CELEBRATING 25 YEARS in 2016
In its relative short history with the support of a great membership, Craddockstown Golf Club offers parkland style golfing with 6 mini lakes to test any golfer’s handicap. A golfing gem in the heartland of Kildare it has grown in stature to become a memorable and enjoyable golfing experience with Clubhouse, Pro Shop and full practice facilities.
The Early Days
The year was 1986. A group of society golfers calling themselves the ‘Nomads’, played golf every weekend in Edmondstown golf club. As their name suggests ‘Nomads’, from Edmondstown they looked for better pastures which led them to consider moving to a venture at that time called the, Four Lakes Golf and Country Club situated at Killeen Beg near Sallins, Co. Kildare.
The Nomads, along with a group of golfers who played there on a regular basis, were invited to form a golf club by the land owner and to seek affiliation with the Golfing Union of Ireland. The Four Lakes Golf Club was founded in 1986.
Four Lakes Golf Club
This partnership between the owners of the course and the tenants of Four Lakes Golf Club prospered until the course was sold in 1990 to new landlords.
In order to develop the course, the new landlords placed additional requirements on the membership to achieve this. Increasing the rental for the use of the Golf course, a levy on each member to improve the course and club house and with the ownership remaining in the hands of the landlords, all these measures together with the reduction in tee times for the playing members at weekends to facilitate additional Golf societies and green fees led the committee of the day to look for alternative venues.
Keeping with the ‘Nomad’ tradition in March 1990 it was decided that the membership would seek out new lands to find a new home of its own and form its own members owned club.
A New Beginning
Sites were assessed at Newcastle, Leixlip, Maynooth and Wicklow, but nothing compared to a piece of land, measuring some 140 acres on the Blessington Road called Craddockstown Lodge & Stud farm. Lengthy negotiations with the land owner were concluded and on June 4th 1991 with our capital funding approved the deal was struck.
A total price tag of £580,000 punts which included stamp duty, council fees and legal fees was the final purchase price.
The vital step to move from the Four Lakes Golf Club took place in May 1991, presented the club with a problem on how to preserve its affiliation to the GUI during the transitional period. Our neighbouring golf clubs won out for us. Beechpark & Castlewarden Golf Clubs allowed us use of their course and clubhouse.
This tradition of close relations is borne out when we give a day over and swap courses each year.
Still known as the Four Lakes Golf Club we were our own landlords. Over the following weeks a large group of volunteer members set about dismantling the paddocks, painting the lodge, which became our clubhouse and bar. Members arrived armed with garden lawnmowers, rakes and truck loads of enthusiasm to cut fairways.
The enthusiasm of all the members was truly infectious.
A tractor and grass cutters were purchased which made short shrift of cutting out fairways, building nine temporary greens and bunkers in and around what had effectively become a building site.
By July 1991, we had engaged Dr Arthur Spring to design our course and developer James Hickey with an estimated cost of construction at £300,000 punts. N.B. The average semi-detached house in Dublin was selling for about £40,000 punts or €50,000 (euro’s). The old Victorian hunting Lodge with its high ceilings and attractive features became the members Clubhouse.
The small matter of paying the professional fees to course architect Dr. Arthur Spring and the developer James Hickey as they worked on the project still remained. The plan to finance this ambitious project was put together by the finance committee as follows – 375 full members @ 1,500 punts each. = 562,000 punts. 150 Lady Associates @ 375 punts = 56,250 punts, from each member. Having 135 full members and 75 Lady associate members initially, this was going to be a massive undertaking, but yet again the members were up to the task.
So the members and committee set about the task of recruiting new members. Leaflets were printed, volunteers were assembled, a strategy was drawn up and leaflets were to be distributed in Naas, Celbridge, Clondalkin, Lucan, Tallaght, Templeogue, and Blessington, followed by meetings in local hotels.
New Course Plans
The name FOUR LAKES GOLF CLUB was synonymous with its previous location at Killeen Beg near Sallins Co. Kildare. A motion was put to the members at the clubs A.G.M in 1991, to change this. The meeting opened up to suggestions and the following are a few examples put forward for consideration. Pine Springs Golf Club, Craddockstown Lodge Golf club and another was Five Lakes Golf Club.
Finally after much discussion it was decided, by a large majority, to adopt Craddockstown Golf Club as our official name.
Opening the Course
Having allowed the greens and fairways to mature with our ambitious tree-planting programme, it was very exciting when the day arrived in July 1994, when the course would finally open. The day before our first ever Open Week.
The belief that our members had in themselves was the winning factor in bringing Craddockstown Golf Club into existence and it will also be instrumental in building for the future.
T.A. Kenny, Past President
I am only too aware of the massive input required, in terms of finance and time, to produce a club of the calibre of Craddockstown. I welcome the club to the GUI.
John O`Reilly, President GUI 1994
As a lover of Golf, a Kildare man and as Minister for Tourism & Trade, it gives me great pleasure to welcome this wonderful development and to extend my very best wishes to all who are associated with it.
Charlie McCreevy T.D
By any standard this was a brave venture….a dream borne out of ambitious conversation. I share a sense of pride that all our members feel. My thanks to that fine band of people who serve on the clubs committees and who unselfishly commit so much of their time and effort on behalf of us all.
Jack O`Connor, Captain 1994
It is worth noting also that at this time the club extended its membership to include a Junior Club in 1994 to facilitate the younger generation.
Back row L to R: E Meghan, N Stokes, R Burke, L Carrol, C Lowry, N Phelan, A Gaynor,
Front row L to R: A Barrett, E Flynn (Hon Sec), D Brennan (Lady Captain) E Corrigan (Lady Vice-Captain), M Doyle (Hon Registrar).
Back row L to R: F O’Reilly, R Harrington, M O’Reilly, P Corrigan, C Gordon (Hon treasurer), T Hutchinson, T Fox, J Quinn,
M O’Donnabhain, L O’Maolaodha, J O’Neill (Hon treasurer parent club)
Front row L to R: F Lynskey (Hon sec parent club), J Garrigan (Vice captain), M Geraghty (chairman parent club) J O’Connor (Captain),
TA Kenny (President), W O’Connor, KRoche, M Fitzpatrick,
Inserts: P Brown (Hon sec), F Donaghy (Hon Registrar), J Slevin.
The New Clubhouse
The first step was to engage a team of architects and Conway Crowe and Kelly produced the drawings with architect Danny Kelly overseeing the work. With the demolition of the stables the weathervane that had long been a landmark in the area was saved and now stands as a feature on the new clubhouse.
The new clubhouse was opened by Minister Charley McCreevy T.D cutting the ribbon in 1999.
Not content that the full potential of the club had delivered and with the membership reaching capacity, the committee in 1999 looked at all aspects of the Golf club to see where if any, improvements could be made to compliment the very successful clubhouse development. The committee identified the only area of the club that needed improvement was the Golf course itself. Robert Jones was engaged, who had designed many fine golf courses both in Ireland and abroad. The fine tuning included changing the 1st to a Par 5, a new 2nd green, relocation of the 13th green, enlarging and introducing new bunkers with additional lakes fed from new streams.
On 19th June 2004 after redevelopment, the full course was officially opened to members & visitors. Today the fruits of labours from past and existing members can be enjoyed by all. The vision of Craddockstown is held in trust for future generations to enjoy. A tale of courage and achievement, created by pioneers.