Cloghogue Pitch & Putt Club

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In the beginning....

The story of Cloghogue Pitch & Putt Club began in early 1967 when the local curate, the late Rev. Henry Devlin, was inspired to transform the patch of  land to the rear of the Sacred Heart Church and parochial house in Cloghogue.  The land was rough and hilly, covered with whins, bracken and stone, but it commanded magnificent views of the surrounding area, overlooking the town of Newry to the north, as far as the Mourne mountains to the east and the Cooley peninsula to the south. On 21st May of that year a small pioneer group of locals made their first foray into the wilderness, armed with spades, hooks and mowers.  In a few short weeks the first greens were roughly shaped and 'fairways' largely consisting of pathways through the whins were cut out.  From these small beginnings, the club has continued to improve to the present day when it is recognised as being one of the leading courses in Ireland.

 

(left) Jim Downey tees off in 1967 watched by an enthusiastic band including Noel Synott (far left), Peadar and Aidan Rice, Pat O'Keefe, Raymond Watters and Brian Smith (far right).   In the middle is Tommy O'Rourke with three of his children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture on the left was printed in the local press in 1967 it shows the first committee of the club. L-R (back) Pat O'Keefe, Patsy McKeever, Martin Treanor, Brian Smith, Sean O'Rourke. (middle) Jimmy Treanor, Frank Hughes, Mick Mathers, Fabian Boyle. (front) Noel Synott, Tommy O'Rourke, Fr Henry Devlin, & Jim Downey.

 

 

(below) Club junior coach Sean O'Rourke tends the 'flag' for Senior coach Noel Synott.  The greens have improved somewhat since then!

Click HERE to read the minutes of the first meeting of the club. 

By the end of the first year, the course had been laid out and the 'clubhouse' had grown from a tiny black kiosk at the entrance to the course to the luxury of an old furniture van sited behind the first tee.

The following year saw further progression with membership fees set at £3 for men and £2 for women. 

The club continued to be run from the furniture van which also housed the machinery so in 1969 plans were drawn up for the purchase and erection of a nissen hut costing some £150.  Fundraising for this project included the running of jumble sales and dances in Cloghogue Parochial hall.  Also in this year the club applied for and was granted admission to the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland and held its first public event - The Flagstaff Open.  1969 also saw the establishment of the gents Tuesday night, and ladies Friday night competitions.

1970 saw the club host its first national championship in the form of the Inter-County.  An event which managed to attract the BBC cameras!  The clubhouse was completed and the Flagstaff Open was won by one Mr Sean Breen of Seapoint in Drogheda with a score of 160 gross for 54 holes.  In 1971 the course record was to be set by Andy Dempsey of Kildare with a 47 gross.

The clubhouse was further extended in 1972 with the erection of much needed toilets.  On the course, the 6th green was raised and guarded by two new bunkers, one at the front and a treacherous horror at the rear. The first tee box mats were also installed.

By this stage club members were travelling further afield to play.  In 1973 Mary Campbell and Brian Savage were featured on RTE playing in the National Mixed Foursomes in Ierne in Dublin. 1974 was the year of the famous trip to Rocklodge in Cork for the Inter-County where the ladies fielded a team for the first time.

Also by now many of the clubs most devoted and long serving members were established.  Names like Larry and Alice Rice, Isobel McMahon and Doris O'Hagan were playing active roles on and off the course and had joined the committee where club legends such as John McKevitt,  Mary Campbell, Pat McDonald, Peadar Rice, Bridie and Tommy O'Rourke, Brian Savage, Brendan Farmer and Kathleen O'Hagan were still serving.  There were also many juveniles starting who were to become successful and active senior members, names like Gerry Loughran, Michael Concannon, Pat and Sean Campbell, Michael O'Hagan, Paul O'Hagan and Fran, Marina and Bernie O'Rourke were all establishing a sound game and would go on to become contributing committee members.

In 1977 the club celebrated its 10th anniversary with the installation of the first mechanised watering system (a water tank, pump and hosepipes).

Two years later in 1979, fundraising again had to take place for the purchase of the first gang-mower at the then enormous cost of £1100.

In 1982 the club was once again honoured to host the Inter-county Championships.  The course was unrecognisable from that which had hosted the event twelve years earlier.  This event will forever be remembered by everyone present, for the tremendous victory of the Ladies team, a victory clinched by Bernie O'Rourke's remarkable par from the notorious 18th bunker.  A heart stopper for the teary eyed locals!

The club continued to progress throughout the 80's and work was always ongoing to improve and beautify the course.  By the end of the decade, membership was £22 for adults and green fees had risen to £2.

1990 saw major renovations to the clubhouse with the demolition of the old wooden panelled 'lounge' and the erection of a new social and meeting room with kitchen at a cost of £8000.  The following year the new porch was added.

In 1992 the club celebrated its silver jubilee in style by hosting its third Inter-County, joining an elite band of few of the countries top courses who had already done so.

The names listed below are those members who have dedicated at least one year of their lives to serving as Captains of the club.  Many have held other committee positions for numerous years. It is thanks to their selfless commitment, and that of other contributing members, that the club has continued to thrive.   Some are now deceased, sadly, and many are no longer members, but all are remembered fondly and with thanks.

Club Captains
Year Gents Ladies
1967 Noel Synott  Dorothy Ramsey
1968 Brian Smith  (R.I.P.) Dorothy Ramsey
1969 Sean Keenan (R.I.P.) Rosaleen Downey
1970 Brian Savage Catherine O’Neill
1971 Eugene McKevitt (R.I.P.) Kathleen O’Hagan
1972 John McKevitt Patsy Smith
1973 Larry McGuigan Bridie O’Rourke
1974 Maurice O’Hagan (R.I.P.)    Mary Campbell    
1975 Des Loye Alice Rice
1976 Thomas McGivern Bernadette O’Hagan (R.I.P.)
1977 Jimmy Taylor Patsy Farrell  (R.I.P.)
1978 Billy O’Gorman Phyliss Connell
1979 Michael Sheridan (R.I.P.) Isobel McMahon
1980 Eddie Flynn Kathleen McGivern
1981 Pat McDonald Bridie McKeown
1982 Mick Wright Marie Cunningham (R.I.P.)
1983 Peadar Rice Doris O’Hagan
1984 Kevin McShane Isobel McMahon
1985 Matt McArdle Nora O’Hare
1986 Larry Rice Antoinette McKay
1987 Tom McGuinness Bernadette Donaghy (R.I.P)
1988 Denis McGuinness Maura Conyard
1989 Michael McKeown Lelia McIntyre
1990 Larry Doyle Marina O’Rourke
1991 Benny McKay Eileen Burke
1992 Paul O’Hagan Ann Lambe
1993 Michael O'Hagan Bernie O'Rourke
1994 Johnny Byrne Phyliss Crawford
1995 Terry McCartan Kathleen McDermott (R.I.P.)
1996 Peter Connolly Angela Rooney
1997 Seamus Keenan Irene Moore
1998 Liam Moan Doris O'Hagan
1999 Ronan Hollywood Isobel McMahon
2000 Ricardo Cafolla Mary Campbell
2001 Edward English Ann McCartan
2002 Liam Harte Alice Rice
2003 Denis McGuinness Antoinette McKay
2004 Paul Haughey Lelia McIntyre
2005 Conor McAteer Rosaleen O'Rourke
2006 Peter McGivern Rosaleen O'Rourke
2007 Larry Rice Phyliss Crawford

2008

2009

2010

2011

 

Eddie Flynn

Fintan McGreevy

Brian Grant

Fintan McGreevy

Valerie Rodgers

Marina O'Rourke

Eileen Burke

Bernie Somers