Rocklodge Pitch & Putt Club.
Club founded in 1946.
The Rocklodge course is rated one of the leading championship courses in the country. It has hosted many All-Ireland championships and major competitions since it was formed in 1946.
The first time that Rocklodge Pitch & Putt Club, Coolatana Valley, Carrigrohane, appeared in legal documents was in 1950,when C.J.Lane rented, for 14 years, to our founder members, the land which is now our course. The second time the name appeared is when Benjamin Alan Haughton sold the 5.5 acres to the Club for £2,500 in 1972. These transactions belies the enormmous amount of work put in by club members in the previous twenty six years.
The Club is situated on a scenic hillside at the edge of a wood, looking across a steep valley, facing North. When one looks to-day at the layout of the greens, fairways, bunkers and tee box positions, one can quickly see that a lot of thought and planning went into the design of the course.
In 1946, the founding members acquired the use of the lower course and layed out a 9 hole Pitch and Putt course, of which only one green remains today - that is the championship 11th, which was played from the nearby 14th tee box of todays course. The amount of work in shaping a steep and rocky field into what it appears today was collosal and the present members will always be indebted to them for this work.
Under the guidance of the founder members and many committees, negotiations were held to purchase the course and build a new club house, at a cost of £20,000. This feat of fundraising by hard working committees was achieved by 1977.
Over the years, the club members who helped to shape the club as it is today, deserve all the praise one can muster, and so too do the members who brought acclaim to the club in outside competition.
Many of the founders and early club layers who deserve great praise for their unbelievable hard work and great vision include - Michael O'Grady, Sean O'Grady, Christy O'Grady, Joe Moxely, Michael Crowley, Dan J. O'Halloran, Paddy O'Halloran, Michaael Dilworth, Joe Buckley, Michael Heelan, Jerry O'Leary, Jim Leonard, Ted Rearden, Tom Bogue, Jim Condron, Michael O'Mahoney, Michael O'Mahoney Jnr., John O'Riordan Snr., Willie Flavin, John Dempsey, Willie O'Brien, Jackie O'Leary, Andy Barry, Bobby Sullivan, John Green, T.J. O'Riordan, John O'Riordan, Paddy Murphy, Jim Walsh, Miah Murray, Michael O'Riordan, Duckie O'Halloran, Jo Dilworth, Lilly Dilworth, Kathleen Dilworth, Joan Dilworth, Hannah Dilworth, Peggy Dilworth, Kitty Linehan(Hallissey), May Crowley(Buckley), Eileen Murphy, Kitty Bradley and Betty Barry.
A major driving force during those tough early times and right up to the present time must be the O'Riordan family, from Johnny O'Riordan up to the present legendary T.J. O'Riordan.
That family, especially, among the the many other individuals, will always be linked to the great success that is Rocklodge, a clubhouse and superb course, owned completely by the club.
Chairman: Michael Mannix.
Vice Chairman: Joe Murphy.
Secretary: John Byron.
Treasurer: Tom McCarthy.
Competition Secretary/Registrar: Alan Walsh.
Club Captain: Michael Murphy.
P.R.O.: Martin O' Sullivan.
Juvenile Officer: Mark Keohane.
Committee Members: Eileen O'Riordan Murphy,
A brief history of the Course and National Champions.
The club hosted many All-Ireland championships and major competitions since it was formed in 1946. In total the club has hosted twenty-four National Championship finals (more than any other club), which breaks down as six National Matchplays as well as the Ladies Championships in 1966 and ’70 as the Ladies and Gents were held on separate courses up until 1994, seven Gents Strokeplay, three Ladies Strokeplay, three Inter-County’s, mixed foursomes twice and the original inter–club, once. The club has also hosted Provincial and County Championships.
The club has had numerous Champions at all levels with club members winning National titles on no less than twenty-seven occasions, as well as being part of winning Cork teams in the inter-county championship. The honour of being the first Rocklodge national champion fell to Joan Dilworth who won the Ladies matchplay in 1951.In 1952 Lily Dilworth beat Hannah Dilworth in an all Rocklodge final to keep the Elvery Cup in the club. In 1955 Hannah Dilworth won the first of her three national titles and to complete a good period for the club Hannah won again in 1957.Alas we are still waiting a fifth title.
The men were not too far behind in the Gents matchplay with Michael Crowley winning in 1952, Michael went on to add another win in 1963. T.J.O’Riordan won the first of his three titles in 1956 and was champion again in ’64 and ’65 when he became the first man to retain the title since the PPUI was restructured in 1961. He also reached the final in 1962. Ted Reardon won his first title in 1957 and won again in 1960 in what was a golden era for the club. We had to wait until 1976 for the next win when Michael Forrest beat Joe (Junior) Buckley in an all Rocklodge final. Michael also won the National Strokeplay the same year to be the first Gent to complete the double in the same year. Another dry spell followed as it was not until 2012, when Kevin McCarthy had a great win in Claycastle that the next title came, hopefully it won’t be as long a wait again until the next time the Day Cup arrives in Rocklodge.
Michael Forrest also had the distinction of winning five inter-county titles with Cork at a time when Cork had only seven wins in total. In fact, there were three Rocklodge players, T.J. his brother Michael and Michael Crowley along with Mattie McDonnell (Highfield) on the first Cork team to win the Inter-County title in 1964 at Collins. Cork had to wait ten years for their next title and this time both T.J and Michael Forrest were part of the team and also had the added pleasure of winning on their own course. Three times the Inter-county championships were played in Rocklodge 1974,’84 and 2001 and each time the Cork Gents were victorious, the Ladies were also successful in 1984 with Mary Hayes part of the team as Cork won the double for the first time.
Again the Ladies beat the men to the first National Strokeplay title with Hannah Dilworth winning the senior title in 1961 to go with her two matchplay titles.Eileen Dilworth won the only other Ladies title in 1967 to add to her earlier Intermediate title. Like the Ladies the Gents have two senior titles with Michael O’Riordan winning in 1964 and Michael Forrest in ’76. The Ladies intermediate grade is without doubt the most successful with no fewer than six winners with Eileen Dilworth 1963, Mary O’Riordan ’64, May Buckley ’65,Angela Roche ’71, (Angela along with Denis Kiely finished runners up in the National Mixed Foursomes the same year), Chris Cunneen ’76 and Phil Murphy in ’84. Michael Dilworth won the only Gents Intermediate title with his win coming in 1964. Two titles were won in the Junior grade with Denis Byrne winning the Gents in 1962 and Mary Riordan winning the Ladies in ‘64.
1964 would have to go down as the most successful year in the club’s history, with five National titles coming to Rocklodge, with members winning the Gents National Matchplay, Gents National Senior and Intermediate Strokeplay titles, Ladies National Intermediate and Junior Strokeplay titles and also having three players on the first Cork team to win the Gents Inter-County Championship. The O’Riordan trio of brothers and sister of T.J., Michael and Mary each winning National titles in the same year must be some sort of record.
Even though the period between 1976 and 2012 was barren at adult level Valerie Leahy kept the flag flying at National level winning the Girls National Juvenile title in 2002.In 2001 Valerie won the Cork and Munster Strokeplay titles and just missed out on the clean sweep when she finished runner up in the National Strokeplay. She also added the Munster Matchplay to her collection. Valerie has Pitch and Putt DNA as her grandparents were the already mentioned Michael and Eileen Dilworth.
On to the present and Kevin McCarthy’s win in the National Matchplay in 2012 seems to have kick started a revival in the club. That very same year Des Quinn put in a brilliant performance to win the Munster Intermediate Strokeplay title, going around with not one bogey on his card. Kevin McCarthy was on the Cork team that won the Munster Senior inter-county championship with Mary Murray being on the winning Ladies team in the same competition. In 2013, Mary Murray won the Cork Ladies Matchplay and also captained the Cork team to victory in the Munster Senior inter-county. Also in ’13 Tony O’Driscoll won the Cork County Junior Matchplay beating club mate Daniel Hurley in the final. This year Mary won the Munster Ladies Strokeplay Championship, Martin O’Sullivan was on the Cork Junior team that won the inaugural Munster Junior Inter-County and to cap off the year Maurice Carey won the Cork County Senior Matchplay to become the first Senior Matchplay winner from Rocklodge since Bart Millard in 1982.James McKeon was runner-up in the Intermediate grade.