Work began on construction of the course on what was marshland in 1985 at a cost of 50.000 pounds and much negotiations. The course opened for business on the 8th of August 1986. Founding officers were Noel O’ Driscoll R.I.P., Moira Curtin, Denis O’ Connell, Tom McCarthy, Daisy Swayne R.I.P. and Angela Pomphrett. The very first competition played at Claycastle was the Aherne shield where 340 cards were played and Michael Shiels Jr. was the eventual winner.
Course construction 1985
The late Noel o' Driscoll with Joy Bryan and Ml. Hennessy
The course quickly became one of the most popular amenities in Youghal as locals flocked to play on what was rapidly developing into a top class course. With the country gripped in the midst of a recession pitch and putt grew quickly in east Cork as it was and still is a cheaper alternative to golf. Although the club was proving to be extremely popular with the locals the financial situation in the early days could only be described as dire. Great credit must be given to the officers and members who fought tooth and nail to keep the club afloat in those fledgling days. One man in particular refused to give up and it is because of the late Noel O’ Driscoll that we all have the privilege to play pitch and putt in Claycastle to this day. Noel was tragically taken from us in his prime in 1999 but his memory lives on and you can rarely play a round in Claycastle without Noel’s name coming up in conversation.
The course matured year by year and in March 2003 Claycastle hosted its first scratch cup. To the delight of a nervous committee 137 cards were played on the day. Chris Scannell from the Collins club in Cork City came out on top on a score of 17 under par. In his winners speech Chris predicted a bright future for the club and forecast that one day Claycastle could host a national event. Each season our scratch cup has proven to be enormously popular and has produced winners of the calibre of John Walsh and Ray Murphy not to mention local stars Anthony O’ Loughlin, Martin Keohane and Michael Landers. The steady progression continued when Claycastle hosted the Cork Senior Strokeplay in 2006. A gale of wind greeted the players on the day where Ray Murphy (Templebreedy) and John Walsh (Collins) topped the standings on 6 under par. After a nine hole playoff Walsh emerged victorious.
Niall Reynolds NEC, John Walsh and Ray Murphy
As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations in 2011 Claycastle successfully applied to host the Gents Munster Matchplay. Much toil was put in by the committee and members to get the course into fantastic shape for the last weekend in May. After 2 days of fierce competition John Walsh once again showed his class around Claycastle by beating Ray Murphy in the senior final. Our own Stephen Sheehan won the intermediate event while Declan O’ Connell form Tralee won the Junior title.
Stephen Sheehan with Chairman Martin Keohane
Declan O' Connell with Chairman Martin Keohane
Anthony O' Loughlin with the All Ireland Strokeplay Cup
2011 was proving to be a great year for the club but the best was yet to come. The 24th of July 2011 is a date that will never be forgotten in our club as Anthony O’ Loughlin came from 3 shots behind to win the National Strokeplay in Douglas. Shooting 42 in the playoff Anthony stormed through the field to finish on 25 under par winning by 3 shots to become the first Claycastle player to win an All Ireland. The next day Anthony got the call up to the Cork team for the upcoming Inter-counties where he would join club colleague Paudie O’Sullivan on the 6 man team. The lads went on to play staring rolls as Cork claimed the Munster title and a record 9 in-a-row National title.
Paudie O' Sullivan and Anthony O' Loughlin with the Anchor cup
To cap off a tremendous year for the club we won the right to host the National Matchplay Championships 2012. This was the greatest honour the club could ever wish to receive.
Yours in Pitch and Putt,