Kearney remodels Irish courses


Kearney remodels Irish courses
Sean Dudley

Irish architect Ken Kearney is working on renovations at two very different courses in his home country.

At Grange Golf Club, in Rathfarnham, Dublin, originally designed in 1926 by James Braid, Kearney is remodelling the course’s bunkers. The club celebrates its centenary in 2010, and the project aims to reinstate many of Braid’s original bunkers, following the discovery of aerial photography from the 1950s.

“A bunker audit showed the shortcomings in design, construction techniques and lost strategies,” said Kearney. “We gave a presentation to the membership and the proposal to remodel the bunkers was agreed unanimously.” Work started in January and the bunkers opened for play on 1 May.

Grange is Paul McGinley’s home course, and also has as a member Dr David Sheahan, until last week the most recent amateur winner of the Irish Open. Sheahan will be the club’s president in its centenary season.

In Limerick, Kearney is remodelling bunkers and greens complexes, building a short game practice area and an all-new ninth hole at Rathbane GC, the city’s first municipal golf course. Rathbane opened in 1998 and is managed on behalf of the local council by Mack Trading, a company which also has golf course interests in the UK.

The Rathbane upgrade is part of the regeneration of part of the city of Limerick. “The area has a reputation for unsociable activities but the community is making great strides to create a better environment for kids and golf is integral to that goal,” said Kearney. “The club and management company are heavily involved in promoting the First Tee program and the new short game areas will be of huge benefit to this work in introducing the golfers to our game.”

Work is expected to finish in mid-June. Because of the high volume of play the course’s tees were in poor shape, so all remodelled features were built to USGA specifications.