Golf in Ireland

The Royal Curragh Golf Club was the first golf club built in Ireland in 1853. Golf in Ireland continues to enjoy a healthy patronage rating fourth in the Top Ten Most Popular Sporting Activities of 2008.[1] Also in 2008, membership in the Golfing Union of Ireland was at 166,419 and membership in the Irish Ladies Golf Union was 49,822, making them third and seventh in the Top Ten Sports by Club/Association Membership respectively.[1] Golf ranks third in Euros spent on activities in Ireland by overseas travelers bringing 183m in 2012.[2] In the same year, the game of golf contributed over 15b Euros to the total European economy.[3] In 2007, Pádraig Harrington became the first golfer from the Republic of Ireland to win The Open Championship, the oldest of the four Men's major championships.

History of golf in Ireland

Although most historians agree that the birthplace of golf occurred in Scotland, the sport has a rich and colorful history in Ireland. Dating back to the mid-1800s, one of the fascinating aspects of Ireland's golf history is that many of its oldest courses are still around today, giving players and tourists a first hand account of its history. Today, Ireland is one of the nations with the most golf courses per capita in the world.[4]

Golf in the modern world originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife during the 15th century. Golf was officially introduced in Scotland in 1421. The game quickly spread throughout Europe due to the royal endorsement of King Charles I who brought the game to England. One of the oldest and most popular courses at the time was the Royal Curragh Golf Club, which opened in 1856.[5] It quickly spread to Ireland from Scotland.


The Professional Golfers’ Association (Great Britain and Ireland) was founded in 1901 and is based out of The Belfry, England. It was established to professionalize careers in golf and grow the golf community in Great Britain and Ireland. The Association initially included 70 members and has now grown to over 7,500.[6]

The Golfing Union of Ireland was established in 1891, making it the oldest national golfing union in the world.[7] It is based out of Carton House, Maynooth. It currently represents 430 golf clubs and 170,000 members, compared with the nine original founding clubs. Union business is conducted by a Central Council and four smaller governing branches: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster.

The Ladies’ Golf Union of Great Britain and Ireland was founded in 1893, just two years later. It is based out of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. The LGU works to provide women golfers opportunities to participate and compete and to aide British and Irish women in becoming successful golfers, domestically and internationally. The LGU also actively works to attain gender equality in golf and provide a unified voice to work for the interests of women golfers.[8]


The Irish PGA Championship has been held annually at many of the nation's courses since its founding in 1907. It is the oldest tournament in Ireland. The 2015 champion is Niall Kearney. The Irish Open is a professional tournament established in 1927. It was revived in 1975 and is now on the European Tour and a qualifying event for the Open Championship. The 2015 champion is Søren Kjeldsen from Denmark. The Irish Amateur Open Championship is a 72 hole stroke play event established in 1892 by the Golfing Union of Ireland. It has been held at the Royal Dublin Golf Club since 2007 and the 2015 champion is Gavin Moynihan. The Irish Senior Open is a 54 hole stroke play event in the European Seniors Tour. It was established in 1997. The Volopa Irish Challenge was established in 2015 and is a tournament on the Challenge Tour.

Past tournaments held in Ireland

Notable courses

Aerial View of Portmarnock Golf Club and peninsula

The Republic of Ireland has twenty-six different counties, seven different types of regions, and nearly 300 different courses to suit any golfers needs.[9] Courses in the West offer views alongside the Atlantic Ocean which symbolize links-style golf instead of the standard Country Club "tree-lined" look. Then there are courses with great history such as Portmarnock in the Dublin region, which was home to fifteen Irish Opens. If you are looking to play what our golfing forefathers played on, then there are courses that were established in the 19th-Century such as Lahinch in County Clare (1894) and the Royal Curragh Golf Club in Kildare (1858) that still receive great amounts of play and tourism. Here is a list of notable courses in the Republic of Ireland;[10]

The 7th hole at Ballybunion Golf Club
The fourth hole at Lahinch Golf Club

Courses in Ireland

Notable golfers

Pádraig Harrington was the first golfer from the Republic of Ireland to win The Open Championship. Other notable Irish golfer's include; Sir Alexander William Shaw Founder of Limerick and Lahinch golf clubs; Rhona Adair, a female Irish golfer who contributed to the first American book on golfing for women entitled Golf for Women in 1904;[11] and Paddy Skerritt who won many Irish tournaments with his greatest success at the 1970 Alcan International.[12]

Irish golfers

See also


  1. 1 2 "Assesment of Economic Impact of Sport in Ireland" (PDF). Indecon International Economic Consultants. pp. 27, 29. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  2. "Activity product usage among overseas visitors in 2012" (PDF). Fáilte Ireland. p. 3. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. "The Economic Impact On Golf On The Economy Of Europe" (PDF). Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. p. 7. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. "Countries with most golf courses per capita". Aussie Golfer. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  5. "A history of Golf Since 1497". Golf Europe. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  6. "Who We Are". Professional Golfers' Association. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  7. Menton, William A., (1991) The Golfing Union of Ireland, 1891 - 1991, p.14
  8. "The Role and History of the LGU". The Ladies Golf Union. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  9. "Golf Courses of Ireland". Wold Golf. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  10. "Ireland - Top 100 Golf Courses". Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  11. Genevieve Hecker. "Golf for Women". Classics of Golf. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  12. 1 2 Alliss, Peter (1983). The Who's Who of Golf. Orbis Publishing. pp. 294, 221. ISBN 0-85613-520-8.
  13. "Harry Bradshaw" The Times, 24 December 1990; pg. 10; Issue 63897.
  14. Gorry, Paul (Autumn–Winter 2014). "Pat Doyle". Irish Clubhouse. p. 5.
  15. "Miss Hollins Loses National Match by Driving Into Ditch at Last Hole.". The New York Times. 19 October 1913. Retrieved 2009-12-29. Except for a brief period in the early stages of the match which stood 1 down, Miss Gladys Ravenscroft, of England, former British title holder, always had the upper hand throughout the final round against Miss Marion Hollins, of Westbrook, L.I., in the woman's national golf championship on the links of the Wilmington Country Club to-day.
  16. "British Women Seek Golf Title". Hartford Courant. 12 October 1913. Retrieved 2009-12-29. The next big event in the golfing world starts tomorrow when the women's national championship will be staged at the Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington, Del., and finish Saturday, October 18. A prize will be given to the winner making the lowest score in the qualifying round, and ... Miss Mary Harrison. Ex-Champion Golf Player of Ireland. ...
  17. "2010 Curtis Cup Roster". USGA. Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  18. WICKLOW, Redford (Catholic) Cemetery, Greystones, Co.Wicklow No.286
  19. "Death of Paddy Skerritt". The Irish Times. 23 November 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  20. "Skerritt dies at 71". RTÉ. 23 November 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
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