The story of Co. Meath golf Club is a mosaic of fun, friendship, endeavour and, sometimes, hardship.
The story began in 1898 when a number of enthusiasts came together to establish a golf course in Effernock , just outside Trim, on the lands that now accommodate the Knightsbrook complex. The designer of the new course was the Irish American, Devereaux Emmett, a great grand nephew of Robert Emmett and frequent visitor to Trim.
Devereaux was one of the most eminent American course designers of his day. His best known creation was the Congressional Country Club near Washington, which has hosted two U.S. Opens and a P.G.A. championship.
The new members named their club County Meath Golf Club. It was the only golf club operating in the county in 1898. Golf in those days was an elitist pursuit and the membership largely comprised of landowners, bankers, professionals and businessmen.
The club flourished in Effernock until 1905 but had to find alternative accommodation as the landlord and Club Captain, J. C. Hanbury, could no longer facilitate the club.
The club moved to a new location on P.J. Kennedy’s land on the Athboy Road at Oakstown. A cricket club also operated at the same location. The 9 hole layout was on forty acres and the land was leased to the club for £25 per annum.
Keeping a golf club alive was a fraught business in those days and particularly so for Co. Meath Golf Club as membership was small, around forty men and less than twenty ladies. In 1917 the annual sub for men was £1.10s and 10 shillings for ladies. When the rent was paid there wasn’t much left for course maintenance.
Thus the club struggled on until 1925 when the inevitable happened and Club Captain, Barney Allen had the unenviable task of presiding over the winding up of Co Meath Golf Club. But Barney ‘the Golfer Allen'' and other enthusiasts ensured that it was far from the end of the story and determined that the club would rise again, phoenix like, from the ashes at a future date.
That date was 13th July 1934 when the decision was taken at a meeting in the unofficial clubhouse, Brogan’s Railway Hotel, to revive the Club. The course was again located at Oakstown and a rent of £40 per annum was agreed with landowner, P. J. Kennedy. Local solicitor A. J. Malone was elected Club Captain and 1906-1908 past Captain, Hubert Potterton, was elected President.
The Club council decided in late 1937 to move to Dogstown , some two miles from the town on the Longwood Road. The course was designed by Co. Louth Professional, Mick McGuirk and was noted for its excellent greens. The Club thrived here until 1951 when the landowner, George Plunkett, terminated the lease agreement. The council and Captain, Charlie Tyrrell had no option but to wind up its affairs.
Happily, there were those who kept the dream alive and top of their agenda was the acquisition of new property to accommodate the Club. Despite their best efforts it was 1968 before their endeavours were rewarded. The ‘Revivalists’ decided to bid for Miss C. Regan’s farm which was for auction at the end of October and the holding was duly purchased for £12,000.
The 9 Hole course, which was a mere stone’s throw from the Dogstown course was again designed by Mick McGuirk. Charlie Tyrrell and Maura Murray were elected Club Captain and Lady Captain. A growing membership enjoyed excellent golf and good fellowship throughout the seventies. The emphasis throughout the eighties was on the acquisition of suitable land to expand to an 18 Hole layout.
At the end of the eighties first seventeen acres and then fifty acres was purchased. The peerless Eddie Hackett designed the new 18 holes and it was full steam ahead with construction.
The eagerly awaited new Par 73 course was duly opened for play in 1991. No sooner was the new course opened than minds turned to the building of a new clubhouse to replace the comfy, if basic, facility that had served the club well since 1970. It was agreed to press ahead with this ambitious project and the new clubhouse opened its doors in 1993.
In the intervening years the Club has continued to expand and prosper. But, above all, the traditional spirit of friendship and camaraderie, encapsulated in the Club motto ‘Nullae Hic Insidiae Tales’ prevails. May it ever be so.
The full story of Co. Meath Golf Club, The Road from Effernock, is for sale behind the bar in the clubhouse.