For 97 years, home for Dun Laoghaire Golf Club was just a stroll from the town and the sea; a picturesque, parkland course central to an ever expanding community, and one of most highly respected Dublin Golf Clubs.
Today the club sits majestically under Carrickgollen Hill in Ballyman Glen, with spectacular views dominated by the Sugar Loaf Mountains and the Irish Sea, and still within the boundaries of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council District. Despite its new vistas, the driving spirit of the founding fathers is as strong as ever.
In 1909, fifty-one residents of Kingstown and district gathered in the Royal Marine Hotel on December 9th, to attend the inaugural meeting of Kingstown Golf Club. It was chaired by Major Bryan Cooper, at that time a Conservative Member of Parliament at Westminster, but who was later to become a member of Dail Eireann for Co Dublin. The Earl of Longford, K.P. was elected President on the night. He was subsequently killed in action in the Dardanelles campaign in 1915 and was succeeded by Viscount de Vesci who held the position until 1958.
Formation of the club got under way quickly. Approximately 200 men and 70 Lady Associates were elected and leases taken out on 36 acres of land at Eglinton Park and Highthorn, where a nine hole course was laid out. A clubhouse was built at a cost of £1,265 and in April of 1910 a Council meeting was held in it.
In November of that year a decision was taken to extend the course to 18 holes and approximately 40 acres on the far side of Glenageary Road were leased and an extra nine holes laid out. At the conclusion of the Great War the noted golf architect, Harry Colt, was employed to produce a new lay-out which stood the test of time.
In 1922 the club title was changed to Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown) Golf Club and finally, in 1951, after an acrimonious debate, Kingstown was finally removed. There followed a period of change with the 'old guard' dying off and an influx of new members whose accents represented a broader spectrum of Irish life, both metropolitan and provincial.
From the sixties to the nineties all the leased land was acquired by the club and the importance of this gradual and far-sighted activity was to eventually lead to dramatic change. From the seventies on difficulties arose with the club's boundaries and it became obvious that it was not totally practical to maintain an 18 hole golf course in Dublin that was reasonably safe on 78 acres.
An opportunity to relocate the Dublin Golf Club to 150 acres in Cherrywood in 1992/1993 fell through when Monarch Properties made a verbal offer, but subsequently decided to go ahead with a housing and industrial development. Another offer was tabled in 2001 by The Cosgrave Property Group which expressed an interest in the golf club's lands and indicated that that they would be prepared to re-locate the club to a 320 acre site which they had acquired at Ballyman Glen, just outside Dublin.
For historical reasons the club went back to the Royal Marine Hotel in June of 2002 where the offer was put to the 327 members present and after a vigorous debate, 79% voted in favour of the move.
Work commenced and Hawtree Ltd designed and supervised the construction of the course. The architects, Campbell Conroy Hickey, and builders, Cleary Doyle completed the clubhouse and associated facilities. The club moved to Ballyman Glen in August 2007.
Members and Visitors alike quickly settled at Ballyman, one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in Ireland. The three nine hole courses with five sets of tees, offers a challenge for every level of golfer. The views of the Wicklow mountains dappled with sunlight from ever changing sky scapes are distracting and uplifting.
The new golf courses were well established when we moved and have quickly become a favoured venue for our Golfing Unions