Busy start to the season for Lee Valley

Dell EMC Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup, Lee Valley Golf Club, Saturday 22nd April 2017

Gary O’Flaherty who will be aiming for three in a row at Lee Valley next month

A major new open competition, big plans for the senior scratch cup, and a new indoor practice room all add up to a busy few months for the Lee Valley committee.  With the golf season now ready to get into top gear, the next few months will be busy in the Ovens club.  “April will be a busy month with Boyle Sports kindly sponsoring two large competitions for us” explained Club Captain Chris O’Sullivan.  “First on April the 13th we have the Boyle Sports Open Four ball with prizes including a VIP trip to the Irish Grand National, this is followed two weeks later by our Boyle Sports Senior Scratch Cup.  This has become a firm fixture for the top amateurs all over the country with world ranking amateur points on offer to competitors.  We are delighted to have Boyle Sports sponsorship and support.  They took over sponsorship last year and have supported our club further this year with their sponsorship again.  Without which, we would struggle to host the competition to the standard that we now have it under the stewardship of Vincent Drinan who continues to look after this event.  It is a tournament that has had winners including Shane Lowry. However, the winner that stands out to me year in, year out is Gary O’ Flaherty.  He is a gentleman and a very popular winner in Lee Valley.  His record is superb in Lee Valley and he is always the one to beat.”  The event is always fully subscribed, the 54 hole WAGR counting event is included on the Munster order of merit making it almost mandatory for anyone looking for a place on the Munster interpro team.  Work on the course has continued since the 2018 staging, with new challenges added.  ““This year the Senior Scratch Cup (SSC) golfers will be met with new bunkers on the 4th, 9th and 16th added the Captain.  “The Keohane family have invested heavily in the club over the last number of years.  On the course we have new bunkers with further plans to develop a number more throughout the year.  The sanding and drainage programme has kicked on again this year with more drains than ever on the course.  This has really and truly benefitted the course with it being the driest we as members can ever remember it being.  The greens were hollowtined for the first time in February and even with the limited growth, they are already rolling brilliantly.  They will be in superb condition in the next week or two and Jerry wants them rolling at summertime pace for the SSC.”  The work in Lee Valley hasn’t been limited to the course with further investment going into the impressive clubhouse.  A new gents locker room has been fitted out, and this week the installation of new showers will mark the completion of the project.  Chris is delighted to have the continued support of the owners.  The commitment of the Keohane’s to driving Lee Valley forward has even grown further in the last number of years which is great for the members or visitors.”

After a super year in 2018 when the club celebrated their 25th anniversary and captured their first GUI pennant.  When the mixed team won their Munster title in Limerick in August it was the realisation of a longstanding goal for the club and the members.  Now that they have one blue pennant on the wall, they’ll be hoping to add to that and a new indoor training room may help.  “The off season has proved busy so far with the launch of the simulator room” said Chris.  “We have installed a golf simulator and indoor putting green, which we as a club can practice in and enjoy socially when the weather gods do not favour us.  It is also brilliant for our junior golfers who continue to have lessons in there all year round.  Our teams have also benefited from its installation.”  With a renewed hunger for success at inter-club level, it’ll be no surprise if Lee Valley are in the mix again this year when it comes to Cups and Shields.

Lee Valley in the Family for Captain Chris

It’s a family affair in Lee Valley as 2019 Captain Chris O’Sullivan as he follows a family tradition of being involved with the club, indeed his own membership dates back to the opening year.  “It was a great honour for me to take over as Captain in 2019 at our AGM in December” said Chris.  “I joined the club as a juvenile when the club first opened in 1993.  My father was one of the first five members in the club, so for my family the club means a great deal.  We had a great year in 2018, it was a superb celebratory year for the club on its 25th anniversary led by Captain Brian O’Donovan and President Jim O Callaghan.  We had great travels with the Mixed foursomes team in which the Gents section of Lee Valley Golf Club received its first Munster pennant.  This year we would love to go one step further.”  Having taken up golf as a junior in the club himself, Chris retains a keen interest in junior golf and is keen to support the ongoing development of the growing section.  “Our junior section received a massive blow last year with the sad passing of our much respected Junior officer Oliver O’Donovan.  We have now re launched the junior section this year under the stewardship of Declan Farrell.  We have added another section to the club, cadet golf, which is for kids from the age of 6.  Our teaching Professional Ian Stafford is club heavily involved in lessons and it is proving hugely popular.  This has helped us attract new juniors to the club and I am delighted to see the next generation of members starting in the club.”  The link with Stafford is now entering it’s third season and the structured coaching approach is providing a great grounding in the game for new joiners.