Open Search -

Like us on Facebook

Course Atlas -

Course Atlas

Please consider supporting our efforts.


Athlone (Garrison) Golf Club, Co. Westmeath. (1892 - 1938)

Instituted in 1892.  

Athlone Garrison Golf Club had a 9-hole course laid out on the Batteries, west of the Shannon.

It continued as Athlone Garrison until 1904 when a new constitution was laid down it was at this time the club was renamed Athlone Golf Club. 

In 1920 the club moved to a new course at Garnafailaigh where it continued until 1938, it then moved to its current location at Hodson Bay.

A comprehensive history of the club called "Athlone Golf Club 1892-1992 - 100 years of golf” – was written by Tom Collins. We would like to thank John Collins, son of the author, for allowing us to use extracts from his father’s book on the course at the Batteries and on the second course at Garnafailaigh.

One of the earliest mentions was in December 1895 when a handicap golf match took place among the members of the Garrison Golf Club. Mr Hamlin, O.S.D., proved to be the winner, leaving a tie for second place between Captain Charles and Mr Awdrey, Lancashire Fusiliers. The ladies’ competition was won by Mrs Preston, The Moorings.

The club is listed for the first time in The Golfing Annual in 1896/97; "Athlone Garrison Golf Club; Instituted in 1892; Membership of 70; The course of nine-holes is about half a mile from the railway station. It is a difficult course, being round an old fortification. The hazards are walls, moats, ditches, roads, the railway, etc."   

Below is early printed evidence of the Athlone Garrison Club from November 1896.


Athlone Garrison Golf Club, Westmeath. Result of a competition played in November 1896.

Belfast News-Letter Thursday 26th November 1896. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Following is the result of the monthly medal October 1897; Captain Hamlin, 99-11-88; P B Tracey, 113-24-89; P H Jay, 110-20-90; E Hodson, 108-17-91; Captain Preston, 119-25-94; Major Gaussen, 99-4-95; J J O’Connell, 117-19-98; E H Pearson, 111-11-100. Result of the ladies’ medal; Mrs Pearson, 107 scratch; Miss Hamlin, 135-16-119; Miss Mooney, 140-19-121; Mrs Preston, 127-3-124; Miss Hussey, 162-28-134.

Below is a photo of a presentation silver cigarette case which relates to the early history of Athlone Garrison Golf Club in Ireland. It was presented six years after the Club formed so Captain Hamlin may well have been the Club’s first Honorary Secretary.


Athlone Garrison Golf Club. Silver cigarette case presented Captain R J Hamlin in 1898.

Image courtesy of David Copland.


In November 1897 Athlone played a one sided home match against Mullingar. Played in perfect weather the main reason given for the defeat of the Mullingar team was probably owing, to a great extent, to the fact of the visitors were not acquainted with the numerous difficulties of the links, which had greatly improved over the last two years, and are now in splendid order.

Ahtlone Garrison Golf Club   Mullingar Golf Club  
Major Gaussen 4 Mr Gaynor 0
Mr St G Kirke 0 Mr Payn 1
Captain Hamlin 2 Mr McDonald 0
Mr O'Connell 4 Mr Fitzpatrick 0
Mr Joy 12 Mr Priscott 0
Mr Murtagh 10 Mr Long 0
  32   1

Below result of a competition played in April 1898 at Athlone Garrison.


Athlone Garrison Golf Club, Westmeath. Competition results from April 1898.

From the Belfast News-Letter Saturday 9th April 1898. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


In September 1901 R Turnbull (Athlone Garrison) represented Scotland in a match against England at the Royal Dublin Golf Club.


Athlone Garrison Golf Club, Westmeath. Report on Mrs Pearson of the Athlone Golf Club in December 1901.

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 12th October 1901. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


Result of a foursome match played in December 1905; C E Fair and Miss M McCormack beat J S Vaughan and Mrs Myles by 2 up.   

From the 1905 Nisbet’s Golf Yearbook; Athlone Golf Club; Instituted 1892; Number of members, 80; Stations, Athlone M.G.W.R., half mile, and G.S.&W.R., one mile; Hon. secretary – Dr. C E Fair, Strand House, Athlone; Captain, Charles J McCormack, M.D; Entrance fee, family and gents, £2/2s, ladies, £1/1s; Subs., £2/2s, family £4/4s, ladies, £1/1s; Country members, 10s/6d; Nine-holes; Professional, Sam Smith; Green-keeper, T Boyle; Professional record, George Fernie, 73; Amateur record, P C Murtagh, 83; Terms for visitors, introduced by members or hon. sec. 1s a day, 5s a week, 10s a month. The old military moat, fortifications and redoubts with adjoining land have been converted into an excellent and sporting nine-hole course, rendering straight and accurate play absolutely necessary. The links are situated immediately outside of the town, and command fine views of the adjoining country, Lough Ree, and the River Shannon.

Picture of members taken in 1905.


Athlone Golf Club, County Roscommon. Picture of members taken in 1905.

Picture from "Athlone Golf Club 1892-1992 - 100 years of golf by Tom Collins." 


In 1906 secretary was Chas E Fair of Strand House, Athlone and the professional Sam Smith, who remained at the club until 1913. The amateur course record was held by P V C Murtagh with a score of 83 and the professional record by George Fernie 73. Visitors’ fees, on introduction, were 1/- a day, 5/- a week and 10/- a month. The Station at Athlone was ¼ mile away. The advertised hotel was Ramsay’s Victoria.

In October 1908 the club elected Lieut. Archer as captain, he replaced Mr Lyster, J.P. who retired.

Below Joseph Lyster captain in early 1908.


Athlone Golf Club, County Roscommon. Picture of Joseph Lyster club captain in 1908.

Picture from "Athlone Golf Club 1892-1992 - 100 years of golf by Tom Collins." 


In January 1909 Lieutenant Archer, former captain of the club, was presented with a silver cigar case on the occasion of his departure to England. He had been appointed Adjutant of the Territorial Reserve.

Report from the Drogheda Independent Saturday 29th March 1913; "Athlone Golf Club - On the Lord Chief Baron at Westmeath Assizes agreeing to state a case, the hearing of a claim brought by the Athlone Golf Club for £1,979 compensation for loss sustained by reason of the compulsory acquisition by the Midland Railway Co. of some land at Bellough, used as golf links was adjourned. The club states that the remaining lands are useless as a golf course, and that if the land in question is taken by the Company it must seek a course elsewhere." 

Due to a proposed urban development of the Batteries in 1913 the club decided it would need to find a new home.

A hastily called general meeting was held in November 1913 chaired by the captain, T Chapman. The secretary announced that a course had been laid out on Mr Kearney’s land at Garnafailagh. It would be much longer than the existing course, as follows; 250, 400, 300, 110, 200, 300, 450, 500 and 300 yards.  Work was to start on the course immediately and it was hoped it would available for play early the following year. 

With the onset of WW1 on 28 July 1914 the laying out of the new course was postponed. It also put a stop to the development of the land at the Batteries and golf continued to be played haphazardly on the course throughout the war. 

In May 1915 Mr J J Coen, J.P., won the Athlone Golf Club Cup. 

Report from the Westmeath Independent 28 February 1920. “The local Golf Club have secured new links at Garnafailagh and have given up the course at the Batteries. The new links are considered much more favourable by the local golfers and a pavilion is about to be erected. Similar to the Batteries it is a nine-hole course.”


Athlone Golf Club, Westmeath. Plan of the nine-hole course at Garnafailagh.

Plan of the course at Garnafailagh.


Athlone Golf Club, Westmeath. Four of the Athlone Golf Club captains.

Four of the Athlone Club Captains.


A ladies section came into being when the club moved to the new course. The ladies concerned were; Secretary, Mrs Marricote, Mrs Leggette, Miss Milligan, Miss Lyster and Miss Kilkelly. The ladies set to work on raising money by holding a Jumble Sale raising £43, much needed funds for the club.

The grass on the Garnafailagh course was far superior to that on the Batteries course and the need for a new mower and other equipment became a priority which made fund raising very important. One money making scheme organised by the committee was to instruct the groundsman, Mr O’Connor, to return all balls found so they could be sold back to the members.

The first match on the new course was against Mullingar.

It was arranged that W Calleby be employed as professional as long as long as his services were required. It proved to be a popular appointment among the members when their game improved due to lessons and tuition. Mr Calleby spent any spare time he had working on the course for £2/2 shillings a week.

At the annual meeting in 1922 a cup was given to the ladies section to be played for in the spring by matchplay. The first winner was Lola Milligan. This trophy as well as the Skipton Cup and Chapman Cup went on to be played for by the present club.

Throughout the 1920s it seemed to be the ladies’ section who were prominent in the various fund raising schemes for the club.


Athlone Golf Club, Westmeath. Pictures of members from the mid 1920s.


Athlone Golf Club, Westmeath. Pictures of members from the mid 1920s.

Club members in 1925. Pictures above from "Athlone Golf Club 1892-1992 - 100 years of golf by Tom Collins."


In 1929 a renewal of the lease for a further 10 years was arranged with the landowner, Mr Kearney. He had already agreed to stop the grazing of livestock on the course. 

From the 1933 Golfer’s Handbook; Athlone Golf Club; Membership of 100; Hon. secretary – A M Leggett, Bank of Ireland, Athlone; Nine-holes; Station at Athlone, one and quarter miles; Visitors’ fees (on introduction) 2s a day, 7s/6d a week, 15 s a month. Sunday play allowed.

At a committee meeting in November 1933 Mr A E Carter was appointed hon. secretary and treasurer.

In the mid 1930s attempts were made to improve the course. Approaches were made to Mr Kearney and Mr G Allen with a view to renting more land. The rent asked was too high and there was no further progress. A proposal was also put forward to extend the clubhouse which would include a bar, this was also put on hold. A sum of 30 shillings was made to Mr Hughes to help purchase wire netting to protect his property from errant golf balls. To keep the fairways “like a billiard” table a new Fordson tractor was purchased. The money for this much needed machinery being raised from a variety of  fund raising activities. The question of military membership, fees and rules was again raised, this, for various reasons, was a frequent problem.    

Unfortunately little was recorded in local newspapers on club competitions or inter-club matches during the 1920/30s.

Golf was played on the Garnafalaigh site until the late 1930s, it then moved to its current location at Hodson Bay.

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the Garnafailagh course and clubhouse at Cornamaddy.