Busy Times in East Cork

Cllare Moloney pictured outside the reopened driving range in East Cork Golf Club.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

It has been a busy few months for everyone in East Cork.  As well as getting the course ready for golfers, the range at East Cork was also refitted in time for the reopening of golf in May.  Two months on, it a busy spot with golfers hitting balls at all times of the day and evening.  New mats, added to the driving range experience and a new coat of paint means the range is now an inviting place to practice.

Owner Clare Moloney has been busy and she has been delighted with the reaction from members and customers.  “The feedback since the reopening of the driving range has been very positive.  Because of Covid 19 we have someone on site to ensure we have contact details and sanitise baskets and toilets on a regular basis.  The range is open from 9am every morning and is open until 9pm.

PGA Professional David Ryan is also up and running.  He moved from Cahir Park in November but Covid restrictions meant that it was May before he could open the pro-shop and commence lessons and custom fitting.  Like most club pro’s Ryan is now in catch-up mode, trying to keep up with demand from existing members and newcomers to the game.

Ryan has been a great addition to the team and owner Clare Moloney is delighted to have him on board.  “Dave has been a welcome addition to East Cork Golf Club” said Clare, “he worked alongside the Greens staff during the last lockdown and has a positive and enthusiastic personality which is a great advantage to the club.  He has been the driving force behind the new course development committee and we have regular discussions regarding further projects.”

The course work too has been praised with members and guests giving it the thumbs up.  “Since we reopened members have been very positive regarding course improvements.  In April last year we had a fire in our machinery shed and we lost some vital vehicles, but the upgraded replacements have added to the enhancement of the course.  This along with the hard work of the greens staff and course volunteers has paid great dividends which all members have benefited from.”

Far from getting a break, David has been busy too now that the pro-shop has reopened.  Between manning the shop, providing lessons and custom fitting, the job of the PGA club professional is busy one.  “It’s literally been up the walls, it’s non-stop as soon as you get in to when you finish which is a great complaint. Its been very busy since we’ve reopened, car park full everyday.

The 12th at East Cork Golf Club.
Pic: Niall O’Shea

Another new development in East Cork is a mid-week open singles series. Named after Maurice Moloney, the man synonymous with East Cork for many decades, the open singles take place every Tuesday, and there’s been a large number of golfers out for each of the qualifiers.  “The MMMOS has been brilliant so far” said Ryan.  “We’ve had lots of support from the members and plenty of visitors too.  There are five to qualify every week for the grand final in October and people don’t seem to realise that it’s an open competition for ladies and gents.  It’s a great event and has created a lot of buzz around the club.  As you know Maurice was an institution in East Cork GC and members still talk about him all the time.  It was only fitting to have a competition named after him.”  The series continues every Tuesday and the entry fee is just €20.

Since joining the East Cork team late last year, David Ryan got stuck in as one of the course volunteers and he explained the work that they completed during the last lockdown.  There wasn’t a single golfer in Ireland who was happy with the extended lockdown but it did mean that course owners and staff did get around to those jobs that were often put on the long finger.  That was the case in East Cork, and Ryan pitched in with the course team to complete a large number of prokects on the course.  “We did a lot of clearing to expose certain areas” explained Ryan.  “By leaving a lot more natural light and wind to get to areas that weren’t getting any it has made a huge difference.”

And the work isn’t complete yet, with further course improvement projects planned over the next 12 months.  “We have a 3 year plan for the course and have already completed a lot of it but still with plenty to do.  The members are excited with the plan and also the fact we’re going from a par 69 to par 70 next year.   We are turning the 13th into a par 5, we built a new tee box 60 yards back from the original tee and we are moving the green back 40 yards close to the water.  A new tee box will be built for the 14th as well so there are exciting times ahead.”

As well as work, David has also been a regular weekend golfer in East Cork since reopening and he’s really enjoying his time on the course.  “It’s been great going out with the members.  It’s also a way to see how the course is playing and I can go back to the groundstaff to tell them what it’s like out there.  A lot of members have mentioned to me that it’s great to see the pro out playing with different members.  I still don’t get out as much as I would like as it’s been so busy since we’ve reopened. It’s been busy in the shop and in the range with lessons.  When you’re out on the course and you can remember how it looked to how it is now it gives a great feeling of satisfaction.  The members have had nothing but high praise for what we did during the lockdown.”