Hoey takes the Arkew Cup

TEN years on, almost to the week, from the biggest disappointment of his football career, former Louth Senior footballer Aaron Hoey got his hands on silverware when he won the Arkew Cup at Dundalk Golf Club.
Because of the COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent phased return to golf, this was the first men’s competition of the season and it was played over two days attracting a entry of 264 players.
While very few golfers managed to get around dry over the two days, those playing on Sunday faced the toughest conditions and Hoey, who played on Saturday, took full advantage as he carded an excellent round of 41pts to beat Tom Dunne (11) on countback.
Hoey opened with a three point par on the first and then played steady golf over the next five holes as he picked up two points each following three pars and two bogies. He then parred the seventh and eighth for three points on each before finishing the front nine with a two point par on the par three ninth.
That saw him turn on 21pts and after a two point par at the 10th he had his first double bogey of the day when he took a six at the index two 11th. He recovered with a par five on the 12th but recorded another double bogey at the par three 13th where he had a five.
Memories of Croke Park in 2010 might have been justified at that stage as the wheels looked to be coming off for the Knockbridge man. But, no doubt drawing on all his sporting experiences, Hoey dug deep and responded magnificently over the final five holes which he covered in 13pts.
After a two point par four at the short 14th, Hoey parred the difficult 15th for three points and then took a two point bogey five at the equally tough 16th. That brought him to 35pts and a birdie two for three points at the 17th and a par four for three points at last saw him gather six points to finish on 41pts.
His back nine of 20pts was enough to pip Dunne, another Saturday player, for the overall prize but Dunne had the consolation of taking the Saturday honours while Hoey’s fellow Knockbridge man and regular playing partner Pearse Murphy (18) showed he had lost none of his pre-lockdown form by shooting 40pts to take the Sunday prize by three points from Brian Óg Renaghan (5).
Andrew Keenan (4), Ultan Herr (14) and John Parker (21) took Saturday’s top category prizes while Eddie Rocks (9), Anthony O’Donoghue (13) and John McErlean (23) were the Sunday category winners. Ben Cahill (19) with an impressive 41pts was the juvenile winner.
In order to adhere with public health guidelines, members were given the option of uploading their scores online and 60 per cent of those who played did so, thereby saving a lot of time for the Tournament Committee who would have had to upload those cards manually to ensure players’ handicaps were updated. It is hoped that more members will use the online in this weekend’s competition which is the Jubilee Cup.
Saturday, July 4 & Sunday July 5 – Arkew Cup – Overall Winner: Aaron Hoey (10) 41/20pts.
Gross Winner: Eoin Murphy (+1) 36pts. Saturday Results – Overall: Tom Dunne (11) 41pts. Category 1 (0-11): Andrew Keenan (4) 39pts. Category 2 (12-17): Ultan Herr (14) 37pts, Category 3 (18+): John Parker (21) 39pts.
CSS: 36pts. Sunday Results – Overall: Pearse Murphy (18) 40pts, Brian Og Renaghan (5) 37/19/13pts. Category 1 (0-12): Eddie Rocks (9) 37pts, Ultan Gaughran (7) 36/18. Category 2 (13-19): Anthony O Donoghue (13) 37pts, Gerry Byrne (19) 36pts. Category 3 (20+): John McErlean (23) 36pts, George Rogers (20) 33pts. CSS: 33pts. Juvenile : Ben Cahill (19) 41pts.

Dundalk Golf Club reopens after COVID-19 lockdown

Dundalk Golf Club reopened today, Monday, with over 230 members availing of their first opportunity to play since March 27 when the Government closed golf courses as part of the COVID0-19 restrictions.

A co-ordinated plan has been put in place by the Club to ensure golf is played in accordance with the Protocol jointly issued by the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union.

Only members who have booked through the Club’s tee-time reservation system are allowed on the course and a team of voluntary marshals are on duty to ensure that social distancing is observed.

Dundalk Golf Club’s Captain, Trevor Giff, and Lady Captain, Pauline Campbell, said they were delighted that golf is resuming after the lockdown and pleased to welcome members back to the course. 

“We appreciate that we are one of the first sports to resume playing and we understand the responsibility that comes with this privilege,” said the Lady Captain. “Members are being asked to follow the GUI and ILGU joint Protocol that has been put in place to protect both players and staff and also to follow the guidelines issued by the Club.”

The Captain, Trevor Giff, said that a lot of hard work had taken place to enable play to resume and he paid tribute to the Club’s Head of Operations and his Staff for completing essential maintenance during lockdown and ensuring that the course was in good shape, despite the lack of rain, when members returned.

“The course looks very well and has benefited from not having any golf played on it for over seven weeks. It will be casual golf for the first three weeks with competitions allowed to start in the Phase Two,” he said.

WATCH: A video message from the Captains 

Dundalk members are being restricted to nine holes for five of the opening seven days with an 18-hole option available on Wednesday and Saturday.

“We wanted to give as many members as possible the opportunity to play in the first week so we limited play to nine holes for five of the first seven days and we also asked members to restrict their bookings to 27 holes during the week,” said Head of Operations, John O’Sullivan. “We will analyse that plan during the week and tweak it depending on feedback and our own observations.”

Not all Dundalk Golf Club members are getting the opportunity to return to play this week as many were outside the 5km travel radius permitted under the Government restrictions. O’Sullivan said that they will be looking at ensuring this group gets its opportunity to play when the travel limit is extended to 20km on June 8.

“Because restrictions have been placed on who can and cannot play there are a large number of members who find themselves unable to play golf for the next three weeks. They understand why they cannot play and will receive priority when their opportunity comes in Phase Two of the Government’s Reopening Roadmap,” said O’Sullivan.

One upside for Dundalk Golf Club has been the increased number of enquiries from people wanting to join the Club and O’Sullivan said people are now seeing the many benefits of playing golf and belonging to one of the top clubs in the country.

PHOTO: Lady Captain Pauline Campbell and Captain Trevor Giff use their drivers to show how to measure the two metres required for social distancing.

Reopening Protocols for Phase 1 published

Dundalk Golf Cub has published its Reopening Protocols for Phase 1 of the Government’s Roadmap and the GUI/IGLUProtocol. The Protcol provides members with a standard operating procedure that will ensure their return to the golf course from May 18 is as safe and enjoyable as possible.   

Course Access
• In Phase 1 the Club will be open to Members only and for casual golf only. We hope to allow non-members to visit in due course, initially at the invitation of members. This will only happen in line with further lifting of the current restrictions.

• Bookings will only be facilitated through the BRS system and will go live in one-week blocks at 10am each Friday morning. Days and times will be allocated to categories in a fair and equitable manner. Bookings will also be accommodated by calling the golf shop on 042-9322102.

• Members are asked to play a maximum of 3 times per week (27 holes). This is to facilitate as many members as possible getting some golf and will be reviewed after two weeks or earlier if required.

• Play will initially be in:

o 3-balls at 14-minute intervals.
o 9 hole time sheet.
o 2 tee start from the 1st and the 10th tees.
o Starting times shall be 8am from the 1st tee and 9.30 from the 10th tee.
o Two 18 hole time sheets will also be included each week of the first phase protocols.
o No cutting in or no continuing rounds after your 9 holes have been completed
o To facilitate course maintenance the last tee-off time each day shall be 6pm. This will be subject to review.
o The main gate will be closed at 8.30 pm each evening

• Members who have been out of the country in the previous 14 days should not visit the Club.

• Members should not visit the Club if doing so puts them in contravention of government restrictions.

• Members should not visit the Club if displaying any symptoms of Covid-19.

• The usual reserved tee times for Men, Ladies & Junior Competitions are suspended until further notice.

• Due to the expected volume of play, the current dry spell and the necessity for staff to maintain the physical distancing protocols there will be times when the timesheet will be reserved for essential course maintenance. The no “cutting-in” rule must be absolutely adhered to in order to allow the course staff to work ahead of the golfers.

• Juvenile Members MUST play in the company of a family member or an adult who will be responsible for them.

Booking & Arrival

• The Government’s 5km travel limit and Over 70’s advisory is in operation and is part of the return to Golf Protocols as issued by the GUI and ILGU. All golf clubs have been asked to sign up to these Protocols to ensure we can benefit from the safe lifting of restrictions in Phase 1.

• Pre-booking your tee-time in advance is compulsory in Phase 1. You can book via BRS or by phone. Pre-booking is required to facilitate contact tracing should a member be affected with Covid-19.

• Please note that golfers who do not use booked tee times may be restricted from making further bookings.

• We recommend golf equipment be washed or sanitised before leaving home.

• Ensure that you have sufficient numbers of golf balls, markers, tees to avoid having to exchange equipment with others.

• Golfers should travel to the Club alone, or with a member of the same household only.

• Please park in a manner so as to facilitate physical distancing.

• Arrive at the Clubhouse no more than 20 minutes before your reserved tee time.

• Resist the temptation to mingle prior to tee off (or after golf).

• Change shoes in the car park.

• Holes will be removed from the practice putting greens. No more than 5 persons on the practice green at any one time. Pitching around this green is NOT permitted.

• The practice areas are open but social distancing must be observed.

• The practice range will be open on a limited basis; use of the practice range is limited to members only and must be booked through the Golf Shop prior to arrival at the golf club. This will be subject to review.
Clubhouse & Pro Shop

• The Clubhouse remains closed for now as per government policy. Golf equipment retrieval from the lockers can be accommodated on a one-off basis by prior arrangement with the office. Please call the office on 042-9321731 or email manager@dundalkgolfclub.ie.

• The ladies and gents’ toilets in the locker rooms will be available and must be accessed through the doors on the golf course side of the clubhouse. Our staff will continue routine cleaning, sanitization and disinfection of all locations, especially all common and high traffic areas, and frequently touched surfaces. Access to lockers is not allowed.

• The Pro Shop will be open for limited hours, 7.30am – 6.00pm, until further notice.

• Entry will be restricted to 2 customers maximum in the shop at any time.

• Please observe the 2 metre queue marks on the floor.

• Only Card or account payments will be accepted.

To the Tee

• Groups are restricted to 3 balls every 14 minutes in this initial phase.

• Do not arrive at the first tee more than 5 minutes before your allotted tee time.

• Do not enter the teeing ground until the all members of the group in front have played their tee-shots and exited the teeing ground.

On The Course

• Club personnel will be on hand to monitor adherence with physical distancing protocols and the protocols set out in this document. Please adhere to all signage outlining the social distancing guidelines in place.

• Holes must be played in order starting from the 1st tee (or 10th on 9-hole days)

• Please adhere to signage on buggies. Buggy usage will be limited to one person at a time. Buggy surfaces will be wiped down by staff prior to use. If you must use a golf buggy, it must only be used by you and cannot be shared with or used by another player. Buggies must be booked in advance of arrival at the club through the BRS or by calling the golf shop.

• There is a ‘hook system’ on flags to facilitate easy golf ball retrieval from the holes on the golf course.

• Golfers are directed to leave the pin in the cup at all times and to avoid touching same.

• Ball washing stations will be out of use and course furniture will be taken out of use where possible. All rakes will be removed and a local rule is in place that permits placing your golf ball in any bunker on the course.

• Golfers are requested to personally dispose of any trash in the bins at the clubhouse.

• Family members should play together, rather than split into mixed groups.

• Observe physical distancing at all times on the course. Do not enter the next teeing ground until the all members of the group in front have played their tee-shots and exited the teeing ground. Do not exchange or share equipment, food or drink with other players during your round. Do not pick up another player’s equipment or golf ball.

• If your ball is lost, unplayable, or in a penalty area, don’t take an option under the rules that involves doubling back on your position on the course. Instead, use an option that allows you to keep your position on the course.

Home Safe

• After completing your round of golf return directly to your car and leave the Club.

• Lockers cannot be accessed.

• Hands should be washed and sanitised in the toilets or at one of the on-site dispensers.

• Members must call or email the Club Manager with any post-round health issues or Covid-19 related queries.


It is everyone’s wish that the above measures can be relaxed on a regular and on-going basis so that we get back to some semblance of normality, including competitions, prior to the end of the season. However, this can only happen if members have regard for the above protocols, their fellow members, and comply with what is asked of them.

As we progress through Phase 1 we will continue to adapt to these untested circumstances we now find ourselves in and we will also be making plans for those of you who fall under the lifting of Phase 2 restrictions (e.g. outside 5km but inside the 20km travel ban) and we will communicate these to you in good time prior to your return to Golf.

As the Club was limited to “essential maintenance” only during the period of closure, Members are reminded that their expectations for the standard of the golf course should be tempered accordingly.

Dundalk Golf Club prepares for a return to play

The 14th Hole

Dundalk Golf Club is preparing for a return to play next Monday, May 18, if the Government approves the commencement of Phase 1 of its plan to re-open Ireland.  
However, only members living within 5km of the course will be able to play initially although this distance restriction will be extended to 20km in Phase 2 which is scheduled to commence on June 8.
Following negotiations with the Government and the Public Health authorities, the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union published a Protocol last Friday which sets out safe measures for golf to return in a phased manner. All clubs and golfers have a responsibility to ensure it is adhered to as all clubs must sign up and pledge to implement its criteria.
“Golf is fortunate in being one of the first sports to resume during the pandemic and therefore there is a responsibility on all of us to ensure proper compliance with the Protocol in order to assist the resumption of other sports,” said John O’Sullivan, Head of Operations at Dundalk Golf Club. 
“Golf has been able to return early because it has demonstrated to government that it can take place in a safe, socially distant manner and it is vital that this happens when the playing of golf resumes.
“We are currently examining the criteria within the Protocol to see how we will implement it in Dundalk and once we have finalised our plan we will share it with our members.”
Dundalk Golf Club’s Plan for Reopening will include the procedure for booking tee-times, the format of the time-sheet, the hours of play, the procedures to be followed on arrival, on the course and after the round as well as the arrangements for use of the practice facilities. It will also include guidance on how to interact with Club Staff if there is an issue or a query. 
The Protocol is aligned to the five planned phases of the Government’s Roadmap and sets out how the restrictions on golf will be eased over the coming months. Over time, it will see a return to competitive play, access for guests and visitors, hosting of open competitions and the re-opening of the restaurant and the bar. The Protocol may be updated or amended in line with ongoing Government advice.
“All our members are eager to get back playing and that is understandable given the length of the closure and the good weather we have had recently. However, we have to be cautious in how we manage the return to playing because we are still dealing with a serious public health issue and need to show from the outset that we are approaching our reopening in a responsible and safe manner,” said O’Sullivan.  
Dundalk Golf Club have also received several enquiries from people wishing to join the Club in recent weeks and all membership queries should be directed to the Club Office by phone at 042-9321731 or by email to manager@dundalkgolfclub.ie

Course closed due to COVID-19 restrictions

Rafferty selected for Palmer Cup in Lahinch

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty had achieved one of his major objectives for 2020 by being selected on the International team for Arnold Palmer Cup which will take place at Lahinch Golf Club from July 3 to 5.

The Arnold Palmer Cup was co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and began at Bay Hill in Florida in 1997. The event is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top men’s and women’s university/college golfers matching the United States against a team of International players.

Last year, in the R&A Foundations Scholars Tournament in St Andrew’s, Rafferty was on course to play his way on to the team when he led by five shots going into the final round with the winner guaranteed a Palmer Cup spot. However, he was pipped by Welshman Aled Greville who came out of the pack and shot seven-under to deny the Dundalk man a trip to Arkansas.

This time around, he won’t need to play his way onto the team as last week the committee selections for the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup were announced on Golf Channel’s Golf Central as part of their coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Three men and three women per side were named and Rafferty was one of the three selected on the International men’s team.

As he is in his final year of a Business degree course at Maynooth University, this was Rafferty’s last chance of making the team and he was delighted to have achieved one of his major objectives for the year.

“It’s nice to make it, especially when it’s my final year in Maynooth and my final chance to make the team. It feels nice to get a committee pick too. Making it early saves a lot of trouble and means I don’t have the worry of having to and win the R&A event next month although I would still like to win that event after what happened last year.”

Rafferty is also delighted that this year’s event is in Lahinch where he won the South of Ireland Championship in 2018 and where he knows he will be able to count on plenty of support.

“I love Lahinch, it’s a class spot. The people down there have been very good to me over the years and to be able to play a big event like this one on home soil is a bonus too. It means I can get some of the support which I always get when I play any event in Ireland which is great and it also will show the talent that is out there at college level to people who wouldn’t always see it.”

Rafferty will be joined on the International team by Irish women’s international Olivia Mehaffey who is a student at Arizona Stage while Barry Fennelly, Maynooth University Golf Programme Manager, will be an Assistant Coach for the International side.

The remainder of the 24 player mixed International team will consist of 12 players selected using the APC Ranking (25 March), four additional committee / coach’s picks and the two winners of The R&A Student Tour Series Final on April 7.

Recent Palmer Cup representatives from Ireland include Julie McCarthy (2019), Ronan Mullarney (2018), Chloe Ryan (2018), Stuart Grehan (2016 and 2017), Gary Hurley (2013 and 2015) and Paul Dunne (2014).

Since its inception, over 100 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA Tour, European Tour or LPGA, 29 have represented Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and more than 60 have claimed over 240 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 12-10-1.

McCaughey whips up a storm for first 2020 win

Peter McCaughey, who was the form player in the Club heading into Christmas, notched up his first win of 2020 on Sunday when he won the 14 Hole Singles Stableford competition by the proverbial mile.

He won by five points after shooting an impressive 38pts over the 14 Holes with Charlie Monahan (10) edging out Anthony McGuinness (20) for second place after both had finished on 33pts.

Storm Jorge may have swept across the course the previous day but it was nothing compared to the whirlwind start that McCaughey, playing off 20, had. He had three successive three-point pars at the first, second and fifth before a birdie at the par five sixth gave him a four-point return and left him on 13pts after playing his opening four holes.

Three two-point returns saw him finish the outward journey on 19pts before he unleashed another whirlwind start to the final seven holes.

He had a three-point par at the 10th and then a four-point par at the index one 11th followed by a three-point par at the par five 12th. That 10pt haul was followed by two-point bogey on 13 before he fired in back to back three-point pars on the 14th and 17th.

He finished with a two-point bogey five on the last for an overall return of 39pts which was reduced to 38pts when some of his pre-Christmas exploits were factored in.

Paul O’Callaghan (10), Austin Carroll (12) and John Farrell (22) won the category prizes while Peter Rogers (2) returned the day’s best gross score of 27pts.

Sunday, March 1 – Men’s 14 Hole Singles Stableford Turkey Competition – Overall: Peter McCaughey (20) 38pts*, Charlie Monahan (10) 33/22pts, Anthony McGuinness (20) 33pts. Category 1 (0–11): Paul O’Callaghan (10) 32pts. Category 2 (12–16): Austin Carroll (12) 31pts*, Category 3 (17+): John Farrell (22) 32pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (2) 27/20pts. *Point deducted for each previous prize won in Turkey series.

Sally and Caroline win overall singles in The Spring League

Spring League, Overall Winner, Caroline Dunne, Sally McDonnell Overall Runner Up pictured with Sponsor Siobhan Rogers, Byrne and Maguire and Lady Captain Pauline Campbell.