My Club Crest

HERMITAGE GOLF CLUB

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  • Early Members
    Willie G. Fallon S.C., an Honorary Life Member (1912), was a great character to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for the use of material from his book “Hermitage Golf Country and District of Lucan”. Willie, a Dubliner,was educated at Belvedere College. He played rugby for Bective Rangers. He was elected President of the I.R.F.U. in 1950. Other names which stand out in the list of prominent personalities are: 

    Jack Nugent, one of the famous names in the hotel and restaurant business and popular host at the Dolphin Hotel where the A.G.M.’s of the Hermitage Golf Club were held for many years; 

    P.W. Tunney, of the stockbroking firm;
    G. (Cocker) Tyson, owner of the popular Stag’s Head, and connected by family also with the Grafton Street outfitting shop,
    which had a vast racing and hunting clientele.

    Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860-1949).
    First President of Ireland. Born in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, the son of the Rector of Tibohine, he was educated at Trinity College Dublin. Awarded a Doctorate of Laws in 1888, he had spent a year at the University of New Brunswick. A great scholar, linguist and cultural leader, he founded the Gaelic League in 1893 with Eoin McNeill. Appointed Professor of Modern Irish at U.C.D. (1909-’32), he was a senator 1925-’26. Became President of Ireland 1938. Was a patron of the GAA but was expelled from that organisation for attending an international soccer match at Dalymount
    Park. More a social member of Hermitage than an ardent golfer, he enjoyed the company of other
    academics who were members of the club at the time.

    Emmet Dalton (1898-1978)
    Born in America, he joined the British Army after he left school in Dublin in 1915. Rose to the rank of major and won the Military Cross before returning to Ireland in 1919 where he joined the IRA, and became adviser to Michael Collins. Was with Collins at Béal na mBláth in 1922. Later became Clerk of Seanad Éireann but resigned and made a career in films. Founded Ardmore Studios and made films in Hollywood and London. A great sportsman, he played soccer for Bohemians and was on the Junior Cup winning team in Hermitage in 1924. He reached the last eight of the Irish Close 1924 and won the Club Singles in 1938. He was Hon. Sec. of the club in
    1939.

    Tim Healy (1855-1931)
    Born in Fermoy, Co. Cork. Early education in Fermoy C.B.S. Left school at 13 and worked as a railway clerk in Newcastle, England. Moved to London in 1878 and became parliamentary
    correspondent for The Nation. Summoned to Canada by Parnell to organise his mission there and then became active in agrarian agitation in Ireland. M.P. for Wexford in 1880 and was responsible for the “Healy” Clause which protected tenants from rent increases for improvements.M.P. for Monaghan in 1883 and Londonderry in 1885. Opposed Parnell over the O’Shea divorce case. Expelled from the party in 1902. Represented North Louth 1891-1910 and North East Cork after that. He became a K.C. in 1910. After 1916, he sympathised with the ideals of Sinn Féin excluding
    the element of force. After the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1922) he was appointed Governor General of the Irish Free State. In such a busy life there cannot have been much time
    for golf, but with his command of language and trenchant wit, for which he was renowned, we are sure that Tim Healy was welcome in any conversation in the clubhouse. He took retirement in 1928 and died in Chapelizod, Dublin in 1931.
    A Convenient Arrangement

    By December 31st, 1906, the membership of the club was 143 members and 75 lady associates.The Hermitage club continued to attract a wide range of members and the clubhouse, situated on the raised site at the present seventh tee, began to feel the strain. Transport to the club from the city was provided by the Lucan Electric Tramways, which passed close to the club. At night the tram driver rang the bell to indicate to the members, as it headed to a brief stop in Lucan, that the last tram would be returning in about ten minutes for the journey back to the city. It meant a major scramble for the members.

    Drinks had to be quickly consumed, and golf clubs and wearing apparel had to be collected before the arrival of the tram. The tram drivers were not forgotten by the members however. At Christmas, those who were regular drivers, were given bottles of whiskey. (There were times when the service to the city was delayed a little longer as members polished off their last drinks.) It must be remembered that golf between the formation of the club and the first world war (1914) was strictly a middle class game and the social needs of a clubhouse were considerably less than would be expected 50 years later. But the club itself and the marvellous course continued to attract a wide range of members.

    Some names of the time to conjure with were Sir C. and Lady Nixon, Lady Goulding, Lord Moyne, Justice Reddin, Hon. B. Plunkett, Sir G.A. Abercrombie, Hon. D.A. Forbes, Earl of Pembroke, Hon. Mrs. B. Dewhurst and Lord Milton.

    Golf and the Golf Course – the old and the new

    Over the years the course was subjected to some changes and alterations. Before the advent of par, the bogey was 76, and this is how our late great caddymaster, John Behan saw the layout then. “You must remember” he said “that with the equipment of the day the course presented many hazards which are not apparent today. There were some blind holes, internal out of bounds and strategically placed greens, and a number of holes that played very long in adverse conditions.” And he added. “The old gutty ball did not travel as far, and the hickory shafted clubs did not unleash the same power as present day equipment.” Paddy Gunning, the club professional agreed with John.

    The Front 9

    The present 7th hole was the 1st in those far off days, and the 8th was the second, a five bogey then, and many golfers of the time, played short of the cross bunkers placed strategically across the front of the green, to catch the wayward second shot. Our 9th was the 3rd and it was quite a bit shorter than it is now. The old 4th no longer exists, it was a short hole diagonally in front of the new clubhouse. The present 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were the 5th, 6th and 7th. Our present 5th was the 8th and the 6th was the 9th.

    The Back 9

    It was only a short walk from the 9th green over to the clubhouse. The back nine started with the present 17th which was then the 10th and our 18th was the 11th. The old 12th no longer exists, but it must have been a very interesting hole. The tee was near where the old farm yard is, and one played downhill towards the river. The green was in the vicinity of the back of the present 14th tee, but not visible from the tee.

    Our present summer and winter 10th holes did not exist then. The 13th went parallel to the present 13th but it was longer and in the opposite direction. The tee was behind the trees at the top of the hill of our present 12th and the green was down in the corner where the present 11th tee is now. The present 11th was the 14th and it held all the same terrors for golfers then- just as the presence of the river Liffey does to this day. The 15th played up the hill of the present 12th across to where the present 13th is now. From here home the layout was much the same as today. The present 14th was the 16th, a five bogey; the long 17th (the present 15th); and the final hole, the 18th, was the present 16th. Undoubtedly three great finishing holes.

    The length was 6,100 yards with the bogey at 76 as previously mentioned. This may have sounded over-generous, but do remember that clubs were wooden shafted with matching sets probably a luxury, and the bogeys were fixed according to the character of the hole rather than the actual yardage. Somehow the present system of measuring the difficulty of holes in metres/yards only did scant justice to courses designed by James McKenna, who created the Hermitage layout.