Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Golf Club


Club House at Gotham

Photograph of the first club house for Carlow, then known as the Leinster Golf Club, situated at Gotham. Gotham was mid may between Carlow and Maganey and was conveniently reached by rail from either station. This first pavilion cost 99 and it was erected in 1904.

Mr. J.D. McDonald

(Note: The car in the photo is probably a 1902 Wolseley, registration C 9.)

Carlow Golf Club was originally known as the Royal Leinster Golf Club.

Club House at Gotham Club. It was founded at a meeting in the Clubhouse Hotel, Carlow, (later known as St. Brigids Hospital), on May 18th, 1899. The co-founders were Dr. Francis Brennan of Castledermot County Kildare and P. Lynch, The Abbey, Athy, County Kildare.

The first course was at Gotham between Carlow and Maganey. It was a 9 hole links, and was officially opened in July 1899. Captain C. Duckett Steuart was the first Captain of the club. The Landed Gentry and professional classes were prominently represented in its membership. Membership fees were set at one guinea (21 shillings) for gentleman and 10 shillings and 6 pence for ladies.

The Great Southern and Western Railway facilitated members travelling to Carlow or Maganey Stations for golf purposes. They were offered return tickets at single fares which could be procured from "the Honorary Secretary".

The name of the Golf Club changed to Carlow Golf Club on June 27th 1902. The club was affiliated to the Golfing Union at that time also. Messrs Thompsons a well-known Carlow engineering firm, built the pavilion at Gotham in 1904. It cost 99.

The Golf Club moved to a site at Oak Park on the Bruen Estate in 1922. Cecil Baracroft was the architect and designed this 18 hole links on a 164 acre site. Mr. Bruen was President of the Club between the years 1912-1927.

The Clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1960. However, in May 1961, Carlow Golf Club purchased the Deerpark site from the Irish Land Commission for a sum of 2,500. The architect of the new clubhouse was Mr. Shaffrey and the builder was Mr. Edward Byrne. His tender of 12,400 for the construction was accepted by the club in 1962.

The new clubhouse at Carlow Golf Club was officially opened by the then President Hugh O'Donnell. The 9 hole Oak Park course adjoins the 18 hole Championship course at Deerpark since 2003.

A map of Gotham Co. Kildare.  Underlined are the Townlands of Maganey,Gotham OSi map c.1838 Jerusalem, Gotham and Oak Park for reference.  Scale is 1:50 000 (1 Mile to 1") OS Discovery Series maps.

Click to enlarge

This signpost to Gotham House can be found North of Carlow.
Photo info courtesy of Carloman c2006
(click on the image to read about 'The Wise Men of Gotham' by Frank E. Earp)

Golf Club meeting 1899

Account of Council Meeting of Carlow Golf Club (Leinster Golf Club) from Carlow Sentinel 1899. It cited Captain Duckett Steuart of Steuart Lodge, Leighlinbridge as Captain of the Club. Eleven gentlemen and three ladies were elected members of the club on that occasion.

Carlow County Library

Golf Clubhouse Fire 1960

Article from the Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times August 1960 on the fire which destroyed the Carlow Golf Club's Clubhouse

Carlow County Library

Establishing a Golf Club

Account of the meeting which established Carlow Golf Club from Carlow Sentinel 20th May 1899. The meeting took place in the Club House Hotel Carlow. It stated that the club would be known as "The Royal Leinster Golf Club". The subscription was to be one guinea for gentlemen and 10 shillings and six pence for ladies. The grounds were situated at Gotham which was midway between Carlow and Maganey railway stations.

Carlow County Library

''The Captains Table'' - Carlow Golf Club (1899 - 2004). by Seamus Connellan. It is well illustrated with both black and white and colour photographs.

This book recently appeared for sale on eBay


Nationalist and Leinster Times, June, 1938.

The feat of Cecil Ewing in the final of the British Open Gold Championship last week is something of which all golfers in Ireland may be proud. He had hard luck in defeat at the hands of America's Yates, but I am convinced that if he continues to provide such first-class golf in the future he will soon be a world champion. The result of his success has given him his place on the British Walker Cup team against America. His brother Harry Ewing is a very popular member of the Carlow Gold Club, he recently married Shelia Kehoe daughter of Watty and Mrs Kehoe Pembroke, Carlow.

Source: M. Purcell (PPP)

CARLOW Golf Club has long been hailed, not alone nationally but also internationally as possessing one of the finest parkland facilities in these islands.

The club was, of course, founded long before that date and the esteem in which it is now held is a far cry from its humble origins. The first course of nine holes was laid out in 1899 on land at Gotham, somewhere between Carlow and Athy, and drew anything but complimentary comments from scribes of the day. If you consider a course to be tough nowadays think of what old-timers with their hickory shafted clubs and gutta percha balls had to contend with.

The club's Centenary History book records an extract from an article in the Irish Golfer of 1900. "The lands being peculiarly adapted for a golf course, it was unnecessary to construct artificial bunkers." His description of some holes is recorded thus.

First (Old Bog Hole) . A good drive and a brassy will reach the green having crossed two low ditches that penalise topped balls. A sliced drive is badly punished by furze bushes. Second (The Pond). "A very sporting hole, the tee being at the top of a hill, with water below for a topped ball punished bt water and furze, not to mention having to play over a big hill to reach the green." A sliced ball may also find water or get out of bounds, so that the golfer has no option but to drive straight.

"Eighth Hole (The Lerr). "A drive over a sunken ditch and a brassy over another should be near the green, which is guarded on one side by a swamp and on the other by the River Lerr. Bogey allows six for this hole and, as the lies are often far from good, it takes quite this number."

It was therefore, no surprise, that "in 1921 or thereabouts a member of vision and enterprise, the Very Rev M H Bolger PP, decided that Carlow golfers deserved more ambitious terrain." His keen golfing eye saw the possibilities at Deerpark. The club became tenants there in 1922 and bought the land in 1961.
There has been an on-going programme of alteration and upgrading involving advice from many prominent architects but they did not go down the road of total change to sand-based greens and the texture of the indigenous meadow grasses is as good a surface as you will get.

Renovations and refurbishment of the present clubhouse (the last was destroyed by fire in 1960) is also a continuous programme and the result is a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere with excellent food. Much of the attention and money has gone into the development of the new nine, an excellent addition with yardage and par similar to the main course designed by Jeff Howes.

Source: Irish Independent 2004

Website - Barney Hennessy Memorial Golf Society

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2001 County Carlow IGPTM

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