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.
|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|