Red Letter Day at Rossmore

6 May 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By KEVIN CARNEY

In mediterrean-like conditions, Rossmore Golf Club made for a picture perfect setting at around 11am last Saturday morning. Indeed, Monaghan town’s place of golfing excellence could have been transcribed from a Failte Ireland brochure such was the lustre and sheen it exhibited.
On a red letter day for the club, the homme du jour was Mr. Sean Clerkin – at 93 years young – the oldest current member of Rossmore.
The Armagh road resident was, like the course itself, in tip-top shape.
He performed the official opening of the club’s new refurbished holes with all the authority and gravitas of a man posing as the seasoned, veteran golfer that he himself is.
After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Sean upped and hit a textbook drive from the second tee, i.e. the first of the new holes.
The ribbon-cutting and textbook drive got the hour-long, official opening off to a swinging start.
As our pictures elsewhere on this page portray, Rossmore was en fete last Saturday as the great and good of the golfing fraternity in Monaghan and beyond came together for the official opening of the new holes.
Since the foundation of the Cootehill-road based place of sporting excellence in 1916, Rossmore has evolved into a golfer’s idyll and last weekend saw the witnessing of another landmark step forward for the club and its members.
“Everything went like clockwork”, reflected Rossmore Golf Club Secretary Steve Morrissey.
“The weather was great, Sean (Clerkin) was a very welcome and able guest of honour and we even had a contrary westerly wind to make the new course even more challenging than usual!”
The genesis for the latest gloss to be added to the undercoat laid in years gone by can be traced back to 2008 when Rossmore’s Development Committee ratcheted up ambitious plans a long time in the planning.
The Development Committee employed renowned golf architect, Mr Mel Flanagan from Longford, to draw up plans for the work.
The committee duly approved those plans which included: extending the present 12th hole by building a new tee box in the new ground.
A new par five, which would be approximately 550 metres in length, would replace the present 10th and 11th holes.
The first of the new holes was to be located immediately beyond the first green with a water feature placed to the left of the green and a supporting wall of megaliths.
The completion of the master plan would see another new hole constructed in the former Coillte ground, becoming the third hole in the re-vamped course.
The third would make for an attractive par 3, over 210 metres long, with an uphill finish with the green nestling beautifully in the corner of the newly acquired area.
The fourth hole was be the current 12th-extended considerably by locating its tee box above the new par 3 (the new third) in an elevated position in the new ground.
The fifth hole would evolve into a new par 5 teeing off in the vicinity of the ladies’ current tenth tee, a challenging left-hand dog-leg and in excess of 550 metres long.
It was to be located in the area formerly occupied by holes ten and eleven – both of which would be eliminated.
The plan entailed the green being located in an elevated position to the left of the pathway which would form the exit from the current 11th hole when returning to the club house .
The current 13th hole would also be stood down while the current second hole was to be lengthened to become new 6th with its tee box located in an elevated position in the new ground.
The present third hole would become the new 7th while the present 4th and 5th would be transformed into the new 8th and 9th respectively.
The back nine would then commence on the current 6th, (new 10th) , the current 7th morphing into the 11th ; the current 8th played as the 12th ; the present 9th becoming the new 13th and the other holes, namely, the 14th , 15th , 16th , 17th and 18th remaining in their long-time location. Still with us?
“We have relocated some holes and lost some others to establish two circuits of nine holes with each of the 9ths located at the clubhouse,” the club Secretary thankfully explained.
“The re-jigging of the holes means that if someone merely wishes to play nine holes, they don’t have to make a long trek back to the clubhouse.
“The 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes are located on the new ground acquired from Coillte some ten years ago and run past the mauseleum built by the Westenra family; the wall of the mauseleum actually backs onto the new second hole.
“Saturday’s official opening ceremony brought to a climax the excellent work done by the Development Committee over a substantial period of time.
“It’s a credit to all those on the committee over the years and the members themselves who responded in such a positive manner to all that was asked of them.”
The extensive work of recent times is sure to increase Rossmore’s rating among its peers as it not alone increases the length of the course but also its degree of difficulty.
Indeed, less than a month ago when renowned pro Paul McGinley visited Rossmore as part of the Investec Golf Challenge, he made a point of saying how tough he felt the new course had become, finding it a real test.

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