Cork Golf: Eddie Hackett's Mahon legacy recognised by the club

Tom McCarthy from McCarthy Developments gifted a portrait to the club after he had received it from the Hackett family
Cork Golf: Eddie Hackett's Mahon legacy recognised by the club

Tom McCarthy presenting a portrait of Eddie Hackett to Mahon Captain Denis Kavanagh. Also included are Paul Daly, President and Mary Stapleton, Lady Captain. Picture: Niall O'Shea

MAHON Golf Club recently honoured course architect Eddie Hackett when they unveiled a portrait of the famous designer in the clubhouse. 

Tom McCarthy from McCarthy Developments gifted the portrait to the club after he had received it from the Hackett family. 

Mahon Captain Denis Kavanagh was delighted to accept the portrait on behalf of the club and the club is heading towards their 40th anniversary in 2022. 

The portrait is now hanging in the Joe McHugh room in the pavilion at the course. 

The Joe McHugh room itself is another element linking the club to it’s founding back in 1980.

Mahon Golf Club was the first municipal golf course in Ireland when it was constructed in 1980 and it was built for £35,000, close to €200,000 when valued today. 

It was the brainchild of the City Manager Joe McHugh and took two years to build. 

The course was built on partly reclaimed land where the Tramore River reaches the Loughmahon estuary. 

International golfers Tom Egan, George Crosbie, Michael Power and Bill Kelleher played the first round on the 5th of September in 1980 and that started a wonderful era for golf in Mahon. 

With green fees set at £2, equivalent to around €12 today. The original nine hole course was just over 3,100m in length and was big hit from the start. 

Two years later Mahon Golf Club was founded and affiliations to the GUI and ILGU helped the club to build and grow.

And 40 years later after two course extensions, golf is still thriving on the course and in the club. 

Club Captain Denis Kavanagh has been a member of the club since 2004 and despite the lockdowns, restrictions and challenges associated with Covid, he says the club have had a very successful year. 

“2021 was a difficult year for golf, similar to many other sports due to the Covid pandemic. Courses were closed until May and many restrictions were imposed for the safety of members,” explained Denis. 

“This included limited access to clubhouse facilities, restricted access to the course and adherence to strict guidelines. 

Tom McCarthycatching up with Fr Tommy Wade at Mahaon Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Tom McCarthycatching up with Fr Tommy Wade at Mahaon Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

"That said, the Club had a great summer competing in Golf Ireland inter club competitions at every level, as well as a full programme of Club Competitions including our Captain’s and President’s Prize days and our Annual Scratch Cups. 

"Demand for membership has never been greater and is currently full.” 

Kavanagh also cites the team approach in Mahon which led to the success in running a full programme in 2021. 

“We have a great team on Committee who work tirelessly on behalf of the membership and so made my job a lot easier. 

"All in all, I had a very enjoyable year, despite the fact it only got going in May.”

Mahon Golf Club has an exciting 12 months ahead as the club celebrates an important milestone as the Captain added. 

“Next year we celebrate our 40th anniversary as a Club. We hope to continue our focus on introducing the game of golf to the youth in our community and developing their game, as was intended when the Course and Club were first opened. 

"The Club and City Council will continue working together to provide facilities of the highest standard for both members and green fee players.”

While Joe McHugh pioneered the project from City Hall, he also relied on Pat Foley to help drive the project forward. 

Foley was a GUI past president and well networked at all levels in golf. He wife was a niece of John A Mulcahy who had renovated Waterville and it was through that link that Foley was able to approach Eddie Hackett who was involved in the Waterville Project. 

Hackett was responsible close to 40 course designs in Ireland and his original layout for Mahon is still visible in several parts of the course.

Tom McCarthy who donated the Hackett portrait was also a key factor of the success of Mahon golf course in the early years. 

McCarthy ran Clover Hill House, a popular bar that became the base for individuals and club members who played golf in Mahon. 

McCarthy has had an active involvement in the Mahon peninsula over the past 40 years. 

He owned and operated Blackrock Castle when it was a popular bar and function venue, and in the last two decades, he was been involved in developing Jacobs Island. 

Clover Hill House would eventually become the Blackrock Inn, and in the early years, it was the social base for the club. 

DEVELOPED

It wasn’t until 2004 that Cork City Council build the club pavilion and changing rooms, and although the new club rooms and facilities have been a great addition, the Blackrock in as it’s now known still plays an important role in the social side of the club and the golf course. 

McCarthy, along with McHugh and Foley were instrumental in getting Eddie Hackett on board for the ambitious project, and the trio were also key stakeholders in the early years after the course opened. 

While Mahon opened in 1981 as a nine-hole course, Hackett’s original design was for an 18 hole course, and over the course of the following six years, that plan was realised. 

In later years the Council provided further land which allowed a redesign to extend the course. 

Two new holes were constructed on the eastern side of the N40 ring road, and these are accessed through an underpass under one of Cork’s busiest roads.

Mahon Golf Club has an exciting 12 months ahead as the club celebrates an important milestone as the Captain added. 

“Next year we celebrate our 40th anniversary as a Club. We hope to continue our focus on introducing the game of golf to the youth in our community and developing their game, as was intended when the Course and Club were first opened. 

"The Club and City Council will continue working together to provide facilities of the highest standard for both members and green fee players.”

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