Castlemartyr Golf club jump started the new year, by adding over 150 new members before 2017 started. The new members consist of both ladies, and gents and this puts the resort in a very strong position as the annual battle to attract and retain members heats up. The large intake of members in the mens club resulted from a members invite special offer and this was fully subscribed. Having gained their ILGU affiliation in 2016 the number of lady members has grown steadily over the past 12 months and already 25 ladies have signed up to the special 2017 offer that sees ladies join for a special introductory rate of €599 for their first year with no joining fee. While membership for the Men’s club is currently closed, the Ladies club is open for membership with the special introductory offer available until the end of this month. The innovative scheme where existing members could nominate new members was spear headed by Castlemartyr’s Head PGA Professional Brady Sherwood and the popular Australian was delighted with the results. The reaction from existing members was outstanding, as all the members who applied were proposed by all our existing full golf members.” Said Sherwood. “Building the male & female golf membership has always been on the agenda, but the timing was never quite right. We felt that 2017 is the right time to build a solid golfing membership family and the response we got from our loyal existing members was phenomenal. Members have the additional benefit of limited playing rights included to our sister properties in England; Old Thorns, Tracy Park, Chart Hills and The Buckinghamshire.” Mens Captain Michael Lee and Lady Captain Kate Heffernan along with their committees will have a busy year ahead they both groups will welcome the large number of new members.
The Ron Kirby designed course was opened for play in 2007 and was set out under Kirby’s vision as an inland links course. The course was part of the “no expense spared” seven-star resort, and while that proposition may have changed sightly over the past ten years, the quality of the course in terms of design was never questioned. Long running fairways, strategic bunkering, and lightning fast shallow greens are the signatures of the Kirby links. Kirby’s other projects in Ireland include Mount Julliet, Dromoland and he’s still has an active involvement in the Old Head which he co-designed with Liam Higgins. From the outset Castlemartyr earned a reputation as a course for all levels, and attracted casual golfers and category one club golfers alike. In late 2015 the hotel and golf course were sold to the Hampshire based Shaw family who own and operate several other golf resorts across the United Kingdom. The Shaw family have a very close association with BBC commentator and former tour professional Peter Alliss and he now holds the role of Honorary President in Castlemartyr.
The new owners invested heavily in the course, and intensive programme of cutting and sanding was underpinned by a further investment in machinery and staffing and this led to an almost immediate improvement in the playability and durability of the busy resort course. Castlemartyr has consistently been one of the busiest golf locations in Cork over the past decade and the recent investment has allowed course superintendent Trevor Norris to continue to present the course in great condition regardless of the weather conditions or traffic. Despite the large increase in members, the course will still run the usual open competitions and both green fee and society golfers will account for a large number of the golfers that pass through the course in 2017.
Sherwood has been at Castlemartyr since it opened for play almost a decade ago and the journey over those ten years has seen many turns as overall golf membership and participation fell away from historic highs in 2006 and 2007. The past few months have been very exciting and the PGA Professional is naturally upbeat about the year ahead: “Castlemartyr has always been spoken of in a very positive manner and with the introduction of our new owners, the golf side in Castlemartyr has received large investment to improve our facilities and condition of the course as a whole. Through new machinery, on course staff and essential sanding, fertilisers and other inputs. All members and guests who play Castlemartyr in 2017 will enjoy our sensational bent grass greens, immaculate fescue tee boxes & lush firm sand-based fairways.”