Fernhill Golf Club is one of a few Cork clubs to see their membership numbers increase over the past five years, in a time when many clubs have seen a decline in membership. The Carrigaline facility re-affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 2010 and since then it has seen membership in all categories jump to almost 500 members across ladies, gents and juniors. With a new route for the N28 (Cork – Ringaskiddy) announced before Christmas, the long term future of the course is now assured, with the new road avoiding the course and running to the north of Fernhill. Having worked hard at developing the club and installing a new driving range in 2013, the venue was dealt a huge blow with the winter storms twelve months ago. As proprietor Alan Bowes describes it was a tough time for the Carrigaline business: “There was damage to the roof of the clubhouse and our golf range was destroyed in the severe storm last February. On the course over 100 mature evergreen and deciduous trees were lost as a result of the extensive damage caused by the storm. Significant repairs have been carried out however, and our 10 bay floodlit driving range has been rebuilt to a higher standard.”
Since the development of the range and short game practice facilities, Fernhill has also become the base for local PGA Professional Wayne O’Callaghan. Alan Bowes views this as a positive move: “Wayne is a great asset to Fernhill and the driving range and academy. His dedication to teaching beginners and experienced golfers alike, with up to date computer technology, has him in great demand. He has a very positive attitude as to the improvements in Fernhill and where we are heading.” Indeed O’Callaghan’s Junior Academy will form the basis of junior membership of Fernhill over the coming year.
Fernhill Golf & Country Club is a busy venue in Carrigaline, offering not just a course but a driving range, bar, restaurant and hotel accommodation. Bowes outlook on the golf business is very fundamental, seeking to offer “best value for golf in Cork”. The course is open daily for green fees from 8am, tee times can be pre-booked online or by phone. There is an open competition every Wednesday and all are welcome. On and off the course Alan takes a lot of pride in offering value for money, excellent service from its friendly, efficient and professional staff. The hard work is paying dividends as membership grows year on year as he explains: “Membership numbers are up year on year for the last three years and we are currently open to new members. We have a great positive atmosphere within both our Ladies & Gents Clubs. Both the Ladies and gents did very well in the Munster competitions last year and both are looking forward to bringing silverware back to the club this year. We had our Captains and Presidents Drive in last Saturday, which was very well attended by over 100 people, followed by a great social evening in the clubhouse. Full men’s membership is €650 and full ladies membership is €550, with no joining fee.” Fernhill Golf Club has always welcomed societies, with great value “play and stay rates” on offer.
Fernhill Golf Club Gents Committee: Captain: Michael O’ Callaghan; President: Mark Jones; Hon Secretary: Mark Wyman; Treasurer: Kevin Nolan; Handicap Sec: Noel Lynch; Competition Sec: Comp. Sec. Padraig O Sullivan. Ladies Committee: Captain: Rose Barry; President: Sylvia Gash; Hon Secretary: Mary O’Connor; Treasurer: Nicola Dineen; Handicap Sec: Elaine Sheridan; Competition Sec: Monica Logan.