Lisselan Golf Club are set for a bumper 2017 as the club embarks on a new era, operating as a members club. With the Lisselan Estate up for sale on the open market for over a year, there were doubts if the course and club would survive beyond 2016 when the licence agreement expired. The short and medium term future is assured as the members have taken over the management of the club. Captain Mark Naughton, Lady Captain Helen Hughes and President Tony Calnan will lead the 300 strong membership into another exciting chapter for the West Cork club. Since it was founded just over 12 years ago, the small club has gone from strength to strength and has an impressive list of achievements. Lisselan were All-Ireland Mixed Foursomes runners up 2010 & South Munster Area winners 2012, Jimmy Bruen National semi- finalists 2015, South Munster Pierce Purcell winners 2016, South Munster Michael Cashman Fourball runners-up 2016, Michael Minihan Shield winners 2016, McEvoy Shield winners 2014/2015/2016 as well as two West Cork Junior Shields and four West Cork Senior Shields. Lisselan Ladies club have won West Cork Shields in2010, 2012 and 2015. Sue Crowley and Niamh Sheehan won the National Lancome Foursomes in 2009. Lisselan juvenile boys club won the West Cork Matchplay Event 2016 as well as being runners-up in 2015. It reads as a long list for one of the newest clubs in the county.
The Estate which is on the Cork side of Clonakilty has a historic story that dates back to 1850, originally the grounds covered over one thousand acres with the current footprint covering over 350 acres. The Lisselan Estate was purchased in 1990 by David Blackburn, a UK based entrepreneur. As well as undertaking considerable restoration work at Lisselan he developed a thriving horse business in Ireland and abroad, with the highlight being Imperial Call’s win in the Cheltenham Golf Cup in 1996. David Blackburn held the UK and European franchises for Mitsubishi Motors and soon after purchasing Lisselan he set about creating a six-hole golf course for his private use. It was subsequently opened for green fees and in 2004, Christy O’Connor Snr returned to draw up plans to extend and redevelop the course to create the current nine-hole layout. Lisselan affiliated to the ILGU and the GUI and became Cork’s newest club. The course measuring 6411 yards consists of four par 3s, eight par 4s and six par 5s features tight fairways with water coming into play on several holes. Built agains the backrop of the famous Lisselan gardens, the entire course is planted with incredible attention to detail. Another unique feature is golfers are taken to the 2nd and 4th tee boxes by train. The 8th/17th is a magnificent par five, a rising fairway climbs from the tee before you look back down into a green covered on three sides by water. With the spectacular Lisselan gardens and house in the background it makes for one of the most picturesque holes in Irish golf. Last August the club hosted the finals of the Munster Country Club Championship with the course proving to be a great venue for matchplay golf.
The club is now open for membership for 2017, and with a full rate of €390 (plus ILGU/GUI levy) and a reduced rate of €210 (plus levy) for new or lapsed members it’s an attractive proposition. There are also reduced rates for juveniles and members up to the age of 29. While the estate is still on the market, the short term future is assured and there’s even talk of the possibility of a members buy out. If you’re pockets are a little bit deeper, then you could look at investing in the property. The entire estate has a price tag of €3.6m while the golf course, gardens and house can be purchased for €1.9m. Over the past few years the Blackburn’s have spent less time in Lisselan and after 26 years they made the decision to sell the estate. Having been on the market briefly in 2014, it now looks as if the owners are ready to relinquish their prized Irish asset. While there can be no long term guarantees for the club or the members, they’re giving themselves every chance.