Lucan Golf Club. Brief History 1897-2016
Lucan Golf Club was set up in 1897 and was initially located in the Moor of Meath. Unfortunately, the course did not last long and the club moved to its present location in 1900. The original course was contained within 3 fields leased from M. Barr and the area of the present 7th fairway and green (click here to see Map)
In 1906 the club leased additional land and invited a Mr. McKenna of Carrickmines Golf Club to lay out a new course incorporating the new land and the existing 3 fields. At a committee meeting on January 5th, 1907 all the recommendations for the new layout were accepted. There was however, concern as to whether the quarry hole would be retained. The quarry hole (the present 7th) was played from a tee box approximately 30 yards left of the bell at the 6th green. The tee box was at the same level as the present clubhouse; the tee shot had to be played over the quarry which contained gorse bushes and trees. In front of the green were two streams and a lane (Tubber Lane).
Further designs to the course took place under Mr. Cecil Barcroft of Royal Dublin Golf Club in 1907. The tee for the 4th (the current 7th) was moved to its present location, and the green was elevated. These designs remained unchanged up to 1980.
(Picture:- Original members circa 1902)
Affiliation to the Irish Golfing Union At the A.G.M. held in January 1905 the members were informed that the Club had become affiliated to the Irish Golfing Union, and that the membership of the Club was 78 members.
Members looking forward At the April meeting, two proposals were put forward:
(1) That the Club should be extended to 18 holes; and
(2) that a new Clubhouse should be built.
This paved the way for very important negotiations with a number of parties involved.
At a Special General Meeting on 14th September 1905, Mr. Jas. Walsh (who was to become the first Captain of Hermitage Golf Club) proposed the requisition convening the meeting and the following motions were discussed. “That the time has arrived when the club should cease to be proprietary but should be vested in the members”. Agreed unanimously. A Special Committee was to be appointed to draw up a scheme to carry out the resolution. A fork in the road
Following these decisions the members investigated the possibility of purchasing land for a new course. Having negotiated an agreement with a local landowner, a further meeting was arranged with the members. However, at the same time the owner of the course (the Hotel owner Mr.Scallon) submitted new terms to the committee. There was a clear fork in the road for the members.
(Picture:- Evening Press, March 26, 1970)
The Lucan Golf Club’s Vice Captain Michael Gannon and former Captain Joe McDonald look on as the Captain Thomas Martin putts out on the first hole this morning. The Club’s lease expired at midnight.
The following are details of the scheme proposed by the Hotel proprietor as amended by the meeting.
The Club to lease the three fields from Mr. Barr for five years with a clause for surrender at the end of every year on six months notice at £120 per annum. The hotel Co. to expend on additional improvements, extensions of the Club House and retaining wall, totaling a sum not exceeding £100. The Committee to have a voice in this expenditure. The Hotel to lease the Club House and Stable for five years to the Club at one shilling a year. The Hotel to receive all payments from visitors. Mr. Scallon to pay during the continuance of lease the difference between Barr’s rent and £100.00.
When the transfer is arranged the Club to take over the links free from debt. The outstanding and any further subscription and entrance fees in the meantime to be handed to Mr. Scallon. This was adopted and those who supported the other option left to form the Hermitage Golf Club. One of the affects of this was that at future A.G.M.s the members elected a committee of ten members of which five were the nominations of the proprietor (this procedure ceased after 1930).
(Picture:- Our first Barton Cup winning team 1971)
L-R front: Joe McGloughlin; Barry Keely; Michael Gannon (Club Captain); Christy Fitzgerald; Eamon Tully. L-R back: Jim Downes; Tony Rogers; Joe Kelly; Rev. J.S.C. Strong; Seamus Malone; C. Burden; Paddy Culligan; Don O’Reilly; Dick Dynan (Hon. Sec).
The first Interclub Competition
Friday April the 19th, 1907. Lucan enters its first interclub competition – the Barton Cup – on 19th April 1907, their opponents appropriately being Hermitage Golf Club. Lucan Golf Club would have to wait until 1971 to win its first Barton Cup, with further successes in 1975 and 1988.
Long-running land saga
In 1960 the hotel and golf course were sold. At the time the hotel paid the rent for the 4th, 5th and 6th holes to the Department of Agriculture and in addition, the hotel allowed the club, free of rent, the use of the entire nine holes. However, in 1964/65 the hotel management advised the club with a notice to quit.
Negotiations followed and the club was left with the following ultimatum in order to obtain a further lease of five years:
(a) The rents paid by the hotel to the Dept. for the previous five years to be refunded over a twelve month period;
(b) Make our own arrangements with the Dept. for the leasing of their land;
(c) Pay the hotel £250 per annum plus rates and taxes for the lands comprising the remaining six holes;
(d) Grant the new owners grazing rights on the course.
The lease was signed on October 17th 1966 and the expiry date was 24th March 1970. The signing of this lease gave the club time to see what could be done about its future. About this time a body was set up by the Government to review the Landlord & Tenant Act of 1931. It became known as the Landlord and Tenant Commission and was chaired by Judge Conroy. It was hoped that when the findings of the commission became law, the future of the club would be ensured. With all this in mind the committee made preparations for how they would approach the whole matter of the club securing a new lease.
Two courses of action were taken:
To influence the findings of the government commission by approaching political representatives at all levels;
To see what could be done at county council level.
As the draft plan for Dublin County was being prepared at this time, a proposal that the nine holes be zoned as a golf course was submitted to the county council. The proposal was that no other type of development could take place on the course during the life time of the Development Plan. This proposal was passed and this was to prove very important in the club’s submission to members of the Dáil and to the commission.
In 1969, the club made a number of verbal approaches to the landlord to draft a new lease but to no avail. On the 18th June 1969 a formal application for the renewal of the lease was made. A reply was not received until 17th September stating that the lease would not be renewed. On the 20th November 1969 a Special Meeting of Members was called in the Four Courts Hotel and the position of the club was outlined to them. The members were advised that the main hope for the club’s future lay in the findings of the commission, whose report was going to be presented to the Government in the New Year. It was more than likely that the report would not become law until later in the year. As the club lease was going to expire on March 24th, 1970, it was imperative that the report went to the Government before then. When the findings became law, they would be retrospective to the date of presentation of the report.
The following is a report in the Irish Independent 4th March:
“Important changes in the leasehold renewal rights and the purchase rights of certain classes of tenant were passed at yesterday’s meeting of the Government, 3rd March 1970. The Minister for Justice Mr. O’Morain, was given the green light to draw up a Bill implementing the changes, and this Bill is expected to come before the Dáil in the next few months.
(Picture:- Club House 1996)
The changes are regarded as so important by the Government, however, that they decided to back date the Bill (no matter how long it takes to pass it) to yesterday. This means that any benefits extended in the new legislation will apply to anyone who was a tenant yesterday, even though his tenancy might have expired last night or today.
The Bill will deal with the question of extending leasehold renewal rights and the right to purchase the fee simple to new classes of tentants. The new classes would include, for instance, sporting bodies of various kinds.
As from yesterday, a sports organisation which holds land for recreational purposes, will have a statutory right to renew its tenancy, provided it has held the land under lease for at least 25 years, or has occupied the land for 25 out of the last 40 years, and provided it has spent 15 times the rent or minimum of £1,000 on the lands.”
March 24th came and went but the club’s future was assured. The recommendations of the Dáil Commission were passed in the Dáil in 1971 and became law and this assured the Club’s future. The securing of the new lease dragged on for a period of years.
In 1975 a further notice was served on the club to quit the lower part of the course. By now the club were prepared to go to court, and after exhausting every avenue open to them to come to an amicable arrangement, the club took the only other option left to them, and went to court. On the 24th of June 1979 the Court ruled in favour of Lucan Golf Club and granted the club a 99 year lease. This was the end of a saga that had commenced on October 17th, 1965.
An 18 hole golf course at last
As the 1980s approached, at the same time that the building of a new clubhouse was under consideration, the possibility of extending the course to 18 holes began to enter the minds of the members. Both these aspirations were originally considered in 1905.
By 1989 the club had an 18 hole golf course and their own Clubhouse. The first competition played in Lucan as an 18 holes golf course took place in November 1988. The winner of the first competition as an 18 hole golf course was Christy Fitzgerald, and the first winner of a gross prize as an 18 hole golf course was Micko Rankin. The course was opened officially in 1989.
In the 10 years from 1979 to 1989, the club had achieved what the members in 1905 had aspired to. They built and owned their clubhouse and constructed their own 18 hole golf course.
Lucan Golf Club celebrated its Centenary year in 1997. Over the many years of playing competitive golf the winning of a green pennant became an elusive object for the club, but, as faith would have it, the Junior Foursome’s team achieved that feat in Centenary year in the final held in the City of Derry Golf Club.
While the club has a varied history, it is interesting that it was the Junior golfers who achieved this honour and, tellingly, many home-grown players played an integral role in Lucan’s second green Pennant – the Junior Cup – in 2004.
The club continues to go from strength to strength and one can guarantee that there are many more chapters to write on the history of Lucan Golf Club.