Letterkenny Golf Club have made an historical entry into their history books by electing their first Lady President.
The honour goes to well-knwon club stalwart Anne Condon who will take up the position as the 2015 club President.
This event was made possible by a proposal, carried in 2011, that a committee, made up of representatives of ladies and gents, would make recommendations to the Parent Club for selection of the post of President.
And therefore, it was with the greatest of joy and pleasure, that Anne’s nomination was accepted.
Since relocating from Dublin in 1990 to Golf Course Road, Letterkenny, it was inevitable that Anne, a sportswoman of talent in Dublin having played cricket for the famous Phoenix Cricket Club, reputedly the sixth oldest cricket club in the world, and also playing hockey for the Old Alex Hockey Club, would “fancy” partaking in another sport and what better hobby than golf, with the local golf course practically on her doorstep.
Anne states, “At the time, Dermot and myself thought that the golf club was exclusively for members but, it was only when a friend of our’s invited Dermot down to watch a rugby match in 1991 that we realized that the club was open to membership and therefore, we joined” Anne recalls with laughter, tinged with sadness, that the first person to greet them as members was Michael Diffley, with whom they had remained friends until Michael’s sad passing a few years back. Indeed, Michael had chosen Dermot as his vice captain in 2007.
Even though Anne was just a beginner in mid-90’s, she elected to become one of a small band of lady members who opted to take out full membership of the club.
She also recalls that “I was too scared [embarrassed] to ask any of the lady members to show me the game so I tortured a few of our new friends such as Michael Boucher-Hayes and Michael Boyd. I soon realized how wrong I was about the other lady members for, when they learned that I was also a member, and a beginner, they were abundant in their willingness to help me and make both Dermot and myself so welcome, not only as club members but also socially. Another new “lady beginners” member at that time was Angela Kilgallen whom I became firm friends with and we still play golf together to this day”.
Previous to moving from Dublin, Anne had been appointed the first female honorary officer of the cricket club and therefore, it was inevitable that she would eventually “take up” a position within the golf club.
In 2003 Anne, by then a member of the parent club and previously a sub committee member which overseen the opening of the new clubhouse, took up the post of Bar Convenor.
“This gave me the honour of being the first female honorary officer of the parent club in the club’s history so, remembering the coincidence with the cricket club, I was overwhelmed”
Since then, Anne’s list of posts are “arm-length”. Parent committee, ladies club committee, handicap secretary, beginners’ convenor, p.r.o. and, most recently, ladies’ secretary.
“I remember once during my tenure as bar convenor that I was left with the task of stocking, staffing and running the bar. This was in addition to my day job with Letterkenny Chamber. It was good “craic” but, without the help of members such as Pat Coleman, Seamus Farren and the late Joe Foley, I would never have survived!”
Another milestone in Anne’s association with the club arrived in 1999 when Letterkenny hosted the Ladies Irish Open. Through the chamber, there was the organizing of the players’ accommodation, working with all the hotels, guest houses etc.
“It was fabulous to witness the generosity of local members, families and friends who opened up their homes to players, officials and guests to such an historic event in the club’s history”.
“My most prestigious honour within the club to date has been my election to Lady Captain in 2011”, states Anne.
“But I must admit that my most daunting task has been the project I undertook in 2013, our centenary year, which I believe was “daunting” to say the least. I asked that each lady committee member would complete a square depicting their golf memories, and these squares were then sewn together to form a small quilt which is now framed and hung in the clubhouse, a lasting contribution to the centenary celebrations”.
The Condon family contribution to Letterkenny Golf Club does not lay with Anne only.
Dermot Condon, Anne’s husband, has served the club dilligently over the years. From his time on the mens’ and parent committees, Dermot has also “reigned” as club captain in 2008 and in recent years as a very helpful and efficient subscriptions secretary.
Their son Garret, a well renowned junior and student golfer in Donegal who has played in numerous club teams, had practically “grown up” on the course. Being friends with Neil Daniel Mc Cole, son of the then club caretakers Niall and Clare Mc Cole, Garret also worked in the bar area, in the restaurant and, before it’s demise, in the old shop with Sean and Ann Boyle. Before his departure to Galway for employment, Garret also worked in the club’s pro shop with PGA Professional Seamus Clinton.
“As you can see”, says Anne, “Letterkenny Golf Club has played a large part in our lives, and will do for a long time yet. The friends that we have made through golf, and the club, has been upmost to our settling into life in Letterkenny, and it is here that we now consider to be our forever home. The club Presidency is a great honour for me and I recognize that there are other members, both ladies and men, who probably deserve the position more than I, but I feel privileged to be able to accept and would like to thank all my relations and friends whose council I sought and who gave me the courage to accept”
Anne’s appointment as Letterkenny’s 23rd President, an honour for which she is both extremely proud yet humbled by, will ensure that the prestige and high standard of professionalism that has become synonymous with Letterkenny Golf Club will remain in safe hands during 2015.Tags: