Rathfarnham is home to several notable historic buildings, including Rathfarnham Castle and Loreto Abbey. At Loreto Abbey, Mother Teresa of Calcutta entered religious life in 1928 at 18 years of age. Padraig Pearse establised St. Enda's School, which is now a museum in his honour situated in St. Enda's Park.
Marlay Park, which adjoins Grange Golf Club, is a popular amenity of 300 acres attracting over 1 million visits each year. Popular country markets, music concerts, the miniature railway, the Regency walled gardens and Tamplin's Cottage are among the feature attractions. Colonel Bob Tamplin who resided in the latter was Captain of Grange Golf Club in 1925.
Some milestones in Grange Golf Club history
An enthusiastic group meet inthe home of Rev. Mr. Henry Cave in Garville Avenue and decide to form a club. Land leased from Mr. Douglas Rowelly, then owner of Marlay Grange. Major Guinness elected President. Original 9 holes laid out by Tom Hood, Professional at Royal Dublin. 150 men and 90 ladies made up the early membership.
James Braid commences his commission at Grange Golf Club.
Bobby Locke and Morman Von Nida play famous exhibition at Grange with Club Pro Joe Carroll and Harry Bradshaw.
Irish Professional Championship played at Grange. Field includes Harry Bradshaw, the winner and Fred Daly.
Philip Love elected Captain in this Golden Jubilee year.
Irish Close Championship held at Grange, won by David Sheahan of the home club, to the delight of his fellow members.
New Clubhouse officially opened by Paul McGinley.
James Braid's family members visit Grange Golf Club
In the summer of 1909 Mr.J.O’Brien Butler laid a rough 9 hole golf course on the slopes of Kilmashogue. Interest was high but many disliked the idea of a proprietory club. So the first steps to form a "real" club were taken in the home of Rev. Mr.Henry Cave in Garville Avenue. Land was selected at Marley Grange and the owner Mr.Douglas Rowely granted a 21 year lease in July 1910.
Major Guinness was elected President and a Mr. McGlue was appointed professional at 18/- a week! Club membership was fixed at 150 men and 90 lady associates and preference was given to the former members of Kilmashogue Club. The course was ready for play, which almost did not take place because Mr.Rowley sold Marley Grange to a Mr.Somers who needed land for horses. Fortunately, Mr.Somers was a keen golfer, and he promised to seed the land south of the ditch at the 17th fairway with permanent grass in return for the ground he required. The first AGM was held in the Engineers Hall in Dawson Street. By 1913 the new ground was fit for play.
Of the original course, only the 1st, 2nd and 18th holes still remain. A new rival in the form of Castle Club appeared in Rathfarnham. A proposal to amalgamate was turned down by Grange members although 25 members left Grange for Castle.
McGlue resigned as professional and was replaced by Michael Cahill from Skerries – the only one alleged to have beaten Michael Moran "in a blood match". In this year the successful ecumenical Barton Cup partnership of Rev. Fr Cave and Father Behan is also recorded.
During the war labour was scarce and it was a common sight to see members cutting the grass and nettles. The Secretary also noted that "Mr.Ernest Lewis sold the horse for £50." This was a money making transaction for the club when money was badly needed. "A donkey was bought for use on the course". The first Captain’s dinner took place in Jammett’s (then the Empire Buffet) but proceedings had to be curtailed as everyone had to be home before Curfew hour.
In 1922 Mr.Tedcastle who owned the adjoining estate of Marley died and it became known that it would be for sale in lots or as a whole. The Grange managed to put up a £6,000 offer but it was not accepted and the land was bought by Mr. R.K.Love who immediately offered land to the club on long lease. The fortunes of Grange seemed to have changed for the better. The neighbouring Col. Clarke also became more amenable with his land offering a 25 year lease. Also a similar lease for the outer 9 was granted by Mr. Love. The constuction of the ‘outer 9’ took place in 1925, organised by the Captain, Col. Bob Tamplin. At the AGM a proposal to spend £995 to extend the clubhouse was passed, the alterations to the clubhouse were completed and the 18 hole course was officially opened on 26th September 1935.
It was realised that the full potential of the outer 9 was not being developed and the famous James Braid was invited to re-design the course as it is today. The principal features he developed were the planting of spinneys, making the 6th hole a "one shotter" (it used to be a par 4 into the practice area), and the construction of the 13th green. The AGM approved the plan and work proceeded through 1928 and 1929. In the latter, Jack Gaffney was appointed professional. Mr. Love was appointed Captain. He bought the land of the 'Inner 9' from Col.Clarke and granted the club a new lease of the whole course for 100 years. It was this lease which formed the basis on which Mr.Love’s son Philip concluded the final deal for the outright sale of the lands to the Club on generous terms in 1967.
In 1937 a member was struck with a golf ball on the forehead while playing the fifth hole. He took the club to court for compensation but lost on the grounds that a member could not sue himself. In 1939 World War II had started and barrels had to placed on the fairways to prevent them being used as airstrips.
In 1940 Bill Reade set the course record at 69. This lasted until bettered by Paddy Keatley in 1950 with a 68. In this year the Irish Professional Championship was played in Grange but no one could beat the course record, even though both Harry Bradshaw and Fred Daly had 68’s, the latter taking three putts on the 18th. Jack Gaffney retired and was replaced by Joe Carroll. During Larry Murray’s captaincy, a major clubhouse extension including a new billiards room was completed at a cost of £9,000.
In 1960 It was a fitting tribute that Philip Love should be Captain for the Golden Jubilee year. Joe Carroll resigned to go to South Africa and was succeeded by the very popular Watty Sullivan. David Sheahan posted a new course record of 65 which is still the course record at present (his card containing only 3's and 4's). The Grange was chosen as the venue for the Irish Close Championship. It added to the satisfaction of everybody when David Sheahan won the Championship, beating Mark Bloom from the adjacent club of Edmondstown on the 18th green in the final.
Between 1970 and 1974 the club was continuosly under threat of motorways in the vicinity of the Grange, which would need a substantial portion of club lands. Fortunately in 1975, due to the energy and hard work of the then Captain - Pat Herlihy, 40 acres of land that came up for sale in Marley Grange was approved in an Extraordinary General Meeting at a cost of £120,000. It was the final turn of the wheel of history that the Grange should have purchased the land on which there were three holes of the very first Golf Course built at Marley.