In the way that legendary breaks like “Jaws,” off the north coast of Maui, or “Mavericks,” near San Francisco, are magnets for big-wave surfers, it’s a certain kind of golfer who is attracted to big-dune links courses. They’re hardy and fun-loving, more accepting of quirky design, and, perhaps, a bit more interested in pulling off heroic shots than strictly adhering to a card-and-pencil mentality.
Scotland has its share of big-dune designs—Donald Trump’s new layout in Aberdeen is just the most recent—but the west coast of Ireland is its equal. There’s Lahinch, of course, and bruising Enniscrone, and Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s intense Cashen Course at Ballybunion. But the Big Daddy of them all is Carne, which this past summer opened a new nine that should quickly gain renown as one of the best big-dune circuits in the country.