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Cuan Golf Club, Strangford, County Down. (1921 - 1948)

First appeared in 1921.

The club was officially opened by Lady Bangor. 

One of the founder members of the club in 1921 was Hadley Quayle.

The secretary in the early 1920s was J W MacMurray, Strangford, County Down. The green-keeper was J Dougharty.  A 9-hole course with a membership of about 90 and a SSS of 66. Course record holders were, amateur P McMullan with a score of 71 and professional J Ervine 70. Visitors’ fees were 2/- a day. Sunday play allowed without caddies. The station at Downpatrick was 7 miles away.

Hole in one in March 1923.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford. Hole in one at Cuan in March 1923.

From the Belfast News-Letter Friday 30th March 1923. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Below a report on the annual meeting held in March 1929.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford. Report on the annual meeting held in March 1929.

From the Belfast News-Letter Monday 4th March 1929. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


From the 1933 Golfer's Handbook; Hon. secretary, J W MacMurray; green-keeper, Jimmy Taggart; course records - amateur, P McMullan, 71; professional, J Ervine, 70; visitors' fees, 1s/6d a day, 2s Sunday.

Below opening of the new clubhouse in March 1938.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford. Report on the opening of the new clubhouse March 1938.

From the Belfast News-Letter Tuesday 7th March 1938. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1940 membership stood at 75. The long serving Mr MacMurray was still secretary, the pro was now M McConville, and the green-keeper was J Polley. Records were (a) 65 A Patterson; (p) 64 M McConville Par 68. Visitors’ fees had reduced to 1s 6d per day and 2s on Sundays.

The annual meeting was held in the clubhouse in March 1940. Reports showed that the club was in a sound position; the course had been improved. The following appointments were made; Captain, Dr. P J Moore; hon. secretary, J W MacMurray; hon.treasurer, H A Campbell. 

It was reported in June 1945 that "Cuan Golf Club wish to inform visitors that the course is in excellent playing condition and open for bookings. Arrangements can be made with the following; P J McHenry (Captian,) F G G Quayle (Hon. Secretary.)"

From 1947 to the clubs disappearance in the mid 1950s the joint secretaries were F G G Quayle and R C Watson the green-keeper was J Polley. The 9-hole course had a SSS of 66 and a Par of 68. Course records held by, amateur A Patterson 65, professional M Mc Conville 64. Visitors’ fees were now 1/6 a day, 2/- on Sundays.

Below the sad end, selling clubhouse and course equipment.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford. The club has reached the end in October 1948.

From the Belfast News-Letter Tuesday 5th October 1948. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


I would like to thank Noel Johnston for helping with our research. He is related to Hedley Quayle, one of the founders of the club. Noel brought to our attention an article written by Godfrey Quayle, thought to be the son of Hedley. Godfrey was an excellent golfer and a member of the Cuan Golf Club. The following are edited extracts from his article:-

Among the visionaries who were responsible for the idea of a golf club were; Senan Sharvin, Hedley Quayle, Paddy McMullan and J W MacMurray.

Permission was gained to lay out a course from the landowners, Lady Una Ross and Major Head, on 30 acres of land adjacent to Downpatrick Road.

Work was soon underway on the construction of the course and with the building of a clubhouse. Machinery was purchased and a groundsman by the name of  Jimmy Taggart was appointed to start work on the laying out of the course. A lot of local interest was shown and the club membership soon exceeded 50. Most members were new to the game so the committee decided to appoint Johnny Irvine as an “instructor” to help members with the basics of the game. The official opening of the course took place in early 1922. 

Apart from the regular monthly competitions the following trophies were played for; Hamill Cup, Angus Cup, Cuan Cup and the Tom Jones Cup. The big competition of the year was Captain’s Day, alongside the Captain’s Prize many other competitions were played on the day. This was followed by a dance in the Cuan Village Hall.

As with many clubs finances were tight and many fund raising events were necessary to supplement the annual subscriptions paid by members, they were; dances, raffles, sales of work, concerts, etc. Sunday golf was permitted after morning service in the local church.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford, Plan of the nine-hole Cuan Golf Course.

Plan of the course. The first tee is top right of the layout.


Hole measurements on the above plan; Hole One – 279 yards; Two – 279 yards; Three – 427 yards; Four – 120 yards; Five – 241 yards; Six – 242 yards; Seven – 139 yards; Eight – 168 yards; Nine – 263 yards. 

Godfrey Quayle writes - “During the period 1925 to 1939 the club made steady progress with an increase of visitors, especially at weekends. The bulk of the membership came from the village with others fom Portaferry, Kilclief, Downpatrick and Ballywooden. The men’s section was quite strong, probably the best player was Phil Boyle. He was British Isles Police champion. Other players with handicap of 10 or below were; Mick McCormick, Gerry Curran, Jim McBride, Harry Burnett, Robbie Curran, Paddy Corrigan, my brother Herbert, Ivan Burke and myself.

Paddy and Ivan were renowned for play-acting on Captain’s Day. They set up as a bookie and his clerk, opened a book and laid odds. Whether they made money or lost, I don’t know but, like most bookies, they probably made a shilling or two. It was good fun and much appreciated (see pictures below.)


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford, County Down. Having a flutter on Captain's Day..


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford, County Down. Having a flutter on Captain's Day..


During 1938 there was talk of war, so much so that many Belfast families moved to the country. Some of these people joined the club and very welcome they were, they contributed a great deal both to the club and the village.

In June 1944, the club captain, Tom Jones, had a number of guests spending the week-end at his home. Amongst them was Fred Daly, the Ulster Professional Champion. An exhibition match was arranged when I partnered Fred. Quite a gallery followed us around the eighteen-holes (par 68.) Fred took 31 and 33 while I had scores of 32 and 34.


Cuan Golf Club, Strangford, County Down. Scorecards from the match between Fred Daly and Godfrey Quayle.

Scorecards of the exhibition match between Godfrey Quayle and Fred Daly.


After 1941, I had little or no contact with Cuan as my work based me in Belfast and later in Enniskillen. I understand that two substantial increases in rent precipitated the closure of the club in 1946 or 1947.

I only know that after the closure the clubhouse was sold to a Miss Rankin. Various club artefacts disappeared; for example the various minute books and the Captain’s Board.

The closure of the club was a great loss to the village and those enthusiastic members.”