We begin our build-up to this weekend's Ladies & Gents Inter-County Championships with a brief history of this weekend's hosts, Douglas.
Douglas was formed by a dedicated group of Pitch & Putt enthusiasts in the mid-1950s and has proved to be consistently one of the most successful clubs in the country. Little did the small group that started with a rented nine hole course about 60 years ago imagine that Douglas would today boast one of the finest courses and clubhouses in Ireland.
The course expanded over the years from nine to eighteen holes by the club renting more land. Unfortunately, two sections of the original course were lost to housing development in 1977. A momentous decision was taken to purchase 2.5 acres of land for £14,000. AIB provided a loan of £10,000 and £4,000 was raised through interest free loans from members. As a result of this extensive fundraising, the debt was quickly cleared.
In 1996, the club bought out its final lease and became the proud owner of 4.5 acres on which the present day course and pavilion stands. Shortly afterwards, Douglas decided to construct a new clubhouse and again AIB Douglas were willing to provide the necessary finance, albeit considerably more than the 1977 borrowings! Once again as a result of this whole-hearted fundraising and a grant from the National Lottery enabled the clubhouse dream to become a reality.
Extensive drainage and an automatic watering system were the next enhancements and in 2008, new railings, an electronic gate and CCTV were a necessary security initiative. Douglas produced some outstanding administrators over the years, none more famous than the late Chris Twohig, who served as PPUI President in 1975 and 1976. That proud tradition is carried on today by PPUI Vice President Padraig O’Shea, who has been a Douglas stalwart for nearly half a century.
Many outstanding players have represented Douglas through the decades. Norma O’Brien was a three time Irish Ladies Champion at the dawn of the 1990s, a decade that also saw her father Liam win a National Matchplay and a National Strokeplay title. Liam (non-playing captain with the Cork Senior Gents team this year) is still regularly on the winners’ podium in Douglas with the club earning a reputation as being a nursery for outstanding players, a social haven and a nurturer of administrative acumen.
The course has regularly been chosen as a host venue for National Championships and events more on which we will look into in tomorrow’s piece on the website.
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