PPUI 1960 - 2010 - 50th Anniversary
A real feel good factor filled the air as the mother Pitch and Putt organisation, the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland, celebrated its Golden Jubilee on Saturday October 9th.
Proceedings started with a Fun competition from 11.00 a.m. at Hillview Pitch & Putt Club in Clonmel, the birthplace of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland. Later that afternoon, a commemorative plaque was unveiled in the Hillview clubhouse.
Everywhere one looked at the Golden Jubilee Dinner Dance at Hotel Minella in Clonmel on Saturday evening there was a Pitch and Putt legend. Paddy Harkins, 1973 President of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland, travelled from his current home in the UK.
Prominent North East politician Tommy Murphy, currently President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Union, regaled his table with tales of his three years as PPUI President in the early 1980s. At another table, three former Presidents, Terry Hayes, Mervyn Cooney and Aidan O'Brien, sat in close conclave.
Top players, past and present, were everywhere. The sprightly Eoin Morrissey, winner of the inaugural National Matchplay in 1961 and 2010 Ladies Strokeplay champion Geraldine Ward bridged the 50 years. Nostalgia abounded as T.J. O'Riordan represented the sixties while Leo O'Reilly was Strokeplay champion in 1979. Chris O'Shaughnessy recalled her Strokeplay championship triumph in the 1980s while Frank O'Donoghue, Rose McCormack and Sean Downes were reminders of stirring deeds in the 1990s. And in addition to the latter, there were many more present day champions - Frank Dineen, Darren Collins, Marian Byrne, William Buckley Junior, Liam O'Donovan, Derry McCarthy and the incomparable Ray Murphy. Most of the current PPUI National Executive were present. Pitch and Putt Union President Myles McMorrow's keynote address struck exactly the correct blend of pride and humility. There were tributes from the Deputy Mayor of Clonmel and from officers of Hillview club before Eamonn Birchall inimitably summarised his five decades involvement in his beloved sport. Eamonn is one of the few personalities still involved in Pitch and Putt, who was close to the discussions which led to the formation of PPUI, fifty years (to the day) earlier.
Representatives of the twenty clubs that were founder members of the PPUI in 1960 and that still exist today proudly received plaques marking that distinction.
EPPA/FIPPA Secretary General and founder of Pitch and Putt in Catalonia, Martin Whitelaw attended with his partner Vivienne. Ed Janssen, the great Dutch Pitch and Putt enthusiast, made the journey from Holland to honour the PPUI.
A beautiful birthday cake, appropriately produced in the Mervyn Cooney baking emporium, was one of many inspired touches delivered by the Organising Committee, which included PPUI Treasurer Breda Brophy and P.R.O. Padraig O'Shea.
Hugely entertaining music was provided by the superb Davitt Showband and the dance floor was full to capacity into the wee small hours, calling to mind the great social occasions of the past.