Malone Golf Club, Belfast. (1895 - 1960s)

Founded in 1895.

The first, short lived course, was laid out on Newforge Lane , part of which had been used as a polo ground. The course proved too small for the ever increasing number of members, and so a move was made to Stranmills where an 18-hole course was laid-out and opened for play in May 1896. It was only on a short lease and, as frequent encroachments were made by the landlords for development, once again the club sought pastures new. These were found in 1912 in the area of Shaw’s Bridge, Barnett’s Park. Due to the outbreak of WW1 little progress was made on the course.

Following the Great War the course was bought back to life and on October 25th 1919 the new 18-hole course was opened for play, albeit with many modifications and improvements to the pre-WW1 original layout.  

The club moved to its present location at Ballydrain in the early 1960s.

Following are extracts of a report from the Belfast News-Letter of the 29th April 1895 describing the formation of the Malone Golf Club. "The Royal Game, as it is usually termed, has lost none of its well-merited popularity in our northern province, and, especially, in the city and suburbs of Belfast as yet another golf club has just been organised in the beautiful suburban district of Malone, within easy distance from the city either by train or tramcar. With the energy of its promoters the new club looks well set to be one of the most successful ventures of the kind which has, so far, been undertaken in the province of Ulster. On Friday last the 26th a meeting of the promoters was held in the National Schoolroom, Malone Road. The Rev R W Seaver BD, rector of St John’s Church, was in the chair. The chairman having announced the object of the meeting, the question of organising a golf club at Malone was discussed, it was unanimously resolved that a “Malone Golf Club” should be established, membership of which should be open to ladies and gentlemen, subject to ballot. A committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements and to find the most suitable location for the links. The following office-bearers and committee members were elected; captain, Ernest Young; treasurer, W A Chapman; secretary, Joseph Pyke; plus a committee of 16 gentlemen."

Result of the first of the monthly competitions for the Captain’s Prize, presented by Ernest Young, took place on the new links at Newforge on 12th October 1895. Watson, the greenkeeper, had the links in first class condition. Following are the results under 100; Rev R W Seaver, 97-24-73; S D Neill, 112-27-85; Geo H Wheeler, 117-27-90; D F Spiller, 110-14-96; R G Moffett, 126-30-96; R Hewitt, 110-14-96.

Result of a ladies singles competition played on the New Forge links on Wednesday 23rd October 1895; in the semi finals Miss M Purdon beat Mrs McMullan and Miss E Carr bet Miss F Carr. In the final Miss E Carr beat Miss M Purdon.

Result of the monthly competition for November 1895; George Wheeler, 109-27-82; R G Moffett, 116-30-86; Sharman D Neill, 123-26-97. There was also a mixed foursome played in November, in the final Mr & Mrs E Young beat W A Chapman and Miss A Taylor.

The sixth quarterly competition for the McMullan prize was played on 4th January 1900, result as follows; Second round – Miss L McKeown (2) beat Miss C Taylor (10), 3&2; Miss A Haslett (10) beat Miss A McMullan (8), 3&2; Miss S Robson (11) beat Mrs Walkington (11), 2&1; Miss Clarke (11) beat Mrs Higgin (9), 2&1. In the final Miss McKeown beat Miss Clarke, 5&3. 

From the 1905 Nisbet’s Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1896; Number of members about 500; Hon. secretary – C S Harden, 71 High Street, Belfast; captain, Charles S Harden; Entrance fee £3/3s and subs £2/2s; 18-holes; professional Edward Kidd; green-keeper, Michael Murphy; professional record Fred Smyth, 66; amateur record F B Newett, 65; Terms for visitors, 1s a day, 5s a week, 20s a month. The course is an inland one, on very sandy soil. An additional 50 acres has just been acquired, and the course is being re-modelled. When completed, the course will be the longest 18-hole links in Ireland and will be of a very interesting and sporting nature.

Also listed was the Malone Ladies’ Golf Club; Hon. secretary – Mrs Walkington, 15 Adelaide Park, Belfast; captain, Miss Hamilton; 18-holes; Entrance fee £1/1s and subs £1/1s; Terms for visitors, 1s a day, 2s/6d a week. The course is undergoing considerable alterations, and some of the old ground has been given up. The new course will be a great improvement, and greatly lengthened.    

The following is from the 1947 Golfer’s Handbook; Membership, 750; professional, J Mc Lean; green-keeper, J Bridges; 18-holes with a SSS of 73; Course records; amateur, H S Sheals 68; professional, F Daly 67. Visitors’ fees on introduction were; 2s/6d a day, 5s at weekend.

At the annual meeting in April 1951 R D Harrison was elected captain. Election of Officers; Hon. secretary, C C Wood; hon. treasurer, Mr George A Lawson; additions to the council – J A Dowling, A H Fetherston, A Lowe and T H Scott.

Below Fred Daly wins the Ulster Professional Golf Championship at Malone in August 1951.


Malone Golf Club, Belfast. Fred Daly wins the Ulster Professional Tournament August 1951.

From the Northern Whig Saturday 4th August 1951.


At the annual meeting in April 1954 Alfred Lowe was elected captain. R D Harrison, hon. secretary, and G A Lawson, hon. treasurer, were re-elected. The following four elected to the council; J A Dowling, A Pearson Elliott, G B Goldsburgh and G A Lawson. A E Titterington, acting captain since last July, becomes immediate past captain.  

Below the R.U.C mixed foursomes competition in September 1954.


Malone Golf Club, Belfast. The R.U.C mixed foursomes at Malone in September 1954.


Malone Golf Club, Belfast. The R.U.C mixed foursomes at Malone in September 1954.

From the Northern Whig Friday 3rd September 1954.


At the 60th annual meeting in April 1955 Mr Pearson Elliott was elected captain for the coming year. The hon. secretary, R D Harrison, and hon. treasurer A P Bryan were re-elected. A H Kinkead, R D McKibben and F M Reid were elected on the council. Dr. I W Forsythe was congratulated on winning the West of Ireland Championship.  

In December 1955 the death was announced of Mr Goodwin Pratt. He had been a member at Malone Golf Club for almost fifty years.

In March 1956 Mrs S Mackie presided at the 61st annual meeting of the Ladies branch of Malone Golf Club, when it was reported the there had been a most successful year. The following office-bearers were elected; Mrs A P Elliott, captain; Mrs Balfour McGown, vice-captain; Mrs R W Arend, hon. secretary; committee – Mrs A Brown, Miss H McWilliam, Mrs L Grubb, Mrs D Fry, Mrs C Kidd and Mrs G Titterington. The L.G.U. Silver Spoon was won by Miss K Lowe. Mrs H W Bailie won the L.G.U. silver medal, and Mrs L Grubb, the bronze medal.

At the annual meeting in April 1956 R L Lowry was elected captain. The hon. secretary R D Harrison, was re-elected, and stated that the membership was 497. G A P Bryan was re-elected hon. treasurer. Three new members on the council; T Q King, J S Reid and R Stoupe.

In April 1956 the death was announced of Sidney Fairweather. He became professional at Malone Golf Club in 1922 and continued until the 1940s. A native of Scotland he represented his country six times, he held the Irish Professional Championship from 1926 to 1932. He also won the Ulster title eight times.   

Prior to the clubs move to its present location in the early 1960s the secretary was L J Johnston . The club had a membership of over 800. The professional was J McLean, and the green-keeper, J Bridges. 18-holes with a SSS of 71. Course records; amateur W J J Ferguson, 69; professional, S Bacon 69. Visitors’ fees were 5s a day, weekends, 7s/6d, with a member.

The Google Map below shows the area around Shaw’s Bridge, location of the Malone Golf Club from 1912.