2020 might have been a year to forget but there were some positives for golf clubs. Memberships showed big gains which is a massive momentum shift for Irish golf but, behind the scenes, golf clubs also continued to invest in their courses, clubhouses and facilities. We’re talking a lot of money here, and while much of it would already have been committed (pre-Covid) it still shows confidence across the board that so many projects continued during the year.
I wrote an 8-page article for Irish Golfer outlining many of the investment projects that have taken place –Click Here– but there are others that I didn’t include simply because I hadn’t heard about them (or they were too small). One was the new website for Cairndhu while one that most definitely should have been included is Grange Golf Club, where Paul McGinley Golf Course Design has been carrying out a considerable amount of work. Grange is dear to my heart as I played it many, many times during my teenage years. Once, in the Leinster Schoolboys (a fourball matchplay format where you play to the 18th regardless of the win/loss), we came up against Coláiste Éanna. My partner and I won the first hole but after that it was one-way traffic as one of the opposition pair dismantled us hole after hole. We were 8 down walking off 18 and we like to believe that the individual concerned was Paul McGinley… it helps us sleep better at night.
Despite such a hammering I retain very fond memories of the course and the club, so here’s an update from Paul McGinley Golf Course Design on what’s been going on:
Grange Golf Club engaged the company to create a masterplan to update its enduring James Braid course to make it fit for decades to come. This masterplan is the second phase of a programme of development which has seen the club invest €570,000 in the past five years in its Love, Sheahan and Academy Courses, as well as its new integrated short game complex. There are 24 holes here with the holes forming different routings.
The objective of the masterplan from Paul McGinley’s standpoint is to enhance and improve the facilities at Grange Golf Club. A particular focus is being placed on the new lands with the aim of better blending these holes architecturally with the current Love course… and especially the two holes which are part of the Sheahan routing. The works will include improving the movement of members and guests around the current site, while adhering to health and safety procedures. Paul is going to work to ensure the enjoyment and playability for all levels and standards of play. Key will be protecting, enhancing, and future proofing the Grange’s DNA… as a beautifully tree-lined, parkland course.
Some of the options under consideration in this second phase include:
- reviewing tee box locations in order to offer a better mix of challenges for the full range of handicaps;
- providing alternate layouts to the Academy Course to increase golfing options for members;
- making further additions to the practice facilities including a warm-up area;
- bringing the bunkering back to a traditional style, with modern construction to reward strategic golfers and improve year-round playability.
Investment to date, much of which has been designed and overseen by Paul McGinley and his project coordinator, Joe Bedford, has included the creation of a championship-sized integrated putting and short game practice complex; the redevelopment of the 1st hole and green; completion of a project to bring all putting greens to USGA standards; bunker improvements; and new course signage and other developments.The construction works have been completed by DAR Golf.
* One for the Money was a 2013 hit for Escape the Fate.