On Christmas Eve 1893 a Scottish insurance broker, W.C.Pickeman and his friend George Ross rowed over from Sutton to the peninsula of Portmarnock to explore the possibility of creating a golf links. The peninsula is about two miles long and covers 500 acres. It was links land with low sand dunes, small green hollows and long valleys.
It was ideal golfing ground and had first been used for that purpose in 1858 by the Jameson family who lived in St. Marnock’s, a large house on the North side of the peninsula. The Jamesons owned the lands having come from Scotland and founded a distillery in Dublin in 1780. Their private course was at the Northern end. John Jameson readily agreed to lease land at the South end for golfing purposes for twenty-five years at a moderate rent.
The course opened on Saint Stephen’s day 1894 with nine holes. It was extended to eighteen holes in 1896 with a new clubhouse and a further nine holes were added in 1971. The championship course follows the original layout although considerably lengthened. The only major change in the hole routing was the insertion in 1927 of a new now famous par three, the 15th hole. The 15th then became the 16th hole.
In 2003 to compliment the golf course, a major refurbishment of the Clubhouse was undertaken. Over the past two years the Club has carried out subtle changes to the links and in 2010 the first hole was completely remodeled and the result is a stunning opening hole along the Baldoyle estuary with a new green which demands a very brave and precise approach shot.
Portmarnock is arguably the best Championship Course in Ireland. It has hosted all of Irelands major championships from the Irish Ladies Close to the Irish Open and also some of the world’s biggest events including the Canada Cup in 1960 , won by Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead, and the Walker Cup in 1991 when America triumphed by 14/10. Phil Mickelson and David Duval represented America, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley played on the home side. Amongst the winners of eighteen Irish Open Championships were Bobby Locke, Sam Torrance, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ben Crenshaw, Hubert Greene, John O’Leary, Mark James, Ken Browne and Michael Campbell. Bernhard Langer shot 67-68-66-68 in 1987 for a record shattering total of 279 beating the previous best by seven shots.
Visitors and Groups will greatly enjoy the traditions and wonderful atmosphere that are the hall marks of Portmarnock.
If you enjoy a golfing challenge and the traditions of the great links golf, a visit to Portmarnock offers you a truly unique experience.