Course of the Month

September 2006

Portmarnock, Dublin, Ireland Ireland

Portmarnock was looking a picture for the 2006 Irish Ladies Strokeplay championships but then it has been one of Irelands foremost Pitch and Putt courses for upwards of 40 years. Margaret Hogan conquered the north Co. Dublin links in July to win her fourth title. Portmarnock has hosted comparatively few Irish championships but each one has been brimming with drama, befitting the beautiful seaside setting, just a short distance from the world renowned Portmarnock Golf Club.

The Portmarnock Inter-County championship of 1975 was the second of Corks historic four in row. David Hayden survived a play-off to win the 1987 Irish Strokeplay crown the first of three majors in three years for the Dublin legend. Portmarnocks own Sheelagh Elmes completed her set of Irish Ladies Strokeplay/Matchplay titles when she won the Strokeplay on home soil in 1994.

Portmarnock Pitch and Putt club was formed in 1953. In the early years, the members played on a commercial course just a stones throw from the present layout. The members purchased land from the OReilly family (it had been used for grazing) and the present course was designed and constructed during 1962 and 1963. Over the years, players have come from far and wide to experience the lightning fast greens and try to avoid the cavernous bunkers. The annual Portmarnock Open is popular with visitors from across Ireland. Can there be a more difficult stretch than the last five at Portmarnock when the wind is blowing in from the sea?

Many famous players have represented Portmarnock in the last half century perhaps none more famous than the celebrated triumvirate of Rogers brothers Kevin, Seamus and Bernard who between them won a total of eight Irish championships. The Rogers dynasty still contributes richly to the Pitch and Putt scene. Darragh Rogers, son of Seamus, helped Dublin to second spot in the recent Irish Juvenile Inter-County championship. Bridie Stenson, sister of the triumvirate, won Inter-County titles with Dublin ladies. Portmarnock has delivered many able administrators to the structure of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland. The likes of Michael Boland and Christy McDermott are commended for their judicious contributions and lengthy terms of service. The course is a fabulous amenity for the citizens of one of Dublins most fashionable residential areas. The wonderful linksland soil renders it playable all year round. Its not a coincidence that Portmarnock has consistently remained amongst the top ten in the country for membership levels. Modern day heroine around Portmarnock is ten-time Irish ladies champion Geraldine Ward. Every award the sport has to offer has come Geraldines way. Her career has coincided with the international era and Geraldine has been an inspiring captain of the Ireland ladies teams. Portmarnock has not been without its troubles. A fire wrecked the original clubhouse in the early nineties. From adversity grew the magnificent edifice that looks down on the 18th green today. It has seen much drama and will undoubtedly witness much more as our Course of the Month continues to host the best of club, county, provincial and national action.