Tom Morris (Tom Mitchell
Morris Sr.) (16 June 1821 24 May 1908)
- Royal County Down Golf Club
("RCDGC") - 16-17 July 1889 Exhibition Match against
Alec Day, the Belfast professional. Old Tom scored an easy victory
over his younger opponent.
The RCDGC commissioned Old Tom
Morris to travel over from St. Andrews for a sum not to
exceed £4 to inspect what existed and advise on
a second nine. Tom Morris had suggested that the course had
the potential to be of the best in the Kingdom. The outcome
of this munificence was that Old Tom spent two days at Royal
County Down in July 1889; three new holes were added immediately
and a further six between the autumn of 1889 and the spring
of 1890. The fact that the full course was ready for play in
July 1890 is proof that golf course design in those days was
most unlike the modern methodology and that, like most great
links courses, Royal County Down was created from the wonderful
natural dune-land which was already there, without the need
to indulge in any major earth-moving.
1889 - Royal Portrush
Golf Club - 25-26 July 2014 Exhibition Match against Alec Day,
the Belfast professional. Well over 100 spectators turned out
the see the match. Day was to prove too consistent against his
sixty-eigth year old opponent and eventually won the match by
three and one. Old Tom was advising the County Club on the layout
of the course and he took a steamer from Portrush back to Scotland.
1891 - In 1891, while
a guest of Lord Leitrim at his nearby estate...
Old Tom Morris of St.
Andrews, a winner of four British Opens in the 1860s,
took a drive to enjoy the Donegal scenery. Morris was quick
to see the golfing potential of this fine stretch of Donegal
coast line and before returning to the home of golf he had
staked-out the first Rosapenna Links, incorporating wide rolling
fairways amidst the undulating terrain and of course those
Back at St. Andrews, Old
Tom was quick to tell of his discovery and so it was that
Rosapenna became a place of pilgrimage for golfers at the
turn of the century. Amongst those to follow were two other
great golfing champions Harry Vardon and James Braid who won
11 British Open titles between them. They added length and
more detailed bunkering but were wise enough to leave those
wonderful natural greens.
1894 - In June 1894 Old
Tom Morris visited Dollymount. Petrie teamed up with Anthony
Brown, the local professional, to play against Thomas Gilroy
and Old Tom Morris but the honours were shared as Old Tom's
approaches to the green in the back nine helped the Morris/Gilroy
partnership get back on level terms. In the book, The Life of
Tom Morris, the following day (Thursday) a return match was
played, which ended in a win for the captain (Gilroy) and the
visitor by 1 hole. "Is there need to add," says a
report, "that all the members of the Club gave a hearty
welcome to the grand old champion, that we look forward to another
visit from him soon, and that he departed with good wishes for
his success at Sandwich during the Championship Meeting?".
It had been proposed by Mr Petrie that Old Tom Morris be engaged
to lay out the course at Dollymount but in the end it was John
Lumsden who took on task.
Playing on the evening
of his arrival at Dollymount, with Brown, the professional,
Tom went round in 88 an excellent score, and one that,
with knowledge of the links, might easily have been under
80. On Wednesday the veteran golfer and Mr Gilroy (the captain
of the club) played Brown and Mr Petrie. The match was halved;
and on Thursday a return match was played, which ended in
a win for the captain and the visitor by I hole. " Is
there need to add," says a report, "that all the
members of the Club gave a hearty welcome to the grand old
champion, that we look forward to another visit from him soon,
and that he departed with good wishes for his success at Sandwich
during the Championship Meeting?
1894 - Old Tom was greeted
by a "brisk and hale, from Lahinch, in the county of Clare
(where he had just laid out a capital links of 18 holes), and
from Killarney Lakes." Alexander Shaw had, at his own expense,
invited Old Tom to look over Lahinch to suggest improvements.
James McKenna was the professional at Lahinch and it was likely
his graft that brought Morris's suggestions to fruition. Lahinch
has been referred to as the St. Andrew's of Ireland whether
through it connection with Old Tom Morris or the love of golf
within the community.
1903 - The choice of
the Club fell on Hugh Hamilton, late of North Berwick, and at
the date of his appointment green-keeper at Portmamock, Ireland.
W. W. Tulloch: The Life of Tom
Morris With Glimpses of St Andrew's and its Golfing Celebrities
Harry McCaw and Brum Henderson:
Royal County Down Golf Club - The First Century
Enda Glynn: A Century of Golf
at Lahinch 1892 - 1992
Pat Ruddy: Beyond His Lordship's
Wildest Dream - Rosapenna