Club profile: Strandhill Golf Club

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 30, 2023 12:16

Earlier this century Strandhill Golf Club in Ireland saw a fire destroy its clubhouse before a financial crisis nearly killed it. However, the members rallied and the club invested their money in course improvements, and the venue is, today, thriving, writes Daragh Small.

Recessions and vulture funds could have eaten up the beautiful sprawling links in Strandhill in Ireland but the heart continued to pump.

Golf has been the lifeblood of this area for almost a century now but the committee and members had to fight hard to keep their beloved golf course.

World War Two, a club fire and a debt crisis were other obstacles they had to hurdle and it took people like Leo Logan, Robbie Henneberry and Michael Henry to help get them to this point.

Financially, the club is secure.

Although the club only celebrated 50 years as an 18-hole golf course recently, its foundation dates back to 1931.

Originally a nine-hole venture, John McAlister redesigned it a decade later before initial plans for a new 18-hole course were dropped.

Strandhill made more history with the formation of a unique Winter League, which was the first in Ireland and remains in place to this day.

In 1946 the clubhouse, formally resembling a tin shed, moved beside the 18th green. Two years later a bar was added and in time that would become a focal point for the more social side of golf in Sligo.

“There was a huge social aspect associated with the club. It was a big social outlet for a lot of people. Our Winter League was infamous because we could have had 240 guys playing on a winter’s morning, all into the bar afterwards,” said former Strandhill captain and president, Logan.

“And it was sponsored by Murphy’s Heineken, so we had a free bar of Murphy’s.”

In the interim, 1973 saw the introduction of an 18-hole layout. Co Sligo professional Johnny McGonigle was involved, and although the existing nine holes still featured, it was a brand-new era for Strandhill.

At the turn of the millennium further plans were afoot with more land purchased at the back of the fourth hole before a chain of events that would endanger the future of the historic golf course.

First, a fire ripped through the heart of a recently remodelled clubhouse in 2005 but the people of Strandhill persevered and by December of the following year a new clubhouse was opened.

However, with the crash lurking around the corner, and loans to be paid, Strandhill had to regroup and focus on keeping the club alive.

“We negotiated with the vulture fund and we did the presentations and got the members to commit, and the members were great,” said Logan.

“Granted we offered them a pretty decent dividend on their money. A lot more than they were getting in their banks at the time. Everybody was ultra conservative because it wasn’t a time to spend, a time of crisis like that. It was a time to save.

“There was cash there and there were guys who wanted to invest it rather than having it lying in a bank. We offered them a five percent interest rate and got approval from the revenue. It was a fairly decent dividend when they were getting nothing in the bank. They stepped forward.”

Strandhill had aimed to salvage about €500,000 [about £430,000) but they got over €600,000 [about £515,000] in that fundraising drive. It was a crucial juncture in the club’s history.

“The one thing that it did do at the time. We were only repaying the interest over the duration of the loan from the members. The capital doesn’t have to be repaid until the end of this year, so it allowed us to start focusing all we needed to focus on,” said Logan.

“We were able to focus on the course. Tidy it up, greens and tees, we are starting to work on tee boxes, improving tee boxes, we have plans for greens. We would like to develop a little bit further our practise areas.

“All of these little bits, all improvements. It’s all about presentation.

“We are reaping the benefits of that. Our ratings have improved nationally. We are seeing an awful lot of business from the international tourists too.”

Meanwhile, women’s and junior golf have also seen a huge upturn in fortunes at the club.

“Our junior golf programme is picking up again. We have got tremendous interest in it. We have got people that are dedicated to it now as well, focused on it. We see numbers increasing there,” said Logan.

“We see Get Into Golf too. We have gone again this year with it and we have a lot of women getting involved again. So, we are seeing a big increase in the number of women that are playing as well which is a big move for us.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 30, 2023 12:16
Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment


Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: