Archive for February 2017

Shandon Pitch & Putt Club

On our tour of the Dublin club’s, this week we venture into the center of Dublin City with Shandon Park Pitch & Putt Club our destination. Nestled in behind the surrounding house’s of the Shandon Park estate this club is easily missed as a laneway between 2 house’s separate this divine course from the busy City just minutes away.  One of the oldest courses in the whole of Ireland having originally set up in 1952 as a 9 hole course which was  laid for the employees of Alexander Findlater & Co along with local residents to enjoy. 3 years later in 1955 the Shandon Pitch & Putt Club was officially formed before joining the PPUI ranks in 1960.
The course had a wonderful Pavilion Clubhouse which was sadly burnt down in the early 1970′s and it was replaced with the building that is there to this very day. The course itself was also one of the first with a water sprinkling system which has helped them maintain their wonderfully manicured greens throughout the years.
The club has a rich history of success in National Championships with the  Shandon ladies taking over the game for periods in the 60′s and 70′s namely through Teresa McGuigan as she rattled up a phenomenal 8 National Individual titles. Her winning streak began in 1962 when she won her first National Strokeplay before rattling off a hat trick of National Matchplay titles starting in 1965. In 1966 she won the National Double before a 3rd Strokeplay win in 68′.  She would add to this when she once again lifted the Matchplay title in 1975 before completing a final 8th National title when victorius in the Strokeplay of 1976. Mildred Murray(Formerly Doyle) became the 2nd Shandon lady to rack up a trio of victories in the matchplay when she won titles in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Georgina Forristal would once again put the Shandon Ladies on the map when she was a National Strokeplay winner in 1988 but since then the titles have dried up.
As for the men of the club, they were to answer the ladies success but it took till a few years later to do so. In 1980 Michael Collins was to give the Shandon men something to shout about when he struck a National Matchplay Title. In 1986 Sean Harkins became the 2nd of the Shandon male contingent to taste a National glory and he was to double up his tally when he once again was victorious in 1991. Derek Courtney along with Sean are still plying their trade and are still regularly seen battling it out for titles and Derek was to gain a sole individual National Matchplay when he won in 1994. Sean would actually add to his Matchplay tally in 1999 but this time in the colours of St. Bridgets in Kildare. Both men have represented their country exceptionally well over the years and adding to those International Caps Brendan O’Shea, Dennis Monaghan and Maree O’Toole have all gone on to represent Ireland over the past few year’s too keeping the Shandon club firmly in the limelight.
In 2006 the club celebrated more success in National Competitions when both Patricia McLoughlin and Mary Fullam took the Lady Junior and Intermediate titles in Portmarnock. The club hosted the National Seniors Strokeplay and the club was rewarded when they won two fo the 6 titles on off that weekend when Ann Maloney and Gordon Nolan won their respective titles.
The course is split into two 9 hole courses with the front 9 based on the left hand side of the clubhouse. Small pitches are dotted around the tight course and one of the most notorious pitches in the whole game of pitch & putt awaits you when you arrive to the 3rd tee box. A high pitch is required to hold a green which falls off sharply at the back end. It has a huge bunker guarding at the front of the green which leaves an extremely difficult bunker shot even for the most experienced player. As you turn around at the short 5th you play your was back towards the clubhouse and cross to the back 9. Once again you are greeted by some small pitches that require the utmost accuracy to hold the green. The finishing stretch of holes is seriousl difficult with 16,17 and the 18th all playing long. The 18th is one of the toughest pitches on the course as you fire a ball well over 60mtrs to a biggish green. Although the target area is quite big compared to some of the other holes it is surrounded by bunkers front and back. Not only that but the carpark looms for any long pitch that kicks off the back of the green. A superb finishing hole.
The Shandon club also has had a big input into the running of the game of pitch & putt with the club one of the founding fathers of the PPUI. Joe Leahy was the National Secretary for the game for a 15 year stretch in the 70′s & 80′s. A name well known around the country for his administrative prowess Eamonn Birchall has become an iconic figure for both the Shandon Club and the PPUI.  Eamonn became the first President to serve a 3 year stretch when he donned the famous chains in 1977.  Eamonn was once again summoned to the top of the game as recently as 2014 before stepping down last year for the current President Mervyn Cooney.
Shandon has currently just over 100 members with a full competition calendar including matchplays, strokeplays and all other usual club majors. The course is used on a near yearly basis by the Dublin County Board for qualifiers and County finals with the Dublin Matchplay their as recently as 2013.
The club welcomes any new members looking to join and can be contacted below:
shandonpnp@yahoo.com
Telephone No: (01) 838 0437
Address:
47 Shandon Park,
Phibsborough,
Dublin.
Their Facebook Page is also active and can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Shandon-Pitch-and-Putt-Club-142914855739513/?ref=page_internal

Dublin County Board League Suggestions

At our last Dublin County Board meeting the discussion of the Dublin Leagues came up.

The suggestion from the floor was that travelling to and from matches was taking its toll on players and the leagues were suffering.

To combat this, a suggestion of playing the leagues during the Summer on a Saturday was put forward with a new format.

A club may enter a minimum of 6 players in a strokeplay style qualification. Clubs with more than 6 players in any grade may enter as many players as they wish. The top 4 teams from the strokeplay qualification will then enter a semi final stage the following week. From then the format will resort back to its usual way with each club selecting 3 doubles pairings followed by 6 singles to compete in a matchplay game.

The idea was to have both semi and finals on the one day with each club well represented with club colours on show on a full course.

With a meeting due in 2 weeks I would like to ask what the general players feel about this format so I can throw out some more suggestions and I can bring it up at the next meeting.

If players would like to post on the Facebook page do so. If anyone would like to contact myself privately they can E-Mail me at jrcranglejr@gmail.com

Thank you,
JR Crangle.

Ps. From now on the weekly club profiles will be posted from now on, on a Monday evening. This week we will be looking at Shandon

National Pitch & Putt Convention 2017, Nenagh, Co.Tipperary


Yesterday the 2017 PPUI Convention took place in Nenagh, Co.Tipperary and Dublin clubs were well represented.

President Mervyn Cooney conducted a professional meeting in which their were many debates and changes made that will in the future help the game prosper.

Of the motions proposed, the yearly debate of 3 clubs instead of 2 was defeated once again despite being given a majority verdict of 38 to 35. All other proposals were passed.

The PPUI Hall of Fame entrant for 2017 went to Old County co-founder and stalwart Jim Byrne. A huge contingent of Old County members made their way down to support their club secretary (staggeringly for the past 41yrs!) who received his award from PPUI President Mervyn Cooney.

Geraldine Ward was also in attendance to receive her award for the No.1 ranked Lady player of 2016.

The Handicap System was given a fantastic detailed report by Lucan’s Keith Redmond in which he produced some stats to see the progress of the system in its first 9 months in operation.

Their were a lot of adjustments taking place within the handicap system with the re-introduction of the previous handicapped grades. This will be available to see in the coming week.

Clubs will now be responsible for all players handicaps be it a future new member or the oldest of members. President Mervyn Cooney issued a stern warning to clubs and players alike that any issues arising from a non trying player or club to improve handicaps will be dealt with in a severe manner with suspensions mooted.

Mervyns opening speech can be read on the PPUI site or in the link below.

http://www.ppui.ie/News/Article/1443

Portmarnock Pitch & Putt Club

Lying adjacent to the world famous golf course of the same name lies an equally stunning links course in Portmarnock Pitch & Putt Club. It has long been a superb course in immaculate condition that was laid out in the early 1960′s as members from a local commercial course played out their fantasies of their own pitch and putt facility and with such a fantastic course from such an early age, the history books are littered with the famous Portmarnock name from the very beginning of the PPUI right up to the recent times.

Portmarnock has produced numerous champions throughout the PPUI era. Starting from the early domination of the Rogers brothers Kevin, Seamus and Bernard who amassed a total of 8 National titles between them in a dominant era for the club which in that time amassed a mixed total of 11 Gents Senior National Strokeplay/Matchplay titles from the 50′s up to 1970. Since then though the men’s titles have dried up on a National level with the ladies coming to the forefront of Portmarnocks recent history.

After a somewhat barren run some new names emerged in the mid 80′s and the club has housed 3 All Ireland Lady Champions since in Sheelagh Elmes who started the ball rolling, she would very quickly be followed by into the winners enclosure by close friend and club, county and Irish legend Geraldine Ward. In 1990 Gail McDermott also took a National Strokeplay success for the club while Sheelagh completed a 2nd National success in the mid 90′s. The one name though that overshadows all in Portmarnock though is Geraldine Ward. She has an amazing 18 National titles, 8 Strokeplays and 10 Matchplays. A quite stunning total. The worst thing for her fellow competitors is she looks like she is in no mood for stopping as she romped to a fantastic victory in the Elvery Cup last June Bank Holiday in front of the Setanta Sports cameras in Seapoint.

Ger and Sheelagh are also known for their scotch foursome exploits in local opens and have also become mainstays in a very trophy laden Inter County career to date winning countless titles Provincially and Nationally for the Dublin Ladies.

Back to the course, it is situated nicely in behind the local Parish Church car park and the walk through the lane from the church to the course leaves you wondering what is behind. Once you see this course you instantly become attached to its magnificently manicured greens and perfectly matured layout. The soil below makes the course conditions almost unique to any other course in the country. As the planes fly into Dublin the course can be seen quite clearly and looking close enough you may also see someone struggling to find a way out of the many pot bunkers situated around the course.

Some notable holes on the course are hard to find as each and every hole brings new challenge, especially as the sea breeze blows its way across the course. The 4th hole is a beautiful shot to a blind green hidden behind a mid fairway slope and two huge bunkers, the green begins just over the edge of the bunkers and rolls away before a slope at the back struggles to hold any of the incoming shots. The 15th is also one of the most notorious shots on the course and has ruined many a card at all levels of the game. Playing over 60mtrs the green once again is guarded by two big bunkers that will gobble up any short shots unless your one of the lucky few to bounce in between them! The green is once again shaped off the back of the front bunkers with a severe slope from the front before a slight leveling out before once again sloping over the back into a little valley even St.Andrews wouldn’t dare place on their famous 18th.

The clubhouse was the victim of a fire in the early 90′s but has since been refurbished and improved and now has what has become a very prime spot for looking over the course with its upstairs balcony. The club caters for all kinds of players ability with competitions running all year long throughout the Winter and right through the Summer months. They have an envious array of juvenile talent also with 2007 National Boys Strokeplay winner Darragh Rogers keeping the family name in the limelight. Ciaran Cregan and Ciaran Lynch also helped the Dublin Juvenile team reach the pinnacle with a famous win in 2015 in the Inter County finals.

The course has also held many Major competitions in recent years hosting last years Dublin Strokeplay having held the County Matchplay the year previous. It hosted the National Inter County Championship Finals in 2011 when Cork once again dominated the field. This year it will be host of the Dublin Mixed Scramble which usually sets the season off in the capital. They will also be hosting an Open Singles, Over 55′s Open, Scotch Foursomes and a Scratch Cup all in the Summer of 2017 so don’t miss out on a chance to play one of the best courses in the country.

Club Address:
Strand Rd,
Burrow,
Portmarnock,
Co. Dublin

Old County Pitch & Putt Club

Over the next couple of months before the season starts in earnest we will be bringing you details of all the clubs in the Dublin Pitch and Putt region with some photo’s of each course, a few signature holes and small past history of the clubs successes.

To start the ball roling we are looking at one of the busiest and one of the most improved clubs in our county and in fact the country in Old County.

In 1966 Old County was formed by a group of friends in a local bar on the Old County Road and still after celebrating their 50yr anniversary last year the club continues to prosper. This was very nearly not the case as the club shares it’s ground around the Lorcan O’Toole Park with the Crumlin GAA club. Just before the turn of the century the club won it’s case and drew up a new 99yr lease securing the future of the club for the year’s to come.One of the gentlemen that founded the club Jim Byrne, will in fact this year be inaugurated into the Pitch and Putt Union of Irelands Hall of Fame at this years convention in February. He is also the club secretary.

In recent years the club has tasted major success in juvenile competitions along with all adult grades in County, Provincial and National titles all finding their way back to Kimmage. The club has a particularly very strong juvenile section that has been reignited by the recent DCB Juvenile Officer Jim Milligan. In fact all the grades in Old County are very competitive with many club competitions catering for players of all levels throughout the calendar year.

They also hold arguably the most sought after team event trophy in the Dublin Leagues with their Gents Senior team looking to defend that title in 2017. The club provided 2 members in Stephen Murray and Thomas O’Reilly of the victorious Dublin team that won the All Ireland Inter County Championships in RGSC last year winning the title for the first time this century.

In 2015 the club hosted the Over 55′s PPUI National Championships and hosted the competition in a way many others can only dream of. The Tv cameras rolled and the hosts were rewarded when local stalwart Agnes Redmond won the Intermediate section but the club itself was the major success of the championships.

Moving into the future in the Summer of 2017 they will be host to the Dublin County Board Strokeplay Finals and will be looking for some more local winners.

Over the past few years the course itself has had some radicle changes with greens relayed and new tee boxes put in. The actual layout has remained very similar to before but the changes have improved the course no-end.

The 2nd hole is an early test of your agressiveness as any shot long or left usually leaves your card with at least a bogey! The course mellows out throughout the middle of the round with birdies very getable but then you are hit with one of the toughest finishes in pitch & putt. The 16th,17th & 18th have ruined many a card over the history of the club. A long pitch to a blind 16th guarded by a bunker short, the 17th is also guarded by a bunker to the front but that is usually the least of your worries as the green is notoriously tough to hold with slopes coming from left, right and behind the green. Although with recent work on the hole it is not as severe as before but still a demanding hole just like the 18th, which demands a straight pitch as it slopes on both sides leaving an awkward chip. A great test.

The club is open for new membership for 2017 and can be contacted at:
Clubhouse 01-4651003
Club Website http://www.oldcounty.org/

Club Address:
Park Crescent
Lorcan O’Toole park
Kimmage,
Dublin 12.

Vice Chairman Jim Milligan

It is with great sadness that at Monday evening’s Dublin County Board meeting that we received a letter from Vice Chairman and Juvenile Officer Jim Milligan saying that he would be resigning his positions with immediate effect.
Jim has been an absolute trojan with his work on the county board primarily as the Juvenile Officer. Jim produced a wonderfully successful term for the county, running the section like his own army with his band of helping hands, they prepared the Under 16′s impeccably including some of the finest details of etiquette, professionalism in an amateur sport and having a wonderful attitude towards the next generation of the game.
In this period the juveniles repaid him as they were guided to some memorable winning performances especially when the Juvenile team won the All Ireland Inter Counties in 2011 and in 2015.
The Dublin County Board would like to thank Jim for his services to the game during this time and wish him the very best for the future.