The final senior scratch cup of the year takes place in Castlemartyr this weekend and a top quality field will challenge for the large prize fund on offer. A full field of 66 golfers will take on the 6,790 yard Ron Kirby designed ‘inland links’ course. Holder by Mark Shanahan leads the handicaps, he’s currently playing off +2.3. Shanahan is joined by John O’Brien, Kenny McGarry and Kieran McCarthy as the home club’s representatives. 2014 runner up Shane McGlynn (Carton House) leads the challenge from outside Cork. He’s joined by Sean Barry, Billy McGarry, Geoff Linehan, Mark Somers and Ian Spillane, all six golfers are playing off a mark of +2. The young players include James Sugrue, Paul Tobin, Sean Desmond, Cillian Moloney, Rory Dineen and Tramore’s Charlie Dawson. Kinsale are represented by Eric Rumley, John Murphy and Tim Broderick.
Castlemartyr’s Director of Golf is Brady Sherwood and he has been the driving force behind the Senior Scratch Cup since its inception in 2010. The PGA Professional is happy with the interest in Sunday’s event: “We have a great field lined up for Sunday with several golfers travelling for the event. Unfortunately it clashes with the All-Ireland football final but I don’t think it’s affecting too many people. We have players coming from Birr, Carton House, Ardee, as well as plenty of golfers from the local clubs. We have a large number of young players entered this year, with golfers from Kinsale and Cork entered. Amarenco Solar have come on board as our main sponsor and Oakley are supporting the event for the third year so we have a top quality prize fund in place. On Sunday we’re going to play off the back of the championship tees and the greens will be running pretty fast. The pins however will be accessible which should give everyone a chance to attack the greens. With the long course I think the winning score will be around -3 or -4.”
Shanahan finished the 36 hole challenge on five under last year so Sherwood is expecting a slightly tougher challenge this year. The bubbly Australian PGA Professional is one of very few people in Castlemartyr that has been there from the start and he reported another solid year for the luxury East Cork resort: “Bookings were up this year but the scattered weather had an impact, so overall we’re on a par with 2014. The society business has been very strong and there’s definitely some growth in society golf. Walk-ins [green fees] are slightly down but the open singles competitions are up, so we’re going to continue to focus on the midweek competitions. The Tuesday Blues and Wednesday Whites will continue through the autumn and we’re planning on launching our Ladies Day on Thursday’s now that we’re affiliated to the ILGU”. Like many clubs in the region, Castlemartyr is going to finish the year with a net increase in membership: “We’ve increased our membership again this year and we have a waiting list in place for 2015 so that’s all very positive. We recently secured our affiliation with the ILGU so that’s an area we’re planning to grow next year”. As a course Castlemartyr has always had strong interest from ladies and the affiliation to the ILGU is the final piece of the jigsaw in terms of offering membership for lady golfers.