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History of Woodbrook

Offering a unique golfing experience since 1921

The Woodbrook Golf Club was established in 1921, by Sir Stanley Cochrane as his private club. Woodbrook was first affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1926.

Sir Stanley had previously indulged his enthusiasm for cricket at Woodbrook, a fact that is still reflected in the pavilion-style clubhouse and the cricket bell, which tolled the start and finish of play and now hangs in the bar. In olden days the Dublin-Bray train stopped at the club and in the early days of tournament golf, spectators alighted on the course.

Although a flat course, the wind plays a most significant role. When it blows from the North, nine holes are affected, including three out of the last four. When it’s from the South, the tenth plus the par-three eleventh, and the par-five – 12th, 14th, and 16th, all become very difficult long holes. A crosswind from the East affects almost every hole on the course and calls for shot-making of the highest calibre. With its configuration of five par threes and five par fives, Woodbrook’s layout is unusual but, in the opinion of those who have played there, it is a championship course in every meaning of the word.

Woodbrook is unique in Irish Golf, with its heritage and tradition, ambiance and atmosphere, and the quality and layout of its course. For members and visitors alike it represents a challenge to be met weekly or just occasionally, but always enjoyably.

Woodbrook’s 75th Anniversary

In this 75th Anniversary year of the founding of the Club another milestone has been reached. Over the years, many thousands of men, women and youngsters have enjoyed what Woodbrook Golf Club has had to offer and today a membership of more than double the original figure continues to enjoy these facilities. Woodbrook is not just a golf course. It is a place of beauty, an oasis bounded by unrivalled views of the Irish Sea on one side and the blue haze of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains on the other. If it wasn’t for the DART rattling along between the fairways, tired golfers might succumb to the wafting sea breezes or the heavy pollen scented air that rolls in waves over the greens on summer evenings.

Nature has done its bit for Woodbrook, but the club we know and play today exists largely due to the efforts of a myriad of stalwart and far seeing members who were at the helm down through those seventy five years that the club has been in existence. These are the Captains and the Presidents and dedicated officers and committee men and women who did their bit, year after year, to make sure they passed something worthwhile on to future generations of golfers. You only have to glance at the names of these ladies and gentlemen to see that many of them are the fathers and grandfathers of existing members, clearly illustrating a strong tradition of family service to the club. It is interesting to note that the first lease was drawn up during the second year of Captaincy of C.S. Tighe in 1928.

It was for 21 years at a rent of £850, when activities were confined to sheep grazing and the playing of golf, tennis, cards and other games . What a pity we got rid of the sheep – if they were still around the rough might be a lot easier! The professional appointed in 1926 was Pat O Connor, and by all accounts the club never had a more dedicated or popular member of staff. He retired forty-two years later in 1968.

The former putting green – now the chipping area – came into existence in 1932, the creation of Herbert Phillipson, and because it had a large tree in the middle, was for a long time known as Phillipson’s Folly” A lot of members may not realise that up until 1958 the club premises consisted of the original cricket pavilion and diners had the use of part of the Cochrane house, where a restaurant, kitchen and card room were situated. Under Jack Dolans Captaincy what is essentially the existing clubhouse building was erected in 1958, but of course there were some modifications over the years and in more recent times we had major renovation and additions following on the redesign of the course itself.

The George Martin room is a wonderful addition to the clubhouse, as are the new extension housing the club professionals shop, accommodation for the Caddy master, Bag Room, and redesigned Locker Rooms for ladies, gentlemen and visitors. Overhead are modern offices for the club management and office staff. All this work and the building of eighteen new greens and tees and extensive redesign of bunkers and landscaping was made possible in the 1990s largely through the generosity of Mrs. Patricia Martin. The redesign has allowed Woodbrook to resume its place among the top championship courses in the country, challenging low handicap golfers and attracting substantial green frees from visitors and societies.

But most important, the course is again one that the membership can be proud of, one where good scores are hard to come by, and many a good card spoiled by one slip of the wrist – or the foot since spikes were outlawed!

Events

Roll call of premier event winners at Woodbrook Golf Club

Christy O’Connor Snr remains the most prolific winner of premier events staged at Woodbrook Golf Club over the years. He thrilled the galleries with outstanding performances on many occasions.

Woodbrook has also been a happy hunting ground for Philip Walton, hero of Europe’s memorable victory in the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill. The Malahide star won the Irish Amateur Close title at Woodbrook in 1982, in between two outstanding Walker Cup appearances (1981 & 1983). He completed an impressive double by returning to win the Irish PGA title at Woodbrook in 1991, the year after he scored his French Open breakthrough victory on the European Tour.

In addition to Christy O’Connor Snr and Philip Walton, other Ryder Cup players who have won professional tournaments at Woodbrook include Max Faulkner, Bernard Hunt, Jimmy Martin, Brian Huggett, Neil Coles, Bernard Gallacher, Christy O’Connor Jnr, David Feherty and Des Smyth.

Professional Events

Carrolls International


1963 – Bernard Hunt

1964 – Christy O’Connor Snr

1967 – Christy O’Connor Snr

1968 – Jimmy Martin

1969 – Ronnie Shade

1970 – Brian Huggett

1971 – Neil Coles

1972 – Christy O’Connor Snr

1973 – Paddy McGuirk

1974 – Bernard Gallacher

Irish Sweepstakes Tournament


1959 – Max Faulkner

1960 – Christy O’Connor Snr

1961 – Kel Nagle

1962 – Christy O’Connor Snr

 

Carrolls Irish Open


1975 – Christy O’Connor Jnr

 

Irish Seniors Open


1998 – Joe McDermott

Irish PGA Championship


1977 – Paddy Skerritt

1981 – David Jones

1982 – David Feherty

1983 – Liam Higgins

1990 – Des Smyth

1991 – Philip Walton

Amateur Events

Irish Senior Ladies Open


2005 – Alison Murdoch

2006 – Vicki Thomas

Irish Seniors Amateur Open


1975 – S.A. O’Connor

Irish Amateur Close Championship


1982 – Philip Walton

2020 in Memoriam