Douglas Golf Club recently celebrated the successes of three of their members, all three were capped for Ireland this year. Sara Byrne, Karl Bornemann and Peter O’Keeffe were the centre of attention on the evening when members, families and friends gathered at the club. As well as receiving presentation from the club, the trio were also granted honorary membership from the club with Management Committee Chairman Jerry Cronin presenting certificates to all three. It was a great year for all three golfers. In addition to being selected for Ireland Girls, Sara Byrne was also selected for the GB&I team that played in the Junior Vagliano trophy in Italy early in the season. She also won the Munster Girls title in Cork Golf Club in what was her most successful season.
Karl Bornemann had a particularly busy year, he was also Captain in what proved to be a very important year for the club off the course. On the course he featured in the Douglas Barton Shield team that reached the area final, and he also finished in the top ten in the European Seniors. Those performances put him on the radar for International selection and in September he was picked to play for Ireland in the European Seniors Team Championships. That team went on to win the event, beating Denmark in the final. Peter O’Keeffe also tasted success in Irish colours as he was part of the successful home internationals team that won the title for the fourth successive year. Two previous Douglas internationals were also on hand to join the celebrations, John McHenry and Eavan Higgins who spoke on the achievements of the three current internationals. Next year another international, Kate McCann will become the first lady to hold the position of President in Douglas.
Douglas President John Boylan was the MC for the evening and he was delighted to celebrate the success, but he was also keen to point out how unique the achievement was. “The year 2017 is unique in that it is the first time ever three golfers were selected in the same year for their first cap in their respective categories” explained Boylan. “The achievement is unique among clubs in Ireland this year in this respect. From an International perspective and in relation to the distinction of members of Douglas representing their country, the only comparable year was 1969 when four Douglas ladies played on the same Irish Team and they were Ann Heskin, Girlie Hegarty, Oonagh Heskin and Ann O’Brien. That was a remarkable level of representation from this Club on the one Irish Team and will always be remembered as a landmark year for Internationals similar to this 2017 year, 48 years apart.”
Despite the successes enjoyed by Douglas Ladies through the years, John pointed out that Sara Byrne was the first Douglas member to be capped at this level: “Sara now has the distinction of being the first ever member of Douglas Golf Club to become an International at Under-Age or Youth Level. All the previous eight members were full Internationals only. I suspect it will be only a matter of time before Sara achieves full International Honours.” Two previous Douglas internationals were also on hand to join the celebrations, John McHenry and Eavan Higgins, and the President recounted some of their achievements: “Eavan had the distinction of playing for Ireland in Home Internationals over a period of 15 years and played in the European Team Championships seven times between 1981 and 1995. She was only one of two golfers from the Club to win the Irish Ladies Amateur Close Title and won it in Royal Belfast in 1993. The only previous winner from the club had been Zelia Gaynor Fallon. John McHenry was a previous Youth International and full International, and prior to turning professional in 1987 he played in the Walker Cup. To date he is the only Member of the Club who has played in the Walker Cup. Prior to turning professional and having a fantastic career John also was a former winner of the South of Ireland Championship and the Irish Amateur Close Championship in Royal County Dublin.”
It marks an exciting time for Douglas. Work is currently ongoing on the short game area which is being developed. Five new short holes are being developed to the side of the 18th hole, and once that work has been completed, the contractors will move to the practice area where the range will be improved with new tees and new targets being installed.
(Pictures courtesy Hilary Herbert, more pictures here)