Sport Golf

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Quarry holes back in play at Clontarf

The 12th hole of the Clontarf golf course now boasts a stone bridge as one of its features
The 12th hole of the Clontarf golf course now boasts a stone bridge as one of its features

Dermot Gilleece

A major disruption of playing facilities at Clontarf Golf Club, extending over an 18-month period since October 2013, has ended with the re-opening of the 12th (pictured above), 13th and 14th, otherwise known as the quarry holes. In fact, the full 18 was back in play for recent qualifying rounds of the Pierce Purcell Shield and for yesterday's pro-am.

In what was viewed as a significant gesture to their Donnycarney neighbours, the Clontarf members agreed at a special general meeting to permit Dublin City Council to undertake extensive engineering works involving the quarry holes. The objective was to avert a repetition of the flooding which seriously affected surrounding properties in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Interestingly, this is where a once-active quarry produced the black calp stone which was used in the building of 19th century Dublin. It is reported that 350 tonnes of the stone was quarried in 1847 at a value of £52 and 10s. Indeed, the present clubhouse dates back to 1781 when it was originally the residence of Robert Carroll, proprietor of the Donnycarney Quarries.

In recent years, the Council set about replacing the open Wad river with a complex arrangement of culverts and pipelines of varying dimensions over a six-kilometre route from Albert College Park on Ballymun Road to the seafront at Clontarf Road. And civil works within Clontarf GC culminated in the reconstruction of the three quarry holes at an estimated cost of €750,000.

It also involved the Council in significant compensation to the club for loss of income in matters such as green fees, bar revenue and society outings, quite apart from the inconvenience to the members of restricted playing facilities. During the affected period, 18-hole competitions started on the seventh hole, which meant that the seventh, eighth and ninth were played twice.

The new 12th, 13th and 14th, which were designed by Jonathan Tucker from the STRI in Bingley, have met with general approval, especially the 12th which became notorious as one of the most treacherous index-one holes in Irish golf. It now boasts a charming stone bridge (see above) over the water feature in the quarry, while a new elevated green makes for a more demanding approach shot.

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