Search of a home
The founders and members of Mullingar Golf Club led a somewhat nomadic golfing existence in the first 40 years. Originally called Westmeath Golf Club and founded in 1894, our first members played on what is described as “a small course” at Newbrook, on the site of Mullingar Race Course. In 1903, the club moved to a nine-hole layout in Killian’s field just north of Mullingar town. A major drawback was that golf was only permitted in the winter months as the farmer who owned the land needed the use of it in the summer. Thus, another move, this time to Lynn (also 9 holes) in 1909. Lynn became home for ten years but the course was regarded as too short (length was an issue then as well!), resulting in a new course being developed at Lough Owel and play began there in 1919. One serious drawback with this venue was the Great Western Railway which ran through the middle of the course.
Finally, 120 acres of lush, rolling parkland was secured at Belvedere in 1934 and the club moved to its present home in 1937. The legendary course designer, James Braid, designed the course at Belvedere. Braid wished to make the present 10th hole the first on the card, but felt it might be too difficult as an opening hole. How right he was!
Over the past eight decades, Braid’s original layout has largely remained unchanged even allowing for some adjustments occurring from 2003 to 2005 to maintain a challenge into the twenty first century with USGA standard greens and tees. David Jones, renowned professional and experienced course designer was engaged and given a clear brief which included both respect and sympathy for the original design; his excellent upgrading work included the reorientation of holes eight, thirteen and sixteen and the redesigning and resiting of a number of greens. Where possible new tees were constructed or extended to give additional length. It is worth noting, that, though rebuilt, the essence of the second green was not altered one iota. David’s particular favourites are the 7th, 8th, 10th and 13th, where a bit of clearance opened up lovely new green locations with beautiful backdrops, and brought some of our magnificent trees more into play.
Today’s players daily revisit a rich and magnificent history as they retrace footsteps of golfers who have enjoyed the challenge set by Braid eighty years ago.