FAMOUS FACE Actor Bill Murray pictured at Carne Golf Links during his visit to Mayo last week.
Hollywood star amazed by spectacular Erris course
HOLLYWOOD actor Bill Murray may become a regular visitor to the Erris region after the Groundhog Day star took out life membership of Carne Golf Links following his flying visit there last week.
The US actor and members of his family travelled to Ireland last week to take part in a golfing documentary for the YouTube channel, Links Life, presented by US author Tom Coyne.
The week-long tour of some of Ireland’s top links courses included a trip to the Carne Links Course in Belmullet and Enniscorne Golf Course just over the border in Sligo.
Fiona Togher, the General Manager of Carne Golf Links, told The Mayo News that the star of Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Groundhog Day was ‘a joy to host’.
“We had great fun with Bill Murray,” she said. “He was with his brothers and nephews and his sons and he was lovely and really down to earth. They were filming an episode on the course and they came in to the clubhouse where he was so happy to pose for photographs. I have to say he must be the nicest, most down to earth guy you can meet. You would not think he was a Hollywood star at all.
“He said Carne is one of the most amazing and dramatic and spectacular courses he has ever played in his life. He loved it and him and all his brothers bought life memberships of Carne, which is brilliant for us,” she revealed.Tom Coyne has published a number of books on golf and it was on his first visit to Carne that he discovered his great-grandfather was a postman in Bangor Erris.
“Tom loves Carne and the place and he said to Bill that while it’s a bit off the beaten track, he should film there. He described Carne as a golf course like no other and that is what Bill Murray said.”
Post Covid hope
Carne Golf Links relies on visitor green fees to survive and of that 65 percent is from the North American market. Fiona explained that they took a big hit due to the lack of overseas visitors over the last two years and hopes Bill Murray’s presence will result in an increase in bookings.
“Some of the photographs went viral on Twitter and this will be huge for us when the Links Life programme goes up. After a promotion like that you start to see the bookings come in. Matt Ginella, the former head of the NBC Golf Channel in America, came last month to play the course for a documentary and he rated Carne as number one in Ireland. Paul McGinley was also here to film a documentary for the American audience so they all should help us for the bookings from the US for next year,” she said.
While Covid resulted in a big reduction in international visitors, it did however result in an increase in Irish golfers playing the course.
“We are always trying to increase the number of Irish golfers who play here but a lot of Irish golfers would say we are a bit too remote for them. However with the increase in staycations it has worked in our favour. Irish golfers have started to come to us and discovered we are not that far away. We have been busier with Irish golfers which is the silver lining in the cloud that’s Covid,” she said.