It’s often described as a hidden gem but Mitchelstown Golf Club is a popular spot for golfers in North Cork. A new membership drive has seen the club boost its profile as interest in the sport is growing again. The club has been a regular in the cups and shields events, and the highlight came in 2011 when the Junior Cup team won provincial and national honours. The club is over 100 years old, it was founded in 1910 Mitchelstown Golf Club was a nine hole golf course for the better part of seventy years. As the demand for golf grew in the late eighties and early nineties, it became apparent to members that Mitchelstown Golf Club needed to look forward. Being surrounded on all sides by valuable and expensive farming land the move to an eighteen hole course was not easy in financial terms so the step forward was accomplished in two stages. Stage one was the construction of six new holes which opened in 1994. Stage two followed some years later with theconstruction of a further six holes which opened in 2003 and the dream of a top class eighteen-hole course had been realised. The par 71 layout stretches over 5,773 metres from the back tees with the ladies par 73 card measuring 4,890 metres. Mature trees frame many of the holes with water coming into play on just three holes.
Both stages of the new development were designed by David Jones of Bangor, Northern Ireland. David was a former touring professional both on the European Tour and Seniors Tour, and he has almost twenty course projects to his name across Europe and Africa. The Munster branch of the G.U.I. voted Mitchelstown Golf Club Munster Club of the Year in 2011 in recognition of the progress made by the club and the achievements of the club’s Junior Cup team in winning the All Ireland Championship. In 2015 Irish Examiner columnist Kevin Markham and author of Hooked included Mitchelstown in a list of top ten courses with a green fee of twenty euro or less. Kevin described the course as “A course of two parts, the newer holes spill across an open hillside while the older holes work between big trees and a river. A few cracking holes, of which the 14th and 15th are thrilling and the par four 4th is superb, with a long second shot into a deep dell of trees, across the River Funcheon”. This year the club has launched a special membership offer where a new or returning member can join as a full member for just €35 a month. That deal lasts for two years, and there’s also a special offer of €45 per month for the next two years. There’s also a special deal of €30 per month for novice members and this special rate lasts for three years. Mitchelstown have a number of options for members living outside of the local area. Full members living over 30km away pay €600 per year while those living over 70km away will pay just €300. Further details on all of the membership options are available from Joanne on 025 24072. Mitchelstown President Liam O’Sullivan and his committee are working hard to build the membership for the North Cork club which is just a short commute from the city. The club currently has a large number of members form the neighbouring towns and villages including Galbally, Ballylanders, Kildorrery, Kilworth and Fermoy with a large number of members also living in and around Cork City “The club covers an area of 145 acres and our purpose built clubhouse has a fully licensed bar and all the facilities one might expect to find in a progressive club,” said Liam. “We provide coaching and mentoring programmes and run various competitions throughout the year. It’s easy to join and the annual membership fee is relatively low, and payments can be spread out over the year with our monthly direct debit option. We have some outstanding young golfers in the club who have been successful on a provincial and national level,” Liam added. While golf clubs may have been traditionally perceived as exclusive, this is a common misconception, as Mitchelstown Golf Club has in the region of 350 adult members who are drawn from all walks of life and span different age profiles. Liam explained that it is like any other club, like GAA, soccer, rugby, badminton or tennis. “It’s a place where people gather to share our common interest in golf and socialise. There is perhaps a common misconception that you have to be a member to enter the club and that’s not the case. You will find a warm welcome in MGC and everyone is welcome to drop in for a coffee or a cup of tea and you are almost certain to meet someone you know,” he said. “Our oldest members are in their 80s and play to a high standard with the Seanoiri, a very important part of our club. Golf is also a great sport for young people and more and more juveniles are trying the game and doing so very successfully”, Liam concluded. The club is running open singles each weekend through the month of February if anyone wants to experience the challenge that the course brings. The course is also a popular destination for societies and is within easy reach of both Cork and Limerick.