Making a Clubhouse

















Having acquired the premises, work began immediately to transform them into a clubhouse. Unwanted buildings had to be demolished and disposed of. As in the Bible, hills were laid low and valleys filled up. The hills, in this instance, were the numerous unwanted brick buildings - stores, cook houses etc. - most of which were knocked down and deposited into a deep valley abutting the present laneway from the Royal County Down car park to the back gate of the Slieve Donard Hotel. This area was later converted into a putting green. All the work involved in demolition, conversion and construction was carried out on a voluntary basis. The original Shilling Sweepers' were joined by some newly elected members. Materials required were bought and paid for by means of an interest free loan from the members - a tactic which stood Mourne in good stead not only in the beginning but at every development over the years.

It is usually invidious to mention names when so many people were involved in the work. However few should feel aggrieved if the names of Jimmy McCormick, Sean Dornan, Paddy McCrickard and Paddy Boden were recorded.

Jimmy was a local building contractor and a member of the 'Shilling Sweep'. He automatically became architect and clerk of works of the reconstruction. He later became a member of council and was elected Captain in 1955. In 1963 he single-handedly adapted the old lockers to fit the new locker room. The McCormick putter, player for at every Annual-At-Home is a tribute to his memory and an appreciation of his work for Mourne.

Sean Dornan, Paddy McCrickard and Paddy Boden were not members of Mourne Golf Club when they pressed ganged into offering their expertise in the conversion of the civil defence huts into a Clubhouse. Paddy Boden did the internal plastering and Paddy McCrickard built the red brick fireplace which became the focal point of the new lounge and which is still remembered with nostalgia by the older members. Sean Dornan, also a building contractor, later joined the club and was elected Captain in 1959 - the only year in which Mourne won an All Ireland Trophy - The Junior Cup - under the captaincy of Hugh King.

The floor of the present main lounge made of Japanese Oak, acquired, somehow, in the post war period when hardwood timber was well nigh available, is the only part of the original clubhouse still remaining. It is a tribute to the skill of the volunteer workers and is a treasured link with the past.

The name of Gerald F Annesley only once again crops up in the story of Mourne Golf Club - this time as a benefactor. He presented the Club with its billiard table, its coal-fired heating system, various articles of furniture and several trophies of shooting expeditions in Africa. Finally, in Peter McGraths Captaincy he presented the turf's for the putting green which he officially opened in the following year in the Captaincy of Jack Hodgkins.

And so, Mourne had a Clubhouse, noted throughout the land for its hospitable ambience. With the additions and renovations mentioned in the next chapter, it served us faithfully and well for almost half a century and many mourned its demise.