Mellows, Co. Galway, Ireland
Renmore is known in Irish as an Rhinn Mhór; the great headland. In the 16th and 17th centuries the area would have been quite a prominent headland, and occupied a strategically important location. Along with the headland on the opposite shore, then known as Rintinane point, it controlled access to both Galway harbour and Galway city. Whoever controlled these two points controlled Galway. In 1641 a rebellion began against English rule in Ireland. Galway was originally neutral, and the Earl of Clanrickard, Governor of Galway City and County, worked hard to keep it so. Under his command a fort was built on each of the two points mentioned above.
The main fort was on Rintinane Point, (presently Nimmo's Pier), and was about 20m square and built of earthen works surmounted by stone walls. The fort at Renmore was about half its size, and was built of earthen works alone.
The Renmore fort is still accessible by the public. It stands on the seven acre grounds of what is now the Mellows Pitch and Putt club, which can be accessed by a road running around the rear of Irish Army depot, Renmore Barracks.
The barracks was renamed in 1954 in honour of Liam Mellows, the commander of the IRA in the Galway area during the 1916 Rising, which led to the formation of the Republic of Ireland.
Adjacent to the Barracks, the Pitch and Putt course was founded in 1965. Ned Collumb had the original idea of the Pitch and Putt course, aided and abetted by Dick Ryan, John Bartley, John Burke and John Gavin, all members of the Defence Forces. Mellows enjoys a picturesque location overlooking Galway Bay and the Clare coast. The course design owes much to the layout of another Army course, McDonagh, i.e. spectacular tee shots and large greens.
Pitch and Putt has always been a popular sport with members of the defence forces. Mellows has played host to a number of Army championships over the years. PPUI national recognition came with the hosting of the Irish Matchplay in 1971 and a memorable National Strokeplay championship in 1974.
Local legend Christy Egan shot the original course record of 41 in 1977.
The Mellows course measures just under 900 metres, but it's a tough one out on Galway Bay. When the wind blows it can be near impossible! Mellows has a gentle opener of 37 metres. Perceived easiest hole on the course is the 6th at 35 metres. The Index 1 14th is a very tough 70 metres. The 18th is a not much easier 67 metres.
Some of the great players that the club produced were Sean Boyle, John Kinneen, Teresa Gander, Teresa Curran, Maurice Power, David Kineen (who was an Irish boys' champion) and Paul Finn.
Mellows has had some lean times. PPUI Patron Tom McGough has practically run the club singlehandedly at times. The Mellows Scratch Cup was inaugurated in 1980 and has attracted all the top players to Galway every August Bank Holiday. Paddy Browne (Athlone) was the first winner. The 2010 event saw one of the all-time great performances. No one came near the eventual champion Bryan Delaney who finished on 23 under for the 54 holes. Delaney's score included an incredible 42 second round.
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