As Castlebar could hardly have escaped the enthusiasm for golf that affected so many Irish towns in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, we can easily believe the oral tradition of golf being played here at that time and of attempts having been made to found a golf Club. However, the only written evidence we have of an early golf Club consists of reports in the Connaught Telegraph.
The first such report appeared on 3 December 1904, under the heading “Golf”:
“We understand that a golf Club is about to be started by some enthusiastic local golfers. Through the kindness of the Earl of Lucan, Mr. Austin O’Malley and Mr. Martin McGowan, a very fine 14-hole course has been obtained. There are some splendid natural bunkers on the course, which will try the skill of even the most experienced at the game. With a little time and trouble, we venture to say it will be one of the best Courses in Connaught”
A second mention occurred on 4 February, 1905, under the heading “Golf Notes”:
“During the past fortnight rapid strides have been made towards perfecting the course. Much yet remains to be done; but time and a little attention, combined with practical experience, will surmount most of the difficulties, and leave it a tolerably good inland course…… it could never be hoped to obtain what one might term an ideal Course but it will afford unqualified pleasure and amusement to the Club.
The membership continues to increase daily, which augurs well for the ultimate success of the Club. The greens are just arriving at what one might term a “puttable” stage, and will naturally improve considerably with care and rolling.
The particular days set apart by the Committee as general Club days are Mondays and Thursdays. Permanent wooden ladders were provided by the Club for crossing the walls, which should be used on all occasions by the players.”
In spite of such optimistic predictions, we have no further record of this Club and the town had to wait until 1910 for the foundation of the Castlebar Golf Club, whose centenary we are celebrating this year.