Meet the people behind one of Munster’s finest golf courses.
This is their story.
Skibbereen Golf Club provides one of the best golfing experiences in West Cork. The long fairways and receptive greens provide a great challenge for golfers of all abilities. This week I spoke to Cyril Thornton (Chairman) and John Mc Namara (Secretary). The two walked me through how the club was formed and what plans they have for the future. Have you ever played the course or passed by and wondered how it came into existence?
West Talk finds out.
Skibbereen Golf Club formerly known as “West Carbery Golf Club” was established in 1919. The club was first located on the Marsh Road, Skibbereen. In 1931 it moved to Castlelands, Skibbereen and remained there until the early 1940’s. In the early 40’s a man by the name of Eugene O’Donovan placed the wooden structured club house on the back of his truck and moved it to the clubs current location in Licknavar, Skibbereen.
(History: Article from 1919 when the club began)
Skibbereen hosts an 18 hole course that can challenge the best of golfers while also providing a great afternoons entertainment for anyone who wants to play. Renowned Architect Eddie Hackett designed the first nine holes in the 1940’s and in 1991 Jack Kennelly designed the back nine to give 18 hole status to Skibbereen Golf Club. The 18 hole course was opened in 1993 by Jack Lynch former Taoiseach and Patron of the club.
(1st Hole at Skibbereen Golf Course)
Golf can be played by all people at any age. Although most would argue they still can’t play very well! That’s the name of the game everybody has those bad shots and bad rounds. However, John says “It’s a game of miss hits but it’s one of the few sports that professionals and amateurs can play alongside one another”. I myself am guilty of hitting some horrendous shots but it’s the love of the game and the fun of playing with friends that brings you back to the course.
Cyril mentioned that they have members of all ages, “We have members from the ages of 8 to 90. When you join the club you are joining a family and community”. Skibbereen Golf Clubs longest standing member is Pat Connolly (87) who joined in 1950. After 70 years of playing the course Pat is one of the few who remembers what the club was like in those days. Pat says he remembers “rolling around in the bunkers when my parents took me there when I was seven”. Both Cyril and John want everyone to feel at home when they come to Skibbereen Golf Club.
Quick Fire Questions:
Q1. Favorite hole on the course?
Cyril "The 14th"
John "The 2nd"
Q2. Least favorite hole on the course?
Cyril "The 15th"
John "The 8th"
Q3. Best course you've played on?
Cyril "St. Andrews"
John "The Emirates course in Dubai"
Q4. Favorite Pro Golfer?
Cyril "Rory MclRoy but Tiger Woods changed the game"
John "Id have to say Rory as well"
Q5. Go to club in your bag?
Cyril "I've recently got a 6 hybrid that I'm playing well with"
John "The Putter!"
If you want to improve your golf game Skibbereen Golf Club have you covered. Skibbereen’s Club Pro is Sarah Claridge. Sarah is a qualified PGA Pro and has coached all levels of golf. From coaching beginners to ladies Master winning players, Sarah’s coaching will help you improve your game. There are lots of coaching options available at the club.
After your round you can enjoy a coffee with your lunch in the clubhouse. John Field and Charlie McCarthy were the duo at the helm when renovating the clubhouse. They turned the old wooden shed into a fully equipped clubhouse. John mentions “Over the next few years we hope to add on to the clubhouse”
Becoming a member of the club has never been easier. With a range of options and payment schemes Skibbereen Golf Club won’t be beaten on price. This club is all about the community. Cyril said, “We want everyone to feel welcome and give the game a go”.
The Pro Shop located next to the 1st Tee box has a partnership with McGuirks Golf. The shop offers a wide range of products from golf clubs to Golf Polo shirts available for both men and women.
(Some of the gear you can get the golfer in your life this Christmas)
Definitely check out Skibbereen Golf club when you are passing by. If you are looking for a great way to spend an afternoon this is the place to go. 2021 is set to bring a great season of golf. Get yourself down to the 1st Tee box and take a swing at it.