Hello, I’m Sean and I’m here to give you all a brief introduction and history in Golf in Ireland and how it has played a part in not only mine, but many young people’s lives in Ireland.
Although golf has been played in Ireland since the mid-eighteenth century it was only in the early 1890’s when the Golfing Union of Ireland was established, which was and currently is the Governing body for the Republic of Ireland. Often mentioned as a gentleman’s sport, it took quite a while for the sport to kick off.
Since the establishment of the GUI, they recruited professionals from Scotland, to teach the men of Ireland the rules of the game, within the first 10 years of the governing body, 97 clubs were established all over Ireland, which has since risen to the present day 415 which is quite a difference from the 25 courses before the establishment. Golfing History in Ireland has been fairly up and down, the first 30 years were fairly promising with a lot of people joining clubs and playing the sport, but from around the 1940’s until the 1980’s the sport came to a sharp decline, but with heavy investment and development , golf became one of the most popular sports in Ireland.
On a personal level, golf has been an important factor in my life. From the countryside of North West Donegal, where the sport has been popular since the early days of the GUI, I was introduced the sport. My local club, Cumann Gailf Cloich Cheann Fhaola (Cloughaneely/Falcarragh Golf Club) was established in the 1996, and was an instant hit with the community. My father first started playing golfing, when I was around the age of 8, and he started introducing me to the sport. I immediately fell in the love with, it was an escape from everyday life, fresh air and most importantly, fun. Since then I’ve been playing golf on a regular basis, although over the last 2 years it’s been quite difficult to find time, with course work and college, but I still look forward to going home on the weekends and hitting the golf course to exert some of the college stress and just to get away from the busy lifestyle.
Although many deem it to be an average sport, it has brought much tourism to Ireland, thanks to the superstars such as Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry etc. Thousands of people come every year to play a round, at the likes of Royal Portrush on the Antrim Coast, Rosses Point, Ballyliffin, the K-Club and many many more. It is evident to see the love of the Sport in Ireland, with the growth of the Irish Open. As well as that, the Ryder Cup was held in the K-Club and the heavy Irish involvement in the Ryder Cup squads on a regular basis.
By Seán Collum
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