The rise (and rise) of golf in Ireland
Irish golf has had a meteoric rise, figures show that even by the start of 1900 there were 72 clubs nationwide, which has since risen to the present day 415. This is 343 more Clubs over 104 years, or an increase of 576% !
More Clubs are coming to our attention everyday with a total at the time of writing of 419 with numerous Par 3 courses as well around the Island and an unique 18 Hole championship putting Course at Mount Juliet.

The earliest years 1880 - 1899
Pre-1890 there were 12 Clubs 6 in Ulster, 3 in Leinster and 3 in Munster.
Connacht got it's first club in 1892 Athlone Golf Club, although depending where you draw the Westmeath border, some may argue that County Sligo (Rosses Point) and Ballinasloe in 1894 were the first.
By 1899 there had been an explosion in Irish Golf, during the last decade another 60 Clubs had joined the fray.
Ulster had 30 Clubs, reflecting the nation's new obsession with the game. Leinster had 21 more Clubs, Munster 15 and Connacht 5 up from none in 1892. Clubs were being created at an average of 3.6 a year.

Clubs of note founded in this period:

The Royal Belfast Golf Club
Portmarnock Golf Club
The Royal Dublin Golf Club
County Sligo Golf Club
Ballybunnion Golf Club

The formation of the Republic 1900 - 1921
Ireland's Golf Clubs were growing apace, by 1921 there were now 151 Clubs nationwide. When the Republic was formed in 1921, Ulster was adding Clubs fast, it now had 53. Leinster had more than doubled to 48, Munster did double to 30 and Connacht more than trebled to 18 Courses. Clubs joined at an average of 3.7 Clubs per year.

Clubs of note founded in this period:

Hermitage Golf Club
Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club
Grange Golf Club
County Louth Golf Club
Kinsale Golf Club

The slow (?) years 1922 - 1989
There was slow growth in new clubs in the following 68 years to 1989, although 125 new Clubs formed, at an average of 1.8 a year, which is a lot for any period of time. Obviously the thirties and forties were lean times for new Clubs but at least a Club a year was added to the list with 28 additions in twenty years.
The fifties were particularly slow with only 5 new additions, all in the West / North West region. The sixties added 10 new Clubs. An increase was begining with the seventies adding 17 and the eighties 28. Ireland now had 266 Clubs, but something was stirring in Ireland.

Clubs of note founded in this period:

Carne (Belmullet) Golf Club
Ballyliffin Golf Club
Dromoland Golf Club
Connamarra Golf Club
European Golf Club

The Boom years 1990 - 2006
The last 14 years have been a time of great expansion in Irish golf.
Ulster at the end of the eighties had 84 Clubs this was to increase to 114 by 2004, Leinster had 89 and now 159, a huge increase. Munster had 54 and now has 95 and Connacht had 33 with 43 Courses now. Clubs have been built on an average of nearly 11 a year and with recent Clubs costing up to €4 to 5 million - that's an equivelant of €45 million a year!

Clubs of note founded in this period:

K Club
Mount Juliet Golf Club
Slieve Russell Golf Club
Old Head Golf Links
Carton House Golf Club

Centenary Clubs
During 2006 some of the formative Clubs celebrate a glorious century of Golf, these are:-

Athy Golf Club, County Kildare 
Mountbellew Golf Club, County Galway 
Royal Tara Golf Club, County Meath 

Congratulations to these 3 Clubs and best wishes for the next century!

People playing the maddening Game!
The membership numbers grow year on year and the latest figures suggest that 290,000 people hold membership in Golf Clubs in Ireland, this dosen't include societies and visiting Golfers, over half a million people enjoy the game at the latest estimate. This maddening game will never take off!

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