Mr Captain, Mr President and Club Members, I would like to welcome you all to the thirty-first Annual General Meeting of (Mens) West Waterford Golf Club for the year 2023. Now it is with great pleasure I present to you, a summary of the 2023 Golfing Season at West Waterford Golf Club.
PRESIDENTS, CAPTAINS, LADY CAPTAINS AND VICE-CAPTAINS WITH SPECIAL GUEST SEAMUS POWER AT THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF WEST WATERFORD GOLF CLUB.
The 2023 Comeragh Oil sponsored Winter League began in early November 2022. With 12 Teams participating in this year`s League and 8 players on each Team, there was sure to be great competitiveness and banter over the winter months. However, the weather had a bit to say too and many rounds had to be extended with the Final not being played until late April. The Final saw Eddie Stack`s “Wolves” overcome Pat Curran`s “Cheetahs” by 5-3 to claim the Cole Memorial Trophy for 2023. Well done to Paul Kelleher who had a Hole-in-One in his matchplay round during the League. Thanks to the many members who turned out to play in tough conditions over the winter and many thanks to our sponsors Comeragh Oil.
Killeagh GAA Golf Society held their 30th Annual Christmas Scramble at the Club in late November and this was won by Padraig McGrath, Cormac Cremin and Michael Lynch.
O`Mahony Business Advisors very kindly sponsored the Easter Open Scramble in early April. After all the bad weather over the past few months our first 18- Hole Competition eventually got under way. The Conway Team of Eoin, Denis and Noel came in the winners with 103 pts closely followed by the Landers Family of Noel, Sonny and Pat with 100 pts.
On Easter Monday, the House and Social committee organised a Fun Scramble which was won by David Mc Andrew, David Moloney and Joan Nugent.
PRIZEWINNERS IN THE WWGC FBD INSURANCE OPEN QUALIFIER SERIES AT WEST WATERFORD GOLF CLUB
Vice-Captain, Niall Colleran very bravely took on the job of managing the various Inter-Club Teams in 2023 with some help from members.
After a bye in the first round, Niall led his Pierce Purcell Team to Williamstown Golf Club in April, to take on the home Team. Even with coaching from the experienced Noel Conway, West Waterford had to give way to a better home Team on the day.
Colm O`Callaghan gave Niall a hand with the Jimmy Bruen Team. After a bye in the first round, the West Waterford Team took on Cobh away and came away with a victory. Tramore Golf Club were their opponents in the next round again in Cobh Golf Club, but Tramore proved too strong on the day.
Niall Parkes managed the Fred Perry Team but after a bye in the first round they lost out to Cahir Park Golf Club in Cahir in the second round in May.
Phillip Spratt gave Niall Colleran a hand with the Senior Cup Team and they had a great victory at home against East Cork Golf Club in June. They then travelled to Lee Valley Golf Club in July to take on near neighbours Dungarvan but were beaten on the day.
Again with the help of Phillip Spratt, Niall and the Barton Shield Team took on Dungarvan at home in June but had no luck on the day.
Both Niall and Lady Captain, Nora Flynn took the Mixed Foursomes Team to Faithleg in May for the first round of that competition but West Waterford had to give way to a stronger Faithleg Team.
Unfortunately we were unable to field a Junior Cup Team this year. After a delay of a few weeks due to the weather the very popular Gents 9 Hole Tuesday competition got under way in April. Once again this competition attracted big entries right through the year and helped get many of our newer members out on the course, learning the rules and etiquette and meeting other members. Thanks to the various sponsors who supported this event throughout the year.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION TO PAT MURPHY ON BEING FIRST CAPTAIN OF WEST WATERFORD GOLF CLUB ON THE OCASSION OF THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
Murray`s Pharmacy sponsored an Open 3 Person 18 Hole Scramble towards the end of April. Noel Conway, Denis Conway and Franky North came in the winners.
In early May, FBD very kindly sponsored an Open 18 Hole Qualifier which would run on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Grand Final was held on Sunday, October 8th. David Regan (16) Dungarvan Golf Club took first spot with 45 pts. Conor Moloney (6) also Dungarvan took second with 43 pts and best Gross went to West Waterford`s Kieran Lynch (6) with 30 pts. First prize was a game of golf in Trump Doonbeg, Dromoland Castle and Galway Bay, accommodation included. Thanks to all who took part and supported this qualifier and hopefully it will gather even more limelight next year. A big thanks to our sponsors FBD.
At the end of May, Killeagh GAA ran a fundraiser for the Mercy Hospital. Phil Kinsella won the Tom Fitzgibbon Perpetual Trophy and Noirín Ahern won the Margaret Rochford Shield. A sum of €1,625 was raised for this very worthwhile Charity.
In early June, Coolcormack Residents Association sponsored the Bank Holiday Competition, an Open 18 Hole Event for Ladies and Gents. The Ladies took most of the spoils in this one. First across the line was Geraldine Curran (33) with 44 pts followed in second spot by Mary Fahey (34) with 43 pts. Daniel Burke (5) took best Gross with 29 pts.
CAPTAIN, MICHAEL CASS AND HIS WIFE ANNE PRESENTING THE CAPTAIN`S PRIZE TO FRANKY NORTH.
Over 100 Teams took part in our Annual Fundraising Classic sponsored by Aerhaus, FBD and Hydro Environmental Services in early June. The course was in peak condition for the running of the Classic and the weather was reasonable for a change. The winning score came from Trevor Melbourne (Slievenamon), Anthony Daly (Carrick-on-Suir) and Noel Casey (Cahir Park). Thanks to all who supported the event and many thanks to our 3 sponsors.
Ballinameela GAA held their Classic in mid-June and this was won in great fashion by 3 new comers to golf, Noreen Kelly, Nina Kelly and Viki Mulhall who ran in the winners in this very well supported local Classic.
Mr Michael Cass held his Captain`s Prize at the end of June. We were quite used to the weather affecting our competitions early in the year but we had hoped that by June things would have settled down. Unfortunately this didn`t happen and competitors in the Captain`s Prize had to contend with constant drizzle, heavy rain and thunder and lightning. Fair dues to Michael, although he couldn`t do anything about the weather he made sure that he greeted each and every competitor as they teed off and this was much appreciated by everyone. Ardmore legend Franky North was playing splendid golf all year and was quietly being tipped to win on the weekend. He was in the leading group going out on the final day and although Richard O`Gorman played steady golf it was Franky (19) who took home the beautiful Trophy coming in with 75 pts over the two days. Patrick Power (26) had two great days of golf to claim second prize bringing in 79 pts but unable to claim first prize due to competition rules. Brian Morrissey (5) took best Gross with 58 pts. Thanks to Michael and his wife Anne for a wonderful weekend of golf and to Michael`s great effort in his year as Captain of West Waterford Golf Club.
MEMBERS OF THE SPRATT FAMILY PRESENTING PRIZEWINNERS IN THE SPRATT TROPHY COMPETITION
Franky North represented West Waterford in the “Winners of Captain`s Prizes Competition” in Roscrea Golf Club in September, but didn`t have any luck on the day.
In early July, the Spratt Family presented the Spratt Trophy for the second year in a row. There was great interest in the competition and was won by Gary Manning (7) with 40 pts. Noel Conway (24) ran in second with 39 pts. Best Gross went to Brian Foley (7) with 32 pts.
In mid-July Killeagh GAA held their Annual Golf Classic and even though it was dogged by bad weather it was still very successful thanks in no small part by the huge effort put in by Ray Rochford and his organising Team. The winners were a West Waterford Team, Aerhaus, consisting of Stephen Welsh, Patrick Power and Colin Power with 94pts.
MR. JIM MORONEY PRESENTING PRIZEWINNERS IN HIS PRESIDENT`S PRIZE
President Mr Jim Moroney held his prestigious Prize at the end of July. Jim has done some great work for the Club in his year in office and many members turned out to support him in his special weekend. Again the weather didn`t behave itself for Jim but there were many great scores returned. Martin O`Driscoll (18) came in the winner with a 134 followed by Patsy O`Donnell (20) with a 133 but due to competition rules had to settle for second place. Best Gross went to Kieran Lynch (7) with a 159. Thanks again Jim for a great weekend of golf and for all your efforts in your first year as President of West Waterford Golf Club.
The Minor and Intermediate Scratch Cups were held at West Waterford in mid-August. Sincere thanks to The Moorings Bar & Restaurant who sponsored both events this year.
Clubman Shane Hanrahan (10) came in the winner in the Intermediate Cup with an 80 winning on the back 9 from fellow clubman Jimmy Murphy (10) also with an 80. Best Gross went to Franky North (17) with a 67.
The Minor Scratch Cup went to local wizard Percy Walsh (22) with an 89 followed in second place by Brian Flynn (19) with a 93. Tony Shalloe (26) took best Gross with a 70.
The Club ran a Ryder Cup Raffle through the summer months and the draw was made in the clubhouse on Sunday evening, August 13th. The lucky winner of the fabulous trip to Rome was Fergal Cooper from Wexford. Thanks to all the members who purchased tickets for this fundraising event.
SEAMUS POWER AT WEST WATERFORD IN 2023 WITH CLUB CAPTAIN, MICHAEL CASS, LADY CAPTAIN, NORA FLYNN AND CLUB PRESIDENT, JIM MORONEY
From Thursday, August 26th to Saturday, September 2nd West Waterford ran an Open Classic to celebrate it`s 30 years in existence. This mile stone Classic was sponsored by The Old Bank and Tirlán and there were some excellent prizes on offer. On Sunday, September 3rd there was a wonderful atmosphere in West Waterford as we celebrated our 30th Anniversary. There was a huge crowd present for the celebrations and the presentation of prizes and we were delighted that Seamus Power was on hand to present them. It was also the inaugural year of the Pat Murphy First Captain Singles Competition. Pat was presented with a specially crafted Waterford Crystal Trophy to acknowledge his contribution to the Club over the last 30 years.
Michael Stack, Louise Moloney and John Moran won the Classic with 89 pts closely followed by Mark Coughlan, Liam Troy and Pat McCarthy with 87 pts.
Pat Murphy`s Singles competition was won by Michael St. Ledger (21) with a great score of 40 pts followed by Pat Higgins (14) with 38 pts. Best Gross went to Daniel Burke (6) with 25 pts.
The Lion`s Club Christmas Appeal was held in West Waterford in late September and it was the low handicappers who featured this time. Kieran Lynch (6) came in the winner with 39 pts followed closely by Richard Mahony (8) with 38 pts.
GARY HURLEY PRESENTING GOLF IRELAND CERTIFICATES TO WEST WATERFORD CADETS IN NOVEMBER 2022
As usual, members are always eager to know how our two Touring Pro`s got on over the past year.
After a very successful 2022, which included his second PGA victory in Bermuda at the Butterfield Championship, Seamus was eager to keep the good form going into the 2023 season. In early January, Seamus tied 25th at the Kapalua Plantation Course on the island of Maui in Hawaii where he played in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He then travelled half way around the world to play in the inaugural Hero Cup, an event between GB&I and Europe which was being played at the Abu Dahbi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates. Steady golf over the three days must have put Seamus in Ryder Cup Captain`s Luke Donalds sights. Seamus has stated many times that it is a life-long ambition of his to make a Ryder Cup side and his play this week would have done his chances no harm at all.
Seamus stayed in Abu Dhabi following the Hero Cup and took part in the HSBC Championship at the Yas Links the following week, where he finished a credible tied 20th on 10 under.
In early February, Seamus played at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California, where he finished on 9 under in a tie for 15th place. He then travelled to Arizona to play at the TPC Scotsdale Stadium Course in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Seamus kept up his consistency to finish on 7 under in a place for tied 20th. This put him in 4th position in the Fed-Ex Cup standings. The following week Seamus was back in California at the prestigious Genesis Invitational at the historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades just outside los Angeles. Another solid round saw Seamus finish tied on 14th spot with a 7 under. In early March, Seamus teed it up in Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge Golf Course where he had a poor weekend finishing 72nd. The following week Seamus missed his first cut in six months at TPC Sawgrass at Ponte Verde Beach Florida. Later on in March, Seamus was in Texas for the WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay event at the Austin Country Club in Austin. A win against Adam Hadwin wasn`t good enough as he lost to both Adam Scott and Sam Burns although both matches went to the 18th hole. In early April, all at West Waterford were glued to the television for the first Major, The Masters at Augusta in Georgia. Seamus battled hard to make the cut but the weather took its toll over the weekend but he still finished in a tie for 46th place on 7 over. Still a great performance over four tough days. The following week Seamus teed up at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
Unfortunately Seamus missed the cut here. In early May, Seamus was back in form again when he competed in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. He finished tied for 18th place on 7 under keeping him comfortably inside the top 30 on the Fed-Ex points list in 14th position. The following week Seamus continued this consistent run at the AT&T Byron Nelson held at TPC Craig Ranch Golf Course in McKinney near Dallas in Texas where he shot an outstanding 19 under for a tie for 19th place thus moving him up to 12th in the Fed-Ex standings. The following week Seamus teed it up in the second major of the year, the PGA Championship, held at Oak Hill Country Club in New York. Unfortunately, Seamus`s run of making cuts in majors came to an end on this brutal course to miss the cut by 4 shots. After a week off, Seamus travelled to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio to take part in the Memorial Tournament. He finished tied 41st on 4 over. At the US Open in mid-June at the Los Angeles Country Club in California, Seamus had a bad run and failed to make the cut. Another poor performance at the Travellers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut wasn`t what Seamus was looking for and in fairness he bounced back at the John Deere Classic in early July at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, where he finished tied 13th on 7 under. Then in mid-July, at the Scottish Open being held at the Renaissance Club at North Berwick, Seamus had to withdraw due to injury. All at West Waterford hoped that this wasn`t too serious and wished him a speedy recovery. The 2023 Open was held at Royal Liverpool Golf Course at Hoylake in Liverpool but Seamus missed the cut on 4 over. He did make the cut at his next outing in early August at the Fedex St Jude in TPC Southwind in Shelby County, Tennessee but finished tied 66th on 4 over.
SOME OF THE NEW GENERATION OF GOLFERS AT WEST WATERFORD GOLF CLUB
The following week at the BMW Championship in Olympia Fields North Course, Illinois, Seamus finished outside the top 30 who made it through to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Seamus made it home in September for the 30th year Celebrations and as usual he got a huge welcome. Seamus brought some disappointing news with him in that due to injury he would have to take a few months off and it could be January 2024 before he could play competitive golf again. All at the Club wish him a speedy recovery and can`t wait to see him tee off again on the PGA Tour. Just to add to the report on Seamus Power. On Tuesday, December 20th 2022, two-time PGA Tour winner Seamus Power earned a just ovation from councillors, family and golf colleagues when he was awarded a Civic Reception at City Hall Waterford.
In my 2022 report, Gary Hurley was fighting hard to capture a DP World Tour card. Wednesday, November 16th 2022 marked a very special occasion for Gary, his family and West Waterford Golf Club when he secured that card after a gruelling 108-hole Qualifying School Final stage at the Lakes Course in Infinitum, Taragona, Spain. Gary`s resurrection from nowhere man to European Tour player was one of the great feel good Irish golfing stories of recent years. All at West Waterford were delighted for Gary and wished him the best of luck as he entered the highest level of the golfing ladder.
In early December, Gary played his first DP World Tour event at the Investec South Africa Open at the Blair Atholl Golf Course in Pretoria, South Africa. He comfortably made the cut and finished 35th on 5 under giving him great confidence as he headed to the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane the following week. At Leopard Creek Country Club, Gary finished tied 32nd on 6 under at the South African venue, a great achievement, two competitions played and two cuts made. The following week at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Mont Choisey Le Golf Course, Gary continued to make steady progress with a tie for 14th spot on 7 under. Gary then took a well-deserved break to be with family over Christmas and in January headed back to his base in Saadyat Beach in Abu Dhabi to practice for the Ras Al Khaimah Championship at the Al Hamra Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates in February. Gary struggled to find form here and missed the cut by 5 shots. At his next event, the Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Course, he missed the cut again. Gary remained positive however and tweeted that “progress dosen`t move in straight lines” which showed his frame of mind as he looked ahead to the rest of the season. The following week saw Gary compete in the Thailand Classic at the Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok. He made the cut here comfortably but a poor weekend meant he finished in a tie for 66th position. At the DLF Golf Club in Gurgaon, New Delhi, Gary had a few bad days on this very difficult course to miss the cut by 5 shots.
MORE OF OUR YOUNG GOLFERS WITH GARY, JUNIOR OFFICER EOIN PRENDERGAST AND 2022 CLUB CAPTAIN DENIS HERLIHY IN NOVEMBER 2022.
In early March, Gary was hoping for better results as he teed up at the Magical Kenya Open at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi. But it wasn`t to be and Gary failed to make the cut here. His next outing was at the ISPS Handa Championship at the PGM Ishioka Golf Club in Omitama, Japan but once again he had no luck and failed to make the cut. Missed cuts at his next three events, the Korean Championsip the Italian Open and the Soudal Open took its toll and Gary decided to take a break from the golf circuit. All at West Waterford hope that Gary will get that confidence back to once again compete at the highest level.
While our two Touring Pros had a quite year, the same can`t be said about our revitalised Junior Section. Back in November 2022 our DP World Tour Player Gary Hurley, took time out of his busy schedule to present outstanding prizes to the Junior Group and Golf Ireland certificates to the Cadets in a graduation ceremony to acknowledge their start in the game of Golf. Many thanks to Gary for coming along and for patiently signing the certs the Cadets had received.
Junior Officer Eoin Prendergast set out a calendar of events for the Junior`s and Cadets at the start of 2023. There was the normal Junior and Cadet golf practice now held on Saturday evenings and this attracted plenty of interest during the year with many Junior competitions held on various Saturdays. Club Captain Michael Cass presented his Captain`s Prize to the Juniors in June and this was won by Kieran Murphy with 23pts closely followed by Brian Curran with 22pts.
WEST WATERFORD JUNIORS AT THE GOLF SIXES EVENT AT DUNDRUM GOLF CLUB, Co. TIPPERARY
In August, Junior Co-Captains Peter Cummins and Brian Curran held two competitions. The main competition, for the Pat Murphy Perpetual Trophy was contested by our Junior`s with official handicap indexes. This was won by Anthony O`Donnell with 42pts just beating David Prendergast and Ted Lynch into 2nd and 3rd places respectively, both with scores of 41pts. Conor Keane took the Gross Prize with 24pts. A sincere thanks to Pat Murphy for presenting the prize. The second competition, a nine hole event, was for Junior`s who didn`t have an official handicap yet was won by Sean Houlihan with a superb score of 25pts.
Eoin`s calendar also included an Adult-Junior Matchplay competition which attracted a huge entry and was very popular. Due to bad weather and injuries, that competition has yet to be concluded.
On Saturday, April 30th, West Waterford entered a Team in the Fred Daly Competition. Five young golfers from the club travelled to Dundrum Golf Club to play against the home Team. The experience of Dundrum and home course knowledge proved decisive on the day and they won the encounter by 4 -1. But it was a fantastic experience for our young lads and another step in the learning curve of competitive golf.
Our Junior`s also entered the Deise Junior League which began in June and the Cadets entered the Golf Sixes which began in July. In the first of eight fixtures, our Junior`s teed up against Dungarvan away and picked up the first Team prize. Well done to all. A great experience for our Junior`s travelling around and competing on courses such as Faithleg, Tramore, Waterford Castle, Williamstown, Waterford and Dungarvan and playing against other Juniors of the various clubs.
The Golf Sixes League is a Golf Ireland initiative aimed at younger Junior golfers and this year there were four East Munster Clubs involved including West Waterford. Over the course of the summer, West Waterford travelled to Tipperary, Clonmel and Dundrum Golf Clubs where the young golfers were greatly welcomed. I am certain that this great initiative will continue and hopefully maybe one day in the future we will have another Seamus or Gary in the club. Great credit to Eoin Prendergast and his volunteers for their great work and patience working with the golfers of the future.
There was great interest in our Club Matchplays in 2023.
The Club Singles sponsored by Dungarvan Transport was won by Denis Looby after a very tight battle with Conor Sheehan.
The Club Fourball sponsored by FBD was won by father and son combination Patrick and Colin Power after a tough battle with Phil Kinsella and Percy Welsh.
The Club Foursomes sponsored by FBD was won by brothers Pat and Jerome Curran with a 64 just half a shot to spare over Sean Tobin and Patrick Mc Carthy who came in with a 64.5.
The Club Mixed Foursomes sponsored by Tirlán was won by Niall Colleran and Geraldine Curran with a Nett 70 closely followed by Patrick Power and Francis Carrroll with a Nett 71.
We thank all those who participated in our Club Competitions during 2023.
We thank Niall Colleran for all the work he did with all our competitive Teams and of course his helpers and while we had little success in any of the Inter-Club events, let`s look forward to a better 2024.
Thanks to Morrie and his staff plus all the volunteers for all the work done on the course during the year.
In early May, Jim Cooney passed away. Jim had been cutting the rough with 20 years. In his own quite way, he got on with his work leaving not a blade of grass out of place. Ní bheidh a leithēid arís ann.
Thanks to Pat and Jimmy Murphy for their dedication to West Waterford down through the years. Pat was honoured with Munster Club Volunteer of the Year Award in January. A fitting award reflecting his passion and volunteerism for West Waterford Golf Club.
A sincere word of thanks to Gillian in the office for her loyalty and dedication to the job.
To all the committee members for all the work put in throughout the year, thank you.
A special word of thanks to our Captain, Michael Cass, for his great year in office.
Thanks also to our President Jim Moroney for all his work during the year and we wish him the best of luck in his second year in office. Noel Baldwin must also get some credit as he and Jim put huge effort into getting the clubhouse back to its original state. We now have the Food Doc doing the catering at the Club and we wish Clodagh and Jason the best of luck in the future.
May I compliment the Lady Captain, Nora Flynn for her great year in office and to her committee for all their work in 2023.
To all the members, thank you for making 2023 yet another memorable year at West Waterford Golf Club.
It was with deep regret that we learned of the passing of Donal O`Brien who was President in 2001 and Willie Lyons who was President in 2005 and Captain in 2018. We also offer our condolences to the Family of John Welsh and Lady member, Eleanor Nugent who passed away recently and to the families of those who lost loved ones during the year. Ar Dheis Dē go Raibh Siad.
In conclusion, I would like to wish Niall Colleran every success in his year as Captain of West Waterford Golf Club and to all the members, successful and enjoyable golf in 2024.
Honorary Secretary (Gents Committee)
West Waterford Golf Club.