Past Captains in Notable Years
Captain 125 Years Ago
H G MacGeagh was one of the founding fathers of the Club and was its first Captain. He was Captain in 1893, 1894, 1895 and again in 1899. Along with Major G W Greer they designed the original course in the Demesne when it first opened and then the course at Gracehall when they moved there in 1896.
Captain 100 Years Ago
Captain in 1918 was Sir J Johnston, one of the Johnston Family who have played a very prominent role throughout much of the Club’s history. He was Captain in 1918, 1919 and 1920. Records of golf at the time are sketchy and the war effort is likely to have dominated much of life at the time.
Captain 75 Years Ago
C W Neill was Captain in 1943 and indeed served as Captain from 1938 until 1945. This was for the duration of WW2 and again it is unclear how much golf was played during that time. He died in 1945, the last year of his extended spell as Captain, and the C W Neill Cup has been played for annually since. This year’s winner was Alex Denver.
Captain 50 Years Ago
In 1968 the Captain was Basil McCorry. It was in his year of Captaincy that the membership approved Council’s proposal to proceed with the acquisition of land to extend the course from 9 to 18 holes. His Captain’s Day was played in ‘exceptionally fine weather’ and the current forecast suggests this year will be the same. The winner on the day was Harold Cousins with a nett 66 off 17. Roy Girvan won the gross with a 71 and the other winners were J Marks, F D Aston, K P O’Loan and L R Magee.
Mr and Mrs Basil McCorry with some of the winners
Captain 25 Years Ago
The Centenary Captain of the Club in 1993 was Mr T B McKnight. He oversaw the celebrations of the Club’s 100th birthday bringing many notable guests to join in and he helped raise the profile of the Club throughout the country. The winner that day was Gerard Magee.
50 Years Ago 1968
Club Office Bearers
The Club President was T C Johnston, Captain Basil McCorry, Vice Captain Alec Hamilton, Treasurer Len Baker and Secretary Victor Carson.
Larry Magee was a busy man that year as he was Match and Handicap Secretary, Greens Convenor and Captain of the Belfast and District Team.
There were some new competitions introduced in 1968 and which are still played for today.
As the club was 75 years old in that year the Club bought a trophy to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee. The inaugural winner was Barry Black.
Captain Basil McCorry and Barry Black
McKeown Golfer of the year
T McKeown and Sons presented a trophy to be awarded to the winner of a new Golfer of the Year Competition. The winner was Bertie Dowey, Brian Herbert runner-up and Harold Cousins came third.
L to R: B McCorry, Mrs K McKeown, B Dowey, B Herbert, H Cousins
Warrenpoint Golf Club presented the Carlingford Cup for annual competition and it is still played for today. Although Lurgan were the top qualifiers at Lurgan they lost to Warrenpoint in the semi-final. Warrenpoint went on to win the inaugural trophy.
Club Cup and Club Fourball
The Club Cup finished in a contest between two local dentists with John Hassay defeating Tony Rodgers. (It would be tempting to say he ‘took him out by the roots’ but we don’t know if that was true.)
The Club Fourball also threw up an interesting final when D J Gregg Jnr, partnered by N Quail, faced his father H D Gregg, partnered by G Stewart. On this occasion the son came out on top. This was similar to a few years ago when Graham Douglas came up against his father Tom in the final of the same competition with youth again taking the honours.
100 Years Ago
By far the biggest news of the year came in November and the Lurgan Mail headlines on 16 Nov proclaimed in the boldest of large type:
Surrender of Germany
One can only imagine the relief that must have come with the ending of the war and of the anxious wait for those who might be returning home. Those who did come home returned to a very changed world where lots of aspects of society would never return to what they had once been.
Cost of living
An example of the cost of living came with a local advert which announced that a dentist would visit the town between 12 noon and 3pm on Saturday. Painless extractions cost 1 shilling (5p) and you could get a new set of teeth for £2.
Opening of Woodville Golf Club 23 November 1918
The opening of the new Woodville Golf Club was the biggest golfing news of the town that year. One can only speculate on how the new venture might have impacted upon relationships among golfers in the town. Before the Club was formed a proposal put to the members of Lurgan Golf Club, situated at Gracehall, suggested that the Club should move to a more convenient location nearer to the town. This proposal was defeated but some determined members decided to go their own way and create a new club.
The first Captain of Woodville Golf Club was Mr Thomas Faloon and he had been one of the founding fathers of Lurgan Golf Club just 15 years previously. In his remarks to the ‘large company’ in attendance on the opening day he said:
“We had hoped that it might have been possible to have had an amalgamation of local clubs interested in the ceremony but this had not been effected. There could not be any question with regard to the necessity of the new Club for the accommodation of the people of Lurgan. Most of them had played at Gracehall and no doubt the links there were excellent, but they were a busy people and many of them found that Gracehall was at such a distance from the town.”
The old first tee at Woodville Golf Club as it is today.
The First Captain and the Beginnings of the Club
The first golf course in Ireland was at the Curragh in Co Kildare and there are records of golf being played there in 1852. The Royal Curragh Golf Club was formed in 1858 and it is considered as being the oldest golf club in Ireland. By 1890 there were 12 golf clubs in the country but the next decade saw a period of very quick growth. The Golfing Union of Ireland was formed in 1891 and the Ladies’ Golfing Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893. Between 1890 and 1899 a further 60 clubs were formed and Lurgan became one of those clubs in 1893.
1893 Formation of Lurgan Golf Club and the First Captain
The following men met on 8 September, 1893, and formed Lurgan Golf Club.
J H Vint, T G Menary, H G MacGeagh,
W T Kilpatrick C Johnston N G Leeper
F Megarry H Lee T Faloon
Mr H G MacGeagh was elected Captain and Mr J Malcolm became President. Mr McGeagh acted as Captain in 1893, ’94, ’95 and again in ’89. Messrs Menary, Johnston, Leeper and Faloon acted as Captain in later years. The names of some of these men and their families live on through some of the major trophies for which we now compete. The first course was 9 holes and laid out by the Captain, H G MacGeagh, in roughly the same place the course exists today. Mr MacGeagh’s daughter Crystal became one of the premier lady golfers in Ireland and won the Irish Ladies’ Championship Cup in 1939. She bequeathed the trophy to the Club and it is competed for by the Ladies each year.
Mr H G McGeagh – the first Captain of Lurgan Golf Club
Miss Crystal MacGeagh
1896 The move to Gracehall
The land upon which the Golf Club lay was in the Brownlow Demesne and when the Brownlow family unexpectedly sold the Demesne in 1894 the position of the Club became precarious. Eventually the Club was informed by Lurgan Real Property Company in 1898 that ‘the links on the Demesne grounds are no longer available’. A search for an alternative site was begun and the Club moved to Gracehall. Gracehall is now a popular wedding venue situated on the Cottage Rd.
These fields at Gracehall are still referred to as The Golf Links
While it must have been a relief to have found suitable land for the course, there were difficulties which arose shortly afterwards. The course was a little further out of the town which may have presented difficulties for some of the members. The agricultural requirements of the landlord appear to have conflicted with those of golfers which meant that certain holes had to be closed periodically. The Club may have wished to build a clubhouse but were reluctant to do so in case their tenancy was ended unexpectedly.
1918 Woodville Golf Club
Some members supported the idea of relocating to a site on the Lough Rd in the area known as Woodville, where the Lord Lurgan Memorial Park is today. A meeting was convened to consider such a move and although the proposal was defeated in a vote, those members in favour of the move proceeded to make the necessary arrangements. Accordingly, the new Woodville Golf Club was officially opened in November, 1918. Lord Lurgan became its first Patron.
Woodville Golf Club clubhouse in 1923
It is interesting to read the names of the first officers of the Woodville Club as some of their names live on through our current trophies. The first Captain of Woodville was Mr Thomas Faloon who was one of the founding fathers of Lurgan Golf Club and had in fact been Captain there in 1897. The first secretary was C W Neill and the Club Council included the names of people whose descendants became closely associated with the subsequent history of Lurgan Golf Club. These included; W J Allen, H L Bell, M Deeny, J Jordan.
1923 The Move from Gracehall
- Lurgan Golf Club remained at Gracehall until 1923 when the end of the tenancy was successfully negotiated and land in the Brownlow Demesne became available once more. This land was roughly in the same place the Club had previously occupied and where we remain until this day.