This month we feature one of the older Irish courses, Shandon, which was first opened in 1952.
Shandon Pitch and Putt course is located off Shandon Park, a mature northside residential area in Phibsborough, Dublin 7. It is an affiliated club of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland. The beautiful mature parkland course sits in the shadow of the Dalymount Park (spiritual home of soccer in Ireland) floodlights. Shandon is but a fifteen minutes walk from OConnell Street, the bustling hub of Irelands capital.
The Shandon Pitch and Putt Club was founded in 1955, having taken over from the original occupants, Alex Findlater & Co. (a wine merchants), who had laid out the first nine holes in 1952. The Shandon membership soon extended the course to 18 holes, and many Championships at county, provincial and national level have been played there. The Club boasts 18 first class greens on a layout that is accepted as being of superior championship quality, along with 9 secondary greens, its own 100 feet arterial well which provides for automatic watering of greens with a Toro automatic Green Watering system. The club has hosted most of the National Championship Finals in the P.P.U.I. and is generally considered to be one of the best courses in Ireland. The unique design sites the car park and clubhouse in the centre with the first nine to east and the back nine to the west.
The present Clubhouse was built in 1974, after fire destroyed the original wooden Tennis type Pavilion, which had been constructed by the landlords Shandon Sports Club in the mid thirties. The old Pavilion was a sad loss, as its well sprung maple floor had proved most suitable for Table Tennis and Dances.
Shandon, boasting one of the largest memberships in Ireland, has been to the fore of the development of the game, with members having been Officers at all levels of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland administration since its formation in 1960 and the Club is justly proud of the expertise, efforts and enthusiasm of its personnel who have done so much for the game of Pitch and Putt. In particular, take a bow Joe Leahy (National Secretary of the P.P.U.I. for fifteen years in the seventies and eighties) and Eamonn Birchall, the first P.P.U.I. President to serve a three year term (1977 1979).
The same Eamonn Birchall has been involved at the club, man and boy, for 54 years. Shandon means a lot to me, attests the genial Eamonn, currently Club President, a role he mixes with that of Office Administrator at the P.P.U.I.s Central Office in Parkwest. It is a friendly club, a family club, a community club and above all a successful club that espouses the spirit of all that is good in Pitch and Putt.
Shandon members have won nineteen Irish championships in the clubs rich history. Some of the true legends of the game have worn the Shandon blue. Sean Harkins jointly holds the all-time record of three Irish Mens Matchplay titles. The late Teresa McGuigan won seven national ladies titles between 1962 and 1976 while for a few years during the late seventies and early eighties, Mildred Doyle-Murray was the player to beat on the ladies scene.
(special thanks to John Manning for the information provided for this article)