HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Nottingham Irish Golf Society was founded in the Autumn of 1991 when a meeting was held in the Irish Centre in the city.
The first elected committee was chairman Eamonn Gavigan, secretary Frances Harrison and treasurer Eamonn Harrison. Amongst those at the inaugural meeting were Aidan Comerford, Padraic Sweeney, Willie Tunney, Tony Molloy, Jimmy Greaney, Jim McEwan, Harry Adamson, Des O’Grady, Michael Diver, Alf Halton, Frank Duggan and Paul Curtis.
During October, November and December of 1991, the members played a number of Texas Scrambles at Springwater and Cotgrave Place Golf Club (now The Nottinghamshire) to help the new golfers get the Society up and running.
Eamonn Gavigan was elected the first captain in 1992 and also acted as the first handicap secretary.
The first official competition was played at Oxton Golf Club (now Oakmere Park) for the John Friel Trophy. The trophy had been donated by the Irish Centre following the death of John, who had been the treasurer at the centre.
Soon after, McCanns Lighting, Allied Irish Bank, Silverdale Coaches and Copper Cable were amongst other sponsors who came on board
Following a full programme of events that season, the Society held its first annual presentation dinner and dance at the Gateway Hotel in Nuthall that November.
The Society went from strength to strength and, at the AGM of 1993, voted to join the English Union of Irish Golf Societies.
In the May of that year, the Society played in their first National Championships in Cleveland where Tony Molloy took third prize in the nett section.
Further national successes followed. Eamonn Gavigan won the gross individual prize at Leeds in 2000 and the Society team finished runners-up in both the team event the foursomes knock-out.
Two years later, Nottingham hosted the National Championships, which were sponsored by McCanns Lighting, at Ruddington Grange where Noel Henry took third prize in the gross section.
In 2006 we were once again the beaten finalists in the foursomes at The Leicestershire however, a year later in Sheffield we tasted victory for the first time when we won the foursomes championship and finished third in the team event.
A couple of years later we resigned from the Union when it lost it’s way after some financial problems.
In 1993 we also went on our first tour to Ireland. Sixteen golfers travelled in two transit vans to Bettystown, playing in Hollyhead before sailing on the ferry. We travelled Thursday to Monday back then, playing 36 holes each day.
Since then the tour has become of one of the main events of the year for the Society.
Frank Duggan scored the Society’s first hole-in-one in competition during the tour to Clare in 2007.
In 1996, Padraic Sweeney hosted the first Kidney Research Fundraising day at Ruddington Grange. By then Padraic had started to struggle with his health, sadly dying in 2000 but his legacy has helped the Society raise over £200,000, some of which has been donated to the Renal Units at the Nottingham City Hospital, the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.
Numerous other worthy causes and those less well off than the rest of us have also benefitted from monies raised, thanks to the generosity of Ruddington Grange Golf Club, who give the course free, McCanns Lighting, who sponsor the event every year, and those who have supported the competition by playing in it on the last Bank Holiday Sunday in May every year.