Cork Golf Club were recently awarded the Munster Club of the Year award from Munster Golf. The club that was first founded in 1888 has been central to Cork and Munster golf for over 125 years and while the tradition creates a legacy, the club has continually evolved and developed to remain at the forefront of the sport. The Club moved to its present site in 1897, and in 1924 the world famous designer Dr. Alister MacKenzie redesigned the course. In 2010 – 2012 major alterations were carried out under Martin Hawtree to restore the MacKenzie design. Over the years the Club has hosted many major Amateur and Professional Championships over the years. Graeme McDowell won the Irish Youths in 1999. Shane Lowry won the Irish Close in 2007. The Club has won 14 national pennants and in 2016 won the Munster Barton Shield and also hosted the Munster Finals of the Senior Cup, Barton Shield and Junior Cup in 2016. The Club boasts established players who had a very successful 2016. Tom Cleary represented Ireland at the European Seniors and won the Irish Seniors Amateur Open, John Hickey who won the Irish Intervarsity Championship; Gary O’Flaherty won the Irish Mid-Amateur Championship and Castletroy Scratch Cup. Rachel Thompson represented Ireland at girl’s level and won the Midland Girls Championship. The Munster Stroke Play Championship incorporating the Cork Scratch Cup started in 2006 and has now grown into a much sought after title.
Club Captain for 2016 was Damien Wallace and the award was a great close out his year. “I am very pleased that Cork Golf Club has been recognised in this manner by Munster GUI as Club of the Year” said the outgoing Captain. “It is a fitting recognition of the contribution that the Club and its members make to golf in the region and especially the role that our manager and staff play in presenting the course in the manner that they do. I believe that the award recognises the very wide ranging influence of Cork Golf Club in golf in Munster and the fact that at all levels we contribute including hosting major events such as the Munster Strokeplay and Munster Finals, providing players for interprovincial teams, participating in the National Cups and Shields and supporting the various initiatives of the Munster Branch.” Damien was a busy man during the year with several commitments attaching to his role. “The year was extremely busy and involved a lot of interaction with other clubs in the Cork region and across Munster” said Wallace. “There is great competition but also great camaraderie between all the clubs who share a common aim of promoting the game of golf. This is very well supported by the Munster branch representatives who do so much in organising the various interclub fixtures. A key challenge will be to continue to attract young people to join clubs and play the game of golf.” Despite the pressure of working full time and fulfilling his duties as Captain, Damien embraced the role: “It has been a huge privilege to have served as Captain of Cork Golf Club and something of which I will always be proud. I had the opportunity of representing the members at so many different events and of meeting people from right across the country. I played in different events and most important of all I enjoyed the year. The common theme coming through all my interactions with different people is the admiration for Cork Golf Club and the facility we offer and especially huge respect for our manager Matt Sands our professional Peter Hickey and our other staff. I am extremely proud of our Club and I was delighted to have had the opportunity to be Captain over the past 12 months.”
When pushed on a single highlight, he chose the Munster finals which were held in Cork in August. “The highlight of the year for me was when Cork Golf Club hosted the Munster Finals and we won the Barton Shield. This offered us an opportunity to showcase our club and course at the highest level. The course was in fantastic condition and was widely praised by all, who were after all the best golfers in Munster and the event ran like clockwork. The success of the event was capped off when our own Barton Shield team won the Munster Final and progressed to represent Munster in the National Finals.”