Club History 1929-2019
Callan Golf Club was founded in the Parish Hall Callan on Thursday 4th April 1929. Officers and Committee elected that evening: President: Lt.Col.W.M.Butler. Vice-President: G.O’Kelly-Lynch. Captain: J.C.Landy. Hon.Sec: E.Lyng. Hon.Treas: D.O’Dea Committee: W.E.Allen, M.G.Doyle, Wm. Fennelly, R.Hughes, Dr.Phelan. Annual subscription: £2 Family, £1 Single, 10/- Country member. The Club was affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in March 1930. The course was designed by Paddy Mahon, golf professional from Tramore who was a member of our club for many years and later became professional in Portmarnock Golf Club. In the early years, the fairways were cut by Dick Walsh, with a small mower pulled by a donkey. A stable in Jack Vaughans was used as a locker room and a small bottle of guinness cost six old pence. Club President Col. Butler presented a cup for competition for men and his wife presented a cup for the ladies, named the Minauns cups. Apart from the founder members, others who were active in the affairs of the club in the early years were Tom Walsh (Mullinahone), Tom Walsh (Goatsbridge), Tom Meagher, John Rice, Ml.Bradley Snr.and Jn., Jimmy Gethings, Harry Grainger, William Fennelly and J.B Cahill. The first inter club tournament was played in Johnstown in September 1929, Johnstown won the singles and the foursomes were tied. In October the greens and fairways were rolled with a steamroller courtesy of Kilkenny Co.Council. On the 24th of March 1930 the first Annual General Meeting of the Club was held and the Treasurers report showed a profit of £64. Membership fees remained the same and green fees were set at 2 shillings. An inter club match with Thomastown was played on the 12th of April 1930 with victory going to Thomastown. The golf season in 1932 opened with a match bewteen Paddy Mahon professional Callan and Paddy Sullivan of Tramore versus Willie Smithwick and Mr. Dowling the professional at Kilkenny Golf Club.
James Gethings. Hon. Life Member 1973 after 40 years of dedicated service.
The first hole in one recorded in competition was achieved by Harry Grainger on the 14th of March 1936 at the 5th hole then a par 3. In that period two other members namely John Rice (Natie’s Father) and Jimmy Gethings who was made an Honorary Life Member in 1973 after 40 years of dedicated service had similar achievements. When Michael Bradley and Jimmy Gethings joined the club the annual subscription was 30/- and a warwick ball cost 1/6p. The first Clubhouse was built in 1939, by William Thompson. The Trustees elected at that time were Col.Butler, J.C.Landy and Dr.P.J.Phelan. The club survived the war years through the good work of those already mentioned and many others. One interesting item towards the end of the war, the members drove stakes in the fairways to deter German planes from landing on the course.
Michael J. Bradley. Hon. Life Member 1992.
On Tuesday 25th of July 1950 an E.G.M. was held in the Parochial Hall, Callan, the object of the meeting “to discuss whether the Club will have to cease activities or continue”. The Club was unable to pay rent for the course. Many meetings were held in 1950 and 1951. On the 17th of September 1951 a committee was elected with Liam Howard as Captain and Bill Finn as Hon. Secretary. We now enter the 2nd phase which can be termed the revival of Callan Golf Club. Liam and Bill collected finance by going from house to house in Callan. We must be forever grateful to many members from that period for putting money, time and effort into our Club. On the 17th of March 1952, having been closed for two years, the Club was re-opened.
John Hickey. Hon. Life Member 1992.
Active members in the 50s were Wm.Finn, Liam Howard, John Hickey (President in 1960,1971 and 1980, Hon.Treasurer for five years and was made an Honorary Life Member in 1992), Simon O’Brien (A Wexford man), now a Callan man and always a gentleman, President 1974, Captain 1958, Hon.Treasurer 1965, Bar sec. for 10 years , Trustee since 1960, made an Honorary Life Member in 1989), Ml.J.Bradley (President 1977, Captain 1940, made an Honorary Life Member in 1992), Paddy Moran, Denis Carey, Rody Curran, Fr.Phelan, Fr.Conway, Fr.Greene, Joe Keating and Dr.J.J.Russell.
Bobby Kerwick. Hon. Life Member in 1973.
In the late 50s and early 60s we had Bobby Kerwick (President 1959 and 1983, Hon.Sec., Hon. Treas., Competition Sec., made an Hon. Life Member in 1973), Louis and Frank Fitzgerald, Martin O’Mahony, Christy Hogan, Milo Carey (Hon.Sec. for seven years, Captain in 1960 and 1961, Competition Sec. 1971 and1972 and Trustee since 1960), Kieran Barry (President 1964, Captain 1967, Hon.Treas. 1974 and 1975), John O’Neill (Captain 1966, Hon.Sec. 1961 and 1962 and now a Trustee), Liam Egan ( who ensured our tractor kept going ), Ray Fulham and Chris Twomey.
Bill Finn. Hon. Life Member.
At Special General Meeting on the 15th of September 1960 it was unanimously decided to purchase the course. Purchase price £1400. Trustees appointed at that time were Bill Finn, John Hickey, Denis Carey, Milo Carey, Simon O’ Brien and Joe Keating. From the mid 60’s onwards we had many active members. Seamus Horgan (served as President 1986, Captain 1965, Hon.Treas. for six years and Bar sec.), Ml.Grace (President 1981 and 1982, Captain 1969, Hon.Sec. 1966 and is now a Trustee), Padraig Fitzpatrick, Kevin Keogh (President 1975, 1976 and 1978), Joe Walton, Patsy Hogan, Tom Maher, John Grace, Bill O’Connor, Paddy Holohan, Bill Eustace and Jack Forde. In 1971 our 2nd Clubhouse was erected by Avonree Buildings. In September 1978 the Emerald Golf Society of New York visited us for the first time. Since that time a wonderful friendship has developed between Callan and the Emerald. The first President of the Emerald was Mick Morrissey of Wexford hurling fame, Tommie Fitzpatrick was their second President and Connie Malone from County Armagh is now President.
This photo taken when we visited in 1996 shows (left to right)Tommy Fiztpatrick, Murt Duggan, Liam Duggan Captain Callan Golf Club, Connie Malone President Emeralds, Liam Gleeson, and Noel Lennon.
In T.J.Hogan’s year as Captain 1987, 4.7 acres purchased from Pat Scriven and course extended, presently the area of the 13th green and the 14th hole . We had a very successful 401 draw in 1987 supported by all our members and by many friends outside the club. In May 1990 full membership was granted to Ladies. Any chapter in this brief history of our club would be incomplete without mention of our Ladies. Active in the early years were Marie Gethings, Gertie Shelly, Tess Bradley, Nurse Flynn, Mrs.Kelly, Moira Gavin, Mrs.P.Moran, Dr.O’Riordan-Walsh, Mrs.H.Rice, Mrs.D.Carey, Mrs.M O’Mahony and Madge Heron. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s many Ladies made a big contribution to our club, our special thanks to Mary Grace, Phil Walsh, Mary Horgan, Jean Grace, Breda Holohan, Maura Keogh, Esther O’Keane, Ailish Carey, Eileen Madigan, Mary Moore, Margaret Duggan, Finola Walsh, Eileen Cormack, Bea O’Donovan, Mary Barry, Celia Moran, Ena Heron, Eileen Hennessy, Pauline Mc Hardy, Veronica Wall, Ethel Lunny, Ann Campion, Celine Farrell, Yvonne Egan, Olive Kinsella, Maura O’Mahony, Patricia Fitzpatrick, Joan O’Gorman, Barbara Kearney and Ann Wemyss in 2000. In 1990 we won our first G.U.I. Pennant the Provincial Towns Cup. We held a 1000 member draw, which was a great boost to club finances. In May 1991 the Emerald Golf Society of New York ran a very successful Golf Tournament in Van Courtlandt Park New York in aid of our building fund and raised $8,000. In 1992 under the Captaincy of Larry O’ Shea, we purchased 19 acres from Frank Fennelly and Jim Power developed an extra three holes. We won our 2nd Provincial Towns Cup in the same year. Our present fine Clubhouse designed by Bill Mc Evoy and built by Mc Carthy Bros. was opened in 1994. John O’ Dwyer took over the golf shop in 1996. He has since qualified as a Professional and is a great asset to our club. On the 30th of May 1997 a Special General Meeting unanimously approved the purchase of 36 acres to allow extension of Course to 18 holes. The holes in the new area were designed by Bryan Moore O.C.M. Associates and developed by Jim Power & Co.. Many members gave excellent leadership through the 80’s and 90’s: Bill Eustace, Jack Forde, Brendan Mullen, Bill Martin, Ml.O’Mahony (Captain in 1982 and Hon.Treas. from 1988 to 1992), Ml.Denny, Tim Fitzgerald, Jack O’Shea (President in 1988 and 1989, Captain in 1985), Chris Doocey (Captain in 1986, Competition Sec. for 4 years and Bar Sec.), Tom Donovan, Ml.O’Sullivan, Larry O’Shea (Captain in 1992 and President in 2000 and 2001), Pat Cunningham (Captain in 1991,Competition Sec. for six years), Joe and Martin Cuddihy, John O’Dwyer, Pat Campion, Br.Liam Burke, Jim Kirby, John Healy, Eamonn Holohan, Paul Roche, Liam Duggan, Ml.Fitzpatrick, Eddie Meagher, Jas Doran, Billy Mc Evoy, Pat Cullinane and Natie Rice. A special thank you to the many voluntary workers down through the years, who gave a lot of time and expertize to our club.
Paddy Holohan Hon. Life Member 2000
Saturday, 5th June 1999 was the proudest day in the history of Callan Golf Club when our Captains Barbara Kearney and Pat Cullinane extended a cead mile failte to all for the Official Opening of our 18 Hole Course by Liam Aylward T.D. A special mention for our Hon.Treas. Paddy Holohan and Hon.Sec. Murt Duggan. Paddy was President in 1990, Captain in 1977, Hon.Sec. 1970, 71, 72, 80, 81, Hon.Treas., in 1984, 85, 86 and has been Hon.Treas. since 1993 and is also a Trustee.
Murt Duggan Hon. Life Member 2000
Murt joined in the early seventies and he also got the golf bug early on (should it be the work bug!) .He served as President in 1984 and 1999, Captain in 1976, Hon.Secretary from 1987 to 2001 mising out 1999. His ambition from way back was to have an 18 hole course in Callan. With his drive, the support of all the Captains, Presidents,members and his wife Margaret and family this was achieved in 1999. At the Annual General Meeting in 2001 Paul Roche proposed that Paddy and Murt be made Honorary Life Members. All members unanimously agreed.
President 2000 Larry O’Shea presenting his prize to winner Brian Duggan (0) after he set a new course record of 66 net.
Two more sections of our club deserve mention, the R.G.A. and the Juniors. The Retired Gentlemens Association organised by Natie Rice has been a great success. The Juniors guided by Jim Kirby, David Nye, Alf French, Paul Roche and John O’Dwyer are making great strides and will bring forward many fine golfers to represent Callan Golf Club. The Juniors have been well organised since the mid ’90’s by Denis Carey (under his guidance the Juniors elected their first Captain and Vice-Captain in 1996), Eamonn Holohan, Pat Cunninghan, John O’dwyer, and in the past three years by Jim Kirby and his committee. As we start out in 2001 we wish our Presidents, Mary Barry and Larry O’Shea, our Captains, Catherine Davis and Martin Cuddihy a very successful year. To all our members thank you for making Callan Golf Club a Club of friendship, goodwill and sportsmanship. In 2001 the club under took a major drainage program on the course which has now proven to be very successful. 2003 saw three new sand based greens being built on the first, garden hole seventh and eighteenth holes. This resulted in the lay of the course being changed to the present set up. New greens are also planed for the 4th, 5th,and 6th greens in the near future. Author Murt Duggan
Callan Golf Club. Lady Associates History.
1929-1940. Sadly we have no records of this first dozen years other than two silver cups presented to the ladies, the Butler Cup in 1930 by W. M. Butler of the Minauns and the Geraldine Cup by Mr. Jack Vaughan of Geraldine House, then owner of the golf course land. 1941 The Colgan up was presented by Major Colgan. Now in the year 2001 it is very impressive to reflect on the entertaining competitions and income to the club these trophies have provided. We are fortunate to have a record book spanning the years 1941 – 1971. Minutes, income, expenditure accounts, handicaps record, competition entries and results are all combined therein. From these we were able to compile our Lady Captain and Lady President boards which are on display in the club house.
Marie Gethings. Hon. Life Member 1970 after 40 years of dedicated service.
1941 – 1951
IN this decade up to 15 ladies regularly took part in competitions including Mrs. Bradley who was Secretary / Treasurer for five consecutive years, others were Dr. Connelly, Miss Curran, Miss Mollie Dunne, Nurse Babe Flynn, Miss C. Flynn, Miss Marie Gethings, Miss Moira Gavin, Miss C. Moran, the two Miss Madigans Bridie and Mollie, Mrs. Moran, Mrs.Rice, Dr Riordan, Miss Roche and Miss Shelly wit handicaps 22-40.Thirty years later some of these ladies were still taking part on committees.
The lady captain and lady secretary managed club affairs with no further committee.. Club business was very similar to present times. I.L.G.U. fee of one guinea was sent to Mrs. Rentoul of 29 Deramore Drive, Belfast as were three gross scores for handicap. Competitions were regularly played on Sundays and took the format of best eight in qualifying round to play off in matchplay, as today getting matches played within the time limit could be a problem. Golf outings and returns were arranged with Thomastown , Carric-on-suir and Castlecomer. A few details of club finances of the 1940’s in Pounds shillings and pence ( l.s.d. ) from Mrs Bradley’s meticulous bookkeeping. For a club fund 6d was collected from each golfer every month from April to September. Postage cost 2 and a halfpence, competition entry fee 1shilling for mixed foursomes. In 1942 T.B. Cahil was paid 1s.6d each for teas, for car hire 5s to J. Shelly and in1944 general meeting 2s.6d to P. Hogaqn for use of hall. The Mass card fund as required was given to Fr. Phelan P.P, Fr. Greene and Fr. Conwat. Men entered in the mixed foursomes were Misters : Michael Bradley, Devaney, J, Dolan, JimmyGethings, John Hickey, Liam Howard, T. Lalor, M. Mullonery, Moran, Rice, Teehan and Steward. No records kept from July 1945 to May 1948. No golf played from Nov. 1949 to Oct. 1951.
Major fundraising efforts to re-establish the club. The ladies organised a raffle for a lumber jacket, presented by Mr Flynn of Callan Knitwear. Books of tickets were distributed town premises, a dance was arranged for Dec. and mixed foursomes for 17th March 1952.
Mixed foursomes for two silver cups presented by Mr. & Mrs Kelly. To encourage beginners it was decided to award a category prize.
Members offer to put up prizes for weekly competitions. This arrangement was very successful. In 1980-90 it was found more suitable that each lady pay into a weekly prize fund and that the assistant treasurer purchase the prizes. It was decided those whose names were not in the draw could not take part in the competition. Competitions were played on Sunday’s and Thursday’s.
Four officers were elected and no other committee Lady Pres. L. Capt. Vice Capt. and Sec.
A.G.M. owing to poor attendance no lady captain elected. Miss Mary Bradley was appointed to notify 34 ladies of new meeting in parochial hall. 14 ladies attended. 6 officers and 4 committee members were duly elected. June 4th visit from Carrick ladies. Golf followed by meal, mixed and social. Piano provided by Dr. Riordan. In July visit from Borris ladies. It was also decided in this year that men provide sandwiches for male competitions and ladies provide cakes and tea.
Weekly whist drive in March & April. Cylinder cost L1-6s-9d.1961 postage to Miss V. Haslett sec.I.L.G.U, Dublin. Meeting in parochial hall attended by Presedent Mr. Christy Hogan & Hon. Secretery Mr John O’Neill to encourage greater co-operation between ladies and men. Agreed 3 shillings be charged for major competitions, 5 shillings for lockers for year and 2 shillings each for men for all teas provided during year. It was decided that lady putting up weekly prize decides whether it was played for on a Sun. or Thur. Evening competitions at 6 p.m.
An Open arranged for 6th July. Committee meetings held in Town hall and Grand Central Hotel Callan. Hon. Sec. Miss Rita O’ Malley. 1967 71 Competition fee 2/= Lady Captain Day 5/=.
A.G.M. held in parochial hall. Anybody marking own score card to be disqualified from competitions. Tea & biscuits after competitions at a nominal charge of 6d. For many years this provided a very sociable interlude while waiting for results.
A.G.M. held in Lynch’s Lounge Bar. Visitors came from Kilkenny to play golf. Ladies contributed to provide curtains for new Avonree Club House. Rule that ladies must have played 3 competitions to be eligible to win Lady Captain’s prize. Mid 70’s we entered a team in the I.L.G.U. Midland Trophy. A committee meeting reports that two rearranged holes need to be measured & entered in the ladies score cards. Decided to arrange with Mr.J. Condon professional in Kilkenny to give lessons in Callan for those interested. Mixed foursomes arranged on a fortnightly basis.
The revised Rules of Golf distributed to the ladies. 20 playing regularly. With permission to have a draw at 2p.m. on Sat. we were able to extend competition into Oct.
We were honoured to receive a trophy from the family of the late Mrs. Bradley an active officer for many of the early years. Remember 7/7/77. Those who witnessed it will not forget this Union Prize day. Tremendous work had gone into arranging times for 72 entries and into cooking hams, turkeys, preparing salads and deserts when the thunder & lighting struck. Clubs were abandoned all over the as terrified ladies took refuge. The competition was successfully rerun the following. Standard scratch was reduced to 67. Entry fee raised to 70p for major days. 30p for weekly comp. Visitors from Carrick and Clonmel.
Lessons arranged with Mr. C. Butler as a compliment to the ongoing development of the course some of its tough spot are mentioned. Golf rule to be clarified re dropping from pond to left of 6th green. The par 3 7seventh hole with its double ditch and three overhanging beech trees ” the garden ” often demands a provisional drive. The row of poplars between the 8th & 9th ” the bog ” were a problem for the not so straight. S.S. increased to 69. The number of ladies playing increased in the eighties. Detailed attention to arranging fixtures, selecting teams and catering responsibilities were regularly on the agenda at monthly committee meetings. Providing evening dinners for teams and outings were making increasing demands and all ladies were being asked to share the burden. Callan had earned an enviable reputation for home cooking and mouth-watering desserts and an enjoyable day out.
A system was introduced to convert stableford and V Par scores for handicap purposes and conversion charts were displayed in locker room. As Wen. Was popular for opens our own competition was changed to Tuesdays.
We received our first invitation to play in the Finn trophy and reached the Final the following year, which we played in Courtown against Tramore. Winter golf was played on one Sat. per month. It was decided that team members should have club jumpers with crest. The Kilkenny pro Mr. M. Kavanagh was contacted to give lessons.
The kitchen and bar were repositioned and extended with all cloakrooms and changing rooms moved out to the old pavilion. 33 ladies now playing on major days.
We were presented with the Heron trophy, a Lladro figure of a lady golfer, carefully looked after by many lucky winners. In the eighties it was decided that a silver brooch should be presented to the lady captain when she took office. This was followed up later with blazer and crest, likewise for the Lady President, an office revived.
The G.U.I. decided to change our designation from Lady associate to Lady member.
Team first entered in Midland Plate. After 60 years of increasing demand some of the catering was put on a more commercial and private footing, with ladies still responsible for major days. In response to their request the ladies supplied a list of 8 ladies to men for selection on Carrolls mixed team, their progress gave us many exciting matches as did the midland trophy and plate. Ladies now had a fixture list for the year in the locker room. Adrienne Walsh invited from Kilkenny to give talks on rules of golf. Her video presentation and talk has been repeated in later years and is very much appreciated. As the numbers playing was increasing it was no longer appropriated to have three draws on major days and so we began to use time sheets with entries in advance. Now the computer age was upon us and made an easier task of computing results. After a lapse of thirty plus years we elected a Lady President.
We admire our new club house and discussed the furnishing of ladies locker room, with successful classics providing fund raising for same. A word to our sponsors over the years and to the supporters of our fund raising efforts, they are true friends to whom we are greatly indebted. Floral arrangements, congratulatory card and bouquets add to all the special days.
We were invited to enter the Boyne Trophy, a competition for the over fifties. Making the list of eligibles required some diplomacy. The more familiar faces in the club to dad are in their forth decade of playing golf, they can be proud of the contribution they have made. Their experience in club affairs is much appreciated by those who take over the various duties. In the late 90’s over seventy ladies played on major days. The L.G.U. issued a new handicapping system. Congratulations to the committee members who familiarised themselves with same and their patience in dealing with our many queries. Tar eis seachtu liain ag fas, the new 18 hole course is an outstanding amenity in the town attracting membership from the whole of the county and a fitting witness to those who helped in its making and to all involved in present day management. The ladies course measures 2608 yards and has 72 standard scratch. Our golfers in form have come to terms with its three dozen sand bunkers, the stream and ponds from 6th to 13th holes, the trees and sloping greens. We now have a team in each of the L.G.U. trophy categories with a pool of ten to select from in the 0 – 18 division. The rapid expansion and growing membership as we begin the new millennium presents a challenge particularly to make every body feel that they belong and that they have a part to play in the future success of the club, long may they do so.