The wonder of Woodbrook
 Woodbrook Golf Club on a sunny November day

Woodbrook Golf Club on a sunny November day

The walls are lined with photgraphs and newspaper cuttings of the great days of yesteryear — the Carroll's International, the revived Irish Open and myriad other big events that saw figures such as Tom Watson, Max Faulkner, Tony Jacklin, Peter Thomson and Christy O'Connor Snr and Jnr play their parts on the great stage that is Woodbrook Golf Club.

As the club’s 75th anniversary book so eloquently puts it: “It is an oasis bounded by unrivalled views of the Irish Sea on one side and the blue haze of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains on the other.

"If it wasn't for the DART rattling along between the fairways, tired golfers might succumb to the wafting sea breezes or the heavy pollen-scented air that rolls in waves over the greens on summer evenings.”

 Irish Golf Writers' Championship winner Denis Kirwan with Mark Fearon from sponsors Tipperary Crystal at Woodbrook GC last week.

Irish Golf Writers' Championship winner Denis Kirwan with Mark Fearon from sponsors Tipperary Crystal at Woodbrook GC last week.

Even on a frosty Thursday morning in November Woodbrook retains its charms and as the sun came out on a picture perfect day, not even the assembled hacks of the Irish Golf Writers' Association (IGWA) could fail to enjoy one of Irish golf's spiritual homes.

The occasion was the IGWA Championship for the Mary McKenna Trophy and thanks to Woodbrook's Jim Melody and the generous support of Mark Fearon of Tipperary Crystal, it was another memorable occasion.

Broadcaster Denis Kirwan, "fresh" from spending 11-hours on the tarmac in Abu Dhabi airport on Monday on his way back from the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, claimed the trophy for the first time with 38 points on a countback from RTE's Gary Moran.

Woodbrook remains as enticing a place as ever and next March, the best young collegiate players in the country will be there for the Intervarsity Series. 

 Denis Kirwan with the Mary McKenna Trophy

Denis Kirwan with the Mary McKenna Trophy

As the club website explains, Woodbrook is steeped in history:

"Established in 1921, by Sir Stanley Cochrane as his private club, Woodbrook was first affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1926. Sir Stanley had previously indulged his enthusiasm for cricket at Woodbrook, a fact that is still reflected in the pavilion-style clubhouse and the cricket bell, which tolled the start and finish of play and now hangs in the bar. In olden days the Dublin-Bray train stopped at the club and in the early days of tournament golf, spectators alighted on the course.
"Where the wind has sculpted the trees. Although a flat course, the wind plays a most significant role. When it blows from the North, nine holes are affected, including three out of the last four. When it’s from the South, the tenth plus the par three eleventh, and the par five – 12th, 14th and 16th, all become very difficult long holes. A crosswind from the East affects almost every hole on the course and calls for shot making of the highest calibre. With its configuration of five par threes and five par fives, Woodbrook’s layout is unusual but, in the opinion of those who have played there, it is a championship course in every meaning of the word."
 The famous Woodbrook clubhouse

The famous Woodbrook clubhouse

 Woodbrook with Bray Head in the distance

Woodbrook with Bray Head in the distance