The Royal Dublin Golf Club, founded in 1885, is Ireland's second oldest golf club. It is a private members' club.
The Royal Dublin is an 18-hole links course on Bull Island, Dublin, Ireland, one of the biggest golf clubs in the country. Designed originally by the Harry Colt, the links was extended under the guidance of golf architect Martin Hawtree.
The Royal Dublin Golf Club was instituted at a meeting held at No. 19 Grafton Street in May 1885, pioneered by a Scottish banker - John Lumsden. Originally called Dublin Golf Club, (it received its Royal designation in 1891 - when there were 250 members paying £2 annual subscription - the entrance fee was 8 guineas), it was located near the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. After a year the Club moved to Sutton and finally in 1889 moved to its present home here on the Bull Island (the name is derived from the locality, Clontarf, which in Gaelic is Cluain Tairbh meaning the Bull's Meadow).
Captain William Bligh of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame was, in the early 19th century, one of those invited to solve the long-standing problems of providing shipping with a safe, straight and deep approach into Dublin. As a result, it was decided to build a sea wall three kilometres out from the shore. The resulting sand bank, Bull Island, still continues to grow. The timber bridge was built in the autumn of 1819 and the Great North Wall, more popularly known as the Bull Wall, was completed by 1823.
The club owns the entire links, covering 65 hectares.
During the First World War, the course was taken over by the military and used as a rifle and artillery range. After the War, the clubhouse was in a very dilapidated condition and the course devastated. With £10,000 compensation, the clubhouse was re-constructed and the links re-designed by H.S. (Harry) Colt, the world famous golf course architect from Sunningdale, in 1920.
On the night of August 2, 1943 the Clubhouse was totally destroyed by fire. Because of delays in finalising development plans for the entire island, it was not until ten years later that the new Clubhouse opened (2 October 1954).
Major extensions were carried out in 1962, 1983, 1993 and 2007. The most recent programme involved extensive redesign and upgrading of the interior of the Clubhouse.
The club is on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. Accessed via an old wooden bridge (or via the modern causeway for tour coaches), Bull Island is a sand bank formed as a result of the construction of a sea wall in the 19th century. The club occupies lands from the causeway to the centre of Bull Island to the Bull Wall, running from Clontarf to Raheny. The clubhouse and main entrance are at the Clontarf end, and a service entrance at the Raheny end. The club owns its grounds, while the rest of the island is city property, and the Wooden Bridge and Bull Wall belong to Dublin Port.
The Royal Dublin has held the Irish Open six times - in 1931, 1936, 1951, 1983, 1984, and 1985. The Royal Dublin hosted the Irish Amateur Open for the first time in 1894, when it was won by J. Ball Jr. of Royal Liverpool and on many occasions since including continuously since 1998 with the exception of three years when the course was undergoing reconstruction. The club regularly welcomes participants in GUI cups and shields.
The club has won the Barton Cup, the most prestigious competition in Leinster golf, on five occasions: for the first time in 1946 and again in 1951, 1967, 1979 and 2006.
In 1890, just five years after its inception, the Club moved to its current home on Bull Island in Dublin Bay. The links made an immediate impact on the golfing world.
Perhaps the greatest pioneer in the history of the game, Old Tom Morris, came to Royal Dublin and played two matches here on June 7, 1894. Also in that year, Royal Dublin hosted its first championship event, the Irish Amateur Open.
In fact the list of great golfers who have played the links is long and distinguished, and includes major winners like Ian Woosnam, Ian Baker Finch, Curtis Strange, Sandy Lyle, Corey Pavin, Bob Charles and Wayne Grady.
In addition, television commentator David Feherty won his first professional tournament at Royal Dublin- The 1980 Irish National PGA Championship. In fact Royal Dublin hosted the tournament from 1978 through 1980 and was won by Christy O'Connor, Des Smyth and David Feherty respectively. The tournament continues to this day as the Irish PGA Championship which was won by Padraig Harrington the week before both of his British Open victories.
Since then the greatest golfers in the world - both professional and amateur - have come to play in some of Ireland's great tournaments at the famed links.
Famous non-professional golfers who have visited the club, include former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the former Presidents of Ireland, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, and the former American President, Bill Clinton.