Strandhill Golf Club was founded in 1931 as a nine-hole golf course. Shortly after the links was opened, a green tin shed was acquired as a clubhouse, which was situated near the present seventh green along the Strandhill beach front.
In 1939, John McAlister from Dublin was engaged to design a new nine-hole course over the existing land and this was opened in May 1940, a year which also saw the first Winter League played on the links. This was the first of its kind in Irish golf; today most other clubs have followed suit. As the second world war had broken out, no cars were on the road due to petrol rationing and approximately forty golfers could be seen cycling their way from town to the golf club, some five miles away, with their clubs strung over the shoulders. History, unfortunately, does not record how they got home.
In 1945, there was a rare conflict between the club and the GUI over a competition played for in Strandhill called ‘The Blue Label Cup’. The club stated that the cup was named after a famous racehorse, but the GUI suspected that it was named after an even more famous brand of whiskey. The GUI’s view prevailed, and the competition was renamed ‘The Nally Cup’.
In 1946, a new competition called the North West Inter-Club Shield was started up. This was a forerunner for what is now called The Connacht Shield. Strandhill have a proud record in this competition, and have won it on several occasions. They were also the first time to retain the trophy, having won it back-to-back in 1982 and 1983.
Also in 1946, the club acquired Bustard’s Lodge, the site on which our award-winning clubhouse was built. This was opened in 1948 when a drinks license was obtained.
The present 18-hole course was opened in 1973 (subsequently redesigned with the imput of several members) as also was the new modern clubhouse, most of which was incorporated into the new building which was unveiled in 1997.
However, following the accidental destruction of the clubhouse in 2005, a new chapter has been embarked upon with the development of a new clubhouse in 2006, the year in which Strandhill celebrated its 75th anniversary. The older version of the clubhouse had won the AIB Connacht Clubhouse of the Year award in 2004.
The club can be particularly proud of its achievements on the inter-club stage, where it has garnered 20 GUI provincial pennants during its involvement in the Cups and Shields. In 2006, our ladies branch, after years of tireless effort, were deserved winners of the AA Ireland Junior Foursomes title, securing their first ILGU Western District pennant in the process.
In addition, the club had much to celebrate in 2007 when 17-year-old Tommy McGowan was selected for the Irish Youths team which participated in the annual representative match with Wales. Tommy earned his first Irish cap on the back of an incredible performance in the West of Ireland championship that Easter, when he reached the semi-finals.