Galway Bay, the Burren and the Aran Islands. It was carved out of a typical Connemara landscape of granite rock, bog, gorse and heather. The result is a challenging course of outstanding quality and unique character that has been rated by Kevin markham in his book ‘Hooked’ as the best in the area.
The golf course is situated in Corboley, half way between Bearna and Moycullen, and until recent times was a solely Irish speaking area. The name means the round hill of the milking place. Corboley is one of three proximate town lands whose names, dating from medieval times, derived from providing very rough pasturage for the hardy breed of small dark cattle, which traditionally survives in this impoverished but beautiful countryside. In past centuries the set cattle contributed to the principal commerce between Spain and the West of Ireland whereby Spanish wines and salts were traded through the port of Galway for cowhides and wool.
Course development in this lovely terrain, carved out by glacial movement 10,000 years ago, has respected, integrated and highlighted its environmental characteristics – its flora and fauna, its ancient language, its social history and its folklore. Indeed the naming of holes, based mainly on these characteristics, has been described by Today’s Golfer (August 1997) as “the most colourful and imaginative which visitors are ever likely to come across.” Take a look at them in our hole-by-hole guide.
Construction of the course began in October 1991. As you can imagine, this was challenging work because of the nature of the land. However the perseverance of club director, Pat Donnellan (who was often to be found out digging the drains himself!!) meant the course was opened in March 1996.
Designed by R.J. ‘Bobby’ Browne, the well-known golf professional and course architect, he was immediately impressed by the natural features present and the spectacular views of Galway Bay and the Clare hills.
Built on 250 acres of Connemara moorland the course measures approximately 6900 yards with water coming into play at 13 holes. The design has resulted in generously proportioned fairways, many elevated tee boxes and some splendid carries. Great care has been taken to construct extra large greens with subtle burrows that will test even the best golfer. The final four holes especially provide an amazing finish to a satisfying and memorable experience.