Family service with a smile is one offer you can’t refuse at Cregmore Park
An offer you can’t refuse conjures up images of towering figures in fedoras that leave severed horse heads at the end of your bed. For Catherine McGrath, one of the most impressive business people you are likely to meet, it was a happy event that marked the end of her career in the free-range egg business and the start of a whole new business. which became the Cregmore Park Golf Club. . It’s a wonderful story of good old fashioned habits, family values ââand the benefits of hard work, and it has been a huge boon to golf in the Galway area. Conveniently located just eight kilometers from Galway city center and just five miles from Athenry, Claregalway and Oranmore, the golf course designed by the late Dr Arthur Spring opened in 2007. As the economic crash took hold. quickly followed, he came through those tough times with flying colors and continues to thrive. This is a credit to Ms McGrath, who worked for 21 years as a nurse at Merlin Park University Hospital before cuts to health services cut her work hours and forced her to look for ways. to supplement her income while her husband Murty ran their mixed farm on some 200 hectares. âI started a free-range egg business in 1992, and grew and cultivated it for the next 16 years,â says Catherine. âThe boom was on and I got an offer for the company that I just couldn’t refuse. âWe had a big company that supplied eggs from free-range hens all over the west, and we basically got an offer of a few million and we just invested it in creating the golf course, to be honest. âThe kids were all graduating back then, and farming is not a business for young people because you never know when your money is coming in. âSo we built the course on what was a family farm, and voila, the recession came in February 2008. So it was a rough start. It was a blessing that the family could row behind us – two boys and four girls going through college at the same time. “As we used to say during the recession, it could only get better and better, especially over the past two years.”
The family were fortunate to have chosen the architect of the course – “a peerless gentleman” – as Dr. Spring created a spacious par-72 on 180 acres measuring 7,088 yards from the blues and 5,635 yards from the red tees. .
Arranged in two loops of nine, each with two par five and two par three, no more than two consecutive holes run in the same direction, making for a varied and grueling examination of the game, with an emphasis on direct hits.
“The 18 holes will require precision and strategic placement of every shot on this course,” said the course designer, struggling to pick a favorite from so many powerful holes.
âThat said, the 16th par-3, with the lake spanning the distance from the tee to the semi-island green, offers a wonderful spectacle and is sure to introduce a good element of excitement. Suffice it to say that with a good map in your pocket, this hole will put your nerves to the test.
He continues: âThe day I visited the site for the first time, I knew there was a special atmosphere. When members and visitors experience it, they will want to return to Cregmore Park regularly. “
He proved he was right, as the initial number of 65 souls rose to around 600, with the course and driving range in the heart of a busy catchment area.
The course has grown enormously lately following the appointment of greenkeeper Damien McLaverty to a team that also includes Catherine’s son Ronan.
âWhen it first opened the course had a lot of weather issues with snow and flooding at that time, but it really happened,â said male captain Dinny Monaghan. âWe had a huge influx of members and everyone congratulated the club on the course. Damien McLaverty has been very, very good, and Catherine McGrath is a fantastic businesswoman. She’s there seven days a week behind the counter.
The club’s 10-bay covered driving range is a big plus, and the whole operation is a constant hive of activity with Catherine still at the helm, making plans to build a new lane and complete a major training program. tree planting on the course.
âI don’t want to sound my own trumpet, but there is a lot of family buzz around the place,â she says. âIt’s a family place and there is no effort to create that atmosphere. The members all appreciate it, and even during the recession most of our members stayed with us and the younger ones who had to leave because of work or other things came back to us. So we have to do something right because the course is improving at a steady pace.
The club did not stand still during the lockdown, with Catherine leading operations – painting, decluttering and general tidying up as course renovations and daily maintenance continued.
As for getting into golf, this is the only offer she has turned down so far.
“I just wouldn’t have the patience,” she admits with a chuckle. “If the ball didn’t go into the hole, I would have gone!”