Mullingar Golf Club is located in County Westmeath, the midlands of Ireland, somewhere between Dublin and Sligo. The course is ideally set on lush rolling hills and it’s one of the country’s elder clubs, which was founded in 1894.
It took Mullingar Golf Club 40 years and five moves before finally settling on its existing site at Belvedere and it then commissioned the great James Braid to design the layout. The following edited extract from James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming tells the tale:
“In 1936 Braid is reputed to have travelled from Walton Heath to Mullingar and back inside forty-eight hours. The story goes that Braid was met at Mullingar station by the club’s committee and taken to the Belvedere, the proposed site for the new course.
He demanded an axe, thirty-six pegs, ordered the committee to leave him to get on with his job and strode off into the scrub. When he emerged he had created a masterpiece. He duly pocketed his fee of £25 and went straight back to the station to catch the train to Dun Laoghaire and the overnight boat home.
It says a lot for the man who constructed the course, John R. Stutt, that he was able to achieve such splendid results with only thirty-six pegs to guide him, a perfect illustration of the understanding between designer and constructor. Braid regarded this as one of his very best efforts, despite the short duration of his visit.”
Braid originally laid Mullingar out as a championship course and, in the 1950s and 60s, the club was rewarded as three times host to the Irish Professional Championship. It’s still a stiff test, measuring 6,458 yards, but it’s not long enough to tax today’s big hitting professionals. However, having said that, Mullingar still tests the very best golfers in the annual Mullingar Scratch Cup, which has attracted some of the best Irish and overseas amateur golfers over the years – Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington are a couple of big names who once held the trophy.
With fine turf, Mullingar is a delightful walk in the park and the course has a fine collection of one-shot holes. The 2nd is the pick of the bunch and it comes too early in the round for some of us. Measuring 189 yards from the back elevated tee, it’s an exacting par three where many golfers will take a bogey or worse.
Recently played an open singles. Big mistake. Waste of time and money. How can this club organise an open with such playing conditions. Greens were forked and unplayable. Fairways rough and ready and full of sand. Awful playing conditions. Design is ok but that's about it.