Despite its seaside location, Carnalea Golf Club has a parkland layout rather than a links layout. The front and back nine are separated by the Belfast to Bangor railway line. It is seemingly short at just over 5,700 yards but the many challenges on the course make up for any lack in length. The layout features many tricky doglegs and a bevy of bunkers guarding the greens. The golf course requires accuracy as well as careful management. The par-3 ninth hole is the course's signature. It is fairly short but requires a tricky tee shot to an elevated green. It also looks out over the Antrim Hills to one side and Belfast Lough on the other. On clear days, you are even able to see to the Scottish coastline. The golf course finishes with its longest par 4. This tricky hole starts with a blind tee shot to the right of the fairway before an approach shot to a shallow green with a severe left to right slope.