Abbeyleix Golf Club has a rich and vibrant history spanning more than 128 years, making it one of the first 60 clubs founded in Ireland. Explore our history throughout the last century before coming to play a round.

Abbeyleix Golf Club was established in 1895 by a small group of residents from Abbeyleix and its surroundings.

Viscount de Vesci was installed as the club’s permanent President and the local rector, Rev A. E. Bor, was the secretary and driving force of the club for the first 20 years. It is believed that golf was initially played in an area known as “The Island” but when the club was affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1905, it had moved to a self-made course in the Ballymullen area. During this time, the club had two trophies.

The Ballymullen Cup and the de Vesci Cup, both men and women were full members and played in all competitions. In those early years the club moved several times owing to a number of factors. In 1921 the course was moved to Heywood to play on Colonel Hugo Poe’s 9 hole golf course. In 1925 captain Colonel Marsden introduced the captains prize, the prize was nine golf balls.

1920’s to 1930’s

By 1927 membership of the club had grown to 40 and the distance to travel to play golf in Heywood was wearing on the members. That year the club moved to Rathmoyle. Mr. Robert Wilde of Rathmoyle House gave the use of the front lawn of his house. In 1929 the first recorded interclub competition took place between Abbeyleix and Portarlington Golf Clubs.

The 1930’s saw the formation of the Ladies section of Abbeyleix Golf Club and the joining of the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU). In 1932 another move took place and the club was back in Ballymullen. A full 9 hole course was established and an inter club match was organised to mark the opening of the new course. The 1930’s though brought the great depression, this caused membership numbers to dwindle and the closure of the club, by 1937 the course was officially closed with hopes of re-opening being further hampered by WWII and more than ten years would pass before Abbeyleix Golf Club was re-opened.

Settled in Rathmoyle

In 1948 Abbeyleix Golf Club was re-established in Rathmoyle, committee’s and officers were elected and an aluminium clubhouse was erected on the site of the present day club house. Before the end of the decade the clubhouse secured a liquor license and a bar was installed. The Membership of the club had grown to 40 members by 1951. This period saw the formation of the South Leinster inter-club competition with Abbeyleix, Carlow and Mounthrath Golf Clubs as founding members. The competition is for players 18 handicap’s plus and Abbeyleix has entered the competition almost every year since.

Golfer of the year

As Abbeyleix Golf Club was becoming more popular and the membership was growing the 70’s saw the introduction of a Golfer of the Year award, the installation of a green watering system to maintain the high standards of the course. Open Week was launched in conjunction with the Abbeyleix Festival and increased the popularity of the town and Golf Club even more. During 1976 Golf was proving popular with the younger residents of the town and the Juvenile and Junior section was established in the Club. By the end of the decade new facilities were needed and the old aluminium clubhouse was demolished and a new clubhouse with changing rooms and Club office was constructed. Of particular note at this time it was decided to remove from the Club constitution the rule restricting Ladies to Associate membership. Now Ladies could become full members, Abbeyleix Golf Club was one of the first clubs in the country to eliminate such discrimination.

The 1990’s brought a pivotal year for Abbeyleix Golf Club, 1995 marked the Club’s centenary, 100 years of an incredible and varied history. The celebrations brought increased interest in the Golf Club and plans for expanding the course from a 9 hole to 18 holes began in earnest.

After many tours for course designers and plans were submitted a plan was chosen in 1998. Well known course designer Mel Flanagan’s design was deemed to take full advantage of the land available and capitalise on the incredible views experienced while playing the course. After many months of work the new course was opened in September 2000 by the President of the Golf Union of Ireland Mr. Patrick Murphy.

Abbeyleix Golf Club continues to this day striving to be one of the best golf courses in the country and upholding the great traditions and history that has enabled this community led club to survive and thrive. Countless hours of effort are put into the club by volunteers to manage our course, run competitions, ensure a warm and inviting atmosphere to take in the surroundings during a wonderful game of golf.

Meet our club officers

Matt Thornton

Captain

Una Whelan

Lady Captain

James Joyce

President

Evelyn Casserly

Lady President

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