Centenary – 100 years of growth and development – 1905 – 2005 (An extract from Fairways of the Sea by Tom Williams)
In 1904 James J Farrall purchased 433 acres of the Boyd property at Rosslare. Together with Michael j O’Connor Solicitor, Wexford, they elected to turn part of the property at Bearlough into a golf links. The first course comprised of 58 acres and was sub-let to the club at a rent of £30.00 per annum. The first provisional committee meeting was held in White’s Hotel on 12th of August 1905.
The initial entrance fee was set at one guinea for men and two guineas per annum. Ladies were allowed join as associate members without payment of any entrance fee and an annual subscription of one guinea. Rosslare House became the course’s clubhouse. The club at this time was a proprietorial club and its formal opening took place on Monday the 4th September 1905.
Following the bankruptcy of James J. Farrall in 1906 his entire holding was bought by a syndicate headed by Mr. W. E. Hewat of Heiton and Co. Dublin. A group of members decided to lease the existing links from Mr Hewat and the first members club was formed in Rosslare in 1908. The course was officially re-opened for play on 23rd June 1908. In 1909. A new pavilion was constructed at a cost of £200.00.
In 1925 the club succeeded in buying the links outright as well as the surrounding land which included Rosslare House. They now had enough land to extend the course to 18 holes. The committee was determined that the new eighteenth hole layout would conform to the highest championship standards and the English firm of Hawtree & Taylor was commissioned to do the work. The new links was opened for play on Thursday, 12th August 1926 and was officially opened on the 7th June 1928.
Rosslare links improved steadily and was selected to host three prestigious events in 1934. These were The Irish Close Championship, The Irish Golf Cup Finals and The Barton Shield final.
The club hosted the Irish close championship in both 1948 & 1953 and was also delighted to welcome the great Henry Cotton to the course in 1953.
The clubhouse was renovated in 1967. Following the appointment of Austin Skerritt as Club Professional the club hosted its first Pro- Am in 1969. Also, in 1969 it was decided to install the club’s first automatic watering system. In 1971 the club elected its first Vice Captain and hosted the Irish Seniors Open which was won by J. O’Sullivan from Athlone. The clubhouse saw a further refurbishment between 1971 and 1973 while also in 1971 fire destroyed the professional’s shop.
One of the biggest tournaments staged in Rosslare was the Carroll’s Irish Match-play Professional Golf Championship. Played in 1982, it was won by Paddy McGuirk by 3 & 2 from Peter Townsend.
1978 saw the installation of a new course watering system. it was completed in 1985.
While land for the Burrow Course was purchased piecemeal its development began in 1987 and the Christy O’Connor Jnr. designed course opened in 1992. Rosslare now boasts thirty top class holes of golf.
In April 1999 the clubhouse rebuilding project was completed and officially opened by the President of the G.U.I.
The 1980’s and 1990’s proved to be a very successful era for both Rosslare’s Ladies and Gents interclub teams.
2005 marked the anniversary of the club and Rosslare Golf Links acknowledges the work of Mr Tom Williams in faithfully recording the historic details of this great club.
One hundred years of golf and golfers. From the carefree weekend hacker to the tetchy scratchman this respected old course has seen and continues to see it all.
(Those interest in finding out more detail about the club’s first 100 years should refer to ‘Fairways of the Sea’ by Tom Williams.)