Regional Qualifying Feature - County Louth Golf Club
First established in 1892, County Louth Golf Club has acquired a reputation for excellence over the past century.
The links course will, on June 25, host a Regional Qualifying event for The 147th Open, held at Carnoustie in July.
The current course was designed in 1938 by Molly Gourlay and Tom Simpson, with the most recent amendments made in 2003 by Tom Mackenzie, who introduced new tees to increase the yardage to beyond 7,000 yards.
Excitement among the greenkeepers
The club, also known as Baltray, will be hosting a Regional Qualifying event for The Open for the first time since 2010 and general manager Liam Murphy said the club were looking forward to being involved in golf’s oldest major.
Murphy said: “We are very excited to host the Regional Qualifying event, it will be a special tournament." He added that “we want to be an active part of it this year and going forward into 2019, and it’ll be great to have that link with the Open going forward. It’s something our greenkeeping team are really looking forward to. It’s going to be a very busy year ahead, but we are looking forward to it.”
A storied history
The club combines a championship-standard links course with a remarkable history in the amateur, professional and, most notably, the women’s game. As home to two of the Ireland’s most famous female golfers Clarrie Reddan and Philomena Garvey, the club continues to honour their legacy.
In her career, Reddan won the 1936 Irish Ladies Championship aged just 20, as well as the New Jersey Championship, while Garvey won an astonishing 15 Irish Ladies Amateur Golf Championship titles.
The club are committed to hosting the Irish Women’s Amateur Championship for the next four years, having hosted it last year, and Murphy believes the club must continue to celebrate the impact made by two greats of the sport.
Murphy said: “They [Reddan and Garvey] would have been very famous in their day. It is certainly a heritage we are very proud of. It gets a very high-quality international field in the women’s amateur game. The trophy they play for is the Reddan-Garvey Trophy, which was specially commissioned in honour of those two ladies and that has highlighted that link to the great ladies of the past."
Murphy also highlighted the importance of youth membership at County Louth. The club have hired a second golf professional, introduced schemes for players as young as five, and Murphy believes they are starting to see the benefits of this investment. He said: “We have a good active junior membership as well, which brings a lot of energy to the club, particularly in the summer.
Links to the stars
Alongside its gilded history in the women’s game, many leading figures on the men’s side have made their mark at County Louth. From amateur champions including Barry Reddan, son of Clarrie, and Mark Gannon, to Ryder Cup stars Paul McGinley and Des Smyth, the club has seen many members go on to achieve great things in the game.
As an amateur, 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year Darren Clarke won the 1989 East of Ireland Championship and the Irish Amateur Championship at the club, while Shane Lowry won the 2009 Irish Open on the Baltray course.
Murphy added: “Des is still a regular feature around the club, he’s still very fit-looking, he is regularly seen here chipping and putting and hitting a few shots on the course and keeping his hand in which he is still fully capable of doing.
“Paul [McGinley] was a student member here, his father had a house just across the gate and Paul spent his summers here and has a very deep love of the club. He is an honorary member now, and drops in when he’s passing.”
Looking to qualify for The 147th Open at Carnoustie? The online Entry Form is now available.
The Open Qualifying Series sees 15 events played in 10 countries, spanning 5 continents with 46 spots available for The 147th Open at Carnoustie.