Course of the Month

June 2016

Ballinlough, Ireland Ireland

Ballinlough Pitch and Putt club was founded in 1984 but the history of Pitch and Putt in the area goes back much further.

The Altona Tennis Club in Cork was one of the biggest tennis clubs in Ireland in 1940s.  Altona decided to build a Pitch and Putt course in their grounds on the Boreenmanna Road.  That nine-hole course was the first to be built in the city of Cork and was sitiuated only a short distance form the current Ballinlough course.  Altona course (whose membership included banker W.A. Collins, who is credited with introducing Pitch and Putt to Ireland's east coast when he moved there) flourished in the 1940s, '50s and '60s before the land was sold for house construction.

Another course came on stream in the early 1950s.  Ashgrove boasted 18 holes and was situated behind the Silver Key pub, even closer to the modern day Ballinlough course.  Unfortunately, the course ceased operations in 1972, having lost a tenancy claim under the Landlord and Tenancy Act.  However, the Committee and the members stuck together and with the help of Cork County Board, St. Stephen's and Garryduff clubs, the members kept playing the game and functioning as a club.  Subsequently, the Silver Key Bar and the Ashgrove course was purchased by the Beamish and Crawford brewery, who reopened the bar and the course for its employees in late 1974.  Later it accepted non employees as members and most of the previous Ashgrove members rejoined.

Fate again intervened and the course and bar were sold by Beamish and Crawford for housing development in 1983.  Undaunted, the members, with the help of the local community in Ballinlough, procured the land on which the present course stands.  Initially a rocky wilderness, the area was cleared and became the present top-class Ballinlough course.  The course has hosted many top class events over the years, including the National Juvenile Strokeplay championship and the All Ireland Ladies Strokeplay championship.

Ballinlough is relatively short but hilly and presents a fair challenge.  The Index 18 2nd offers an early birdie opportunity.  The pitch measures just 33 metre to a large circular green.  The only obstacle is a small bank in front of the green.  The third requires a 47 metre pitch to a two tiered green, which is one the biggest greens on the course. A large hedge runs all the way right of the fairway and right of the green so the left hand side of the green is the safe play. Finish on the correct tier and the birdie is on but a teeshot to to the ncorrect level may bring three putts into play.  The 62 metre sixth is considered the most difficult at Ballinlough.?  Par is very acceptable at this uphill assignment, which has out of bounds tight on the left. The green is situated at the top of the course so wind always comes into the equation. 

The raised oval shaped green on the 50 metre 17th presents a very narrow target.  It can be diffcult to judge the distance on this Index 2 hole. Considered by many as a card wrecker, the locals are always happy with par at 17. The 18th poses a 41m tee shot to a target protected by a large bunker in front and out of bounds all the way down to the green on the left. The clubhouse lies approximately 5 metres behind the green so pitching too strongly is a major problem also.