Carne 18th

Belmullet is about a 4-hour drive from Shannon airport — 5 hours from Dublin. At the end of the journey: the incomparable Carne Golf Links.


Belmullet port pic

This is the view from the balcony of the flat I rented for my sabbatical. The boats are moored at the mouth of a canal connecting Broad-haven Bay to Blacksod Bay.


carne walk pic

The view from a tall dune overlooking the seventeenth tee. (A hole I’d play repeatedly, three balls at a time.)


Founders Day pic

My Belmullet apartment was right across the street from McDonnells, a classic Irish pub. (Note: The sheep aren’t regulars. I took this photo on Founders Day.)


Horse race pic

Golf is not the only attraction in the Barony of Erris. One is the Geesala Races, staged every August on the eastern shore of Blacksod Bay.


swing pic

Here I am on the eighteenth tee at Carne. Before I holed out for the last time, I managed to pack a lifetime of memories into a single season of Irish golf.



Now in paperback!

Ancestral Links book

“MY FAVORITE OF THE YEAR … It’s a great exploration about family
and golf and
the way we feel about both. Very, very moving … an incredible book.”

– Peter Kessler,
XM Satellite Radio


Available at local bookstores and online vendors including:

Amazon link

Borders logo

Barnes and Noble logo

Book Sense logo Logo


“A deeply
soulful and personal journey.”

— Michigan Golf News

The end of the rainbow

One man’s quest to uncover the roots of his family’s obsession with golf — a journey that takes him to his ancestral home in Ireland, to Scotland, and to the American heartland.

Tom Garrity

“Are you sure this is the road to Belmullet?” asked my brother Tom on the Dingle Peninsula in Summer 2005.

John Garrity is well known in the golf world for his writing for Sports Illustrated, Golf Magazine, and on In Ancestral Links: A Golf Obsession Spanning Generations, Garrity travels to the remote corner of Ireland from which his great-grandfather left for America, now home to a majestic golf course. There he discovers why local farmers spent seven years carving the course out of unforgiving terrain, using only rakes and spades for their work. From there, he visits Musselburgh, Scotland, where his maternal ancestors played golf before the first thirteen rules of the game were written there in 1774, and to Wisconsin’s St. Croix River Valley, where his father learned the Ancient Game.

course by cemetary pic

The sixteenth green at Ballybunion Old in County Kerry is right off the first tee, so watch out for snap-hooked drives. (And ghosts.)

Part memoir, part travelogue, and all golf, this book is for the enthusiast, the casual fan, or just the curious. The story of how golf altered three small-town landscapes and forever changed one family will captivate readers and inspire them to find life’s greatest treasures in their own family tree.


GOLF MAGAZINE, March 2009 — “In 2007, John Garrity spent several months in Ireland and Scotland searching for evidence of a “golf gene” in his bloodlines. His base was a two-bedroom flat in Belmullet, Ireland, a remote village in the northwest that's home to a wealth of Geraghys and one heartstoppingly beautiful golf course — the Carne Golf Links. Garrity, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, frequented the links throughout his stay, mostly to test his mettle against Carne’s heaving dunes and fickle winds. In the end, he unearthed more than just divots. He found a link to his past.”

GOLFWEEK MAGAZINE — “[Garrity] is a formidable talent… After all, this is a man who, in an erstwhile SI series called ‘Mats Only,’ found entertaining things to write about his compulsion for beating balls at practice ranges. In Ancestral Links, his themes—particularly a messy family lineage and mortality—are far weightier. Garrity is more than capable of carrying that load.”

BOOKLIST — “[Ancestral Links is] part memoir—the recollections of both his father and brother, both recently dead of cancer, are poignant and revealing—part golfer’s travelogue, and part search for roots…Garrity’s humility and ingratiating style softens the inevitable envy problem (Why him and not me?) that often makes reading golf travelogues a mixed blessing.”

MICHAEL BAMBERGER, Author of To the Linksland — “Garrity’s odyssey is green, Irish, wry, wistful and inspiring. His book is a jig in a bunker surrounded by a field of dreams. It’s magical.”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE — “Garrity offers some wry insights into the sport of golf.”

MICHIGAN GOLFER — “I was enthralled by this fine book… Garrity has written a heartfelt elegy to his parents and brother framing his emotions and reflections amid the rugged and inspiring links of Carne. A sense of loss shadows the book but also self-discovery, hope and redemptive love… There’s much to relish in this book and you don’t have to have played Carne or Irish links or even been to Ireland to appreciate it… Garrity has taken it all in and the reader goes along for a wonderful, insightful ride.”

BUENOS AIRES HERALD — “A memoir-travelogue like none other.”