Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club, Bettystown Co Meath
A retired banker, namely Tom Gilroy, a Scotsman who lived in Mornington House, Coney Hall, played the first golf shot in the vicinity of Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club in the late 1880s. The Oznam Home now sits on the site. He was a fanatical golfer, was a member of Royal Dublin at the time, and played off a handicap of plus four.
His desire for golf was so great that he decided to create a few holes on the land that he owned in the area. He created four holes that were located between the south lighthouse, which is east of the existing tenth fairway and the north lighthouse, north of the Maiden Tower. In an article, which appeared in the golf magazine of the day, the following appeared. “The tee for the 1st hole is about 200 yards from Mr. Gilroy’ s residence”.
In 1895, Mr. Gilroy took up a post as Secretary in East Sussex Golf Club. Nothing much happened until March 1909 when another golfing fanatic, a Mr. George Daly, organized a meeting of kindred spirits. George, an auctioneer, held a meeting in his office in Laurence Street, Drogheda. The meeting was held with a view to forming a club, giving it a name and finishing off Mr. Gilroy’s work. The name decided upon was Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club.
The new club had secured a lease on the sand dunes extending from Bettystown village to the Lighthouse in Mornington and a new nine hole course was designed and laid out. Par was 38 strokes.
Membership fees were £1 for men per year and Lady Associate membership was set at 10 shillings.
In 1913, with a membership of approximately 200, it was proposed by Mr. P. J. Delaney, captain, that the course would be extended to eighteen holes. The proposed budget was a maximum of £100. However, the Great War intervened and there was little golf played. Due to the scarcity of players during the Great War, ten players constituted a club competition. It wasn’t until 1917, when R. Murdock was elected Captain that the eighteen holes began to be utilized.
In 1924, the course was re-designed and four additional holes were constructed north of the South Lighthouse, which ran down towards the sixteenth century Maiden Tower in Mornington. This effectively reopened some of Mr. Gilroy’s original course of the 1880s.
The first pavilion was built near the existing site of the present clubhouse and lasted into the Fifties. This pavilion cost the massive sum of £135 to construct. In April 1923 the Irish Field reported that the pavilion was in the process of being refurbished. This pavilion was demolished in the Fifties to make way for a larger more comfortable building. A new pavilion was built in the and this made way for the present building, which was completed in 1992.
Over the years, Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club has grown both in size and reputation. The course location and its continually improving design have created one of Ireland’s finest links courses.
The sea breezes and fresh air that influence the weather combine with this superb course to present an enjoyable challenge to golfers of all levels of skill. It is precisely these factors that have made Laytown & Bettystown a nurturing ground for some of the greatest talents and golf ambassadors of recent years.
The club has also given the golfing world illustrious professional players such as 2006 Ryder Cup Vice-Captain Des Smyth (Ryder Cup 1979 & 1981), and Philip Walton (Ryder Cup 1995). Irish International Tracy Eakin also competed professionally on the European Tour in the nineties. Amateur internationals Declan Brannigan and Val Smyth have distinguished themselves time and again over the years. The Wickham sisters Philomena and Carol made history in Belguim in 1983 winning the European ladies Team Championship. All these fine players honed their considerable skills on the links at
Today the clubhouse is a focus of the club social life and its bar and restaurant provides a lively social scene and a superb place to rela x after a good day’s golf.
Telephone: +353 (0)41-9827170
fax: +353 (0)41-9828506