Founded in 1891, the Golfing Union of Ireland is the oldest golfing union in the world.
The nine original clubs, which formed the Union, were located in Ulster, but golf in Ireland at the time of the establishment of the Union was not confined to that province.
In all, 28 'greens', as golf courses were then designated, had been opened for play by the time the Union was founded on 12th October 1891.
The Ladies Golf Union was founded in 1893, as was also the Irish Ladies Golf Union. The United States Golf Association followed in 1894; the Welsh Golf Union came next in 1895, and not until after the First World War did the Scottish Golf Union in 1920 and the English Golf Union in 1924 join the circle.
Golf in those early years was enjoyed by comparatively small groups, and while the number of clubs gradually grew, the staging of the Canada Cup, now known at the World Cup in Ireland at Portmarnock Golf Club in 1960, really set the scene alight in Ireland.
More and more new golf courses opened throughout the country to meet the demand of the golf-hungry enthusiasts, and even today that trend is continuing at an ever growing pace.
For example, there were 248 golf clubs affiliated to the Golfing Union in 1986, catering for 123,000 golfers. Today there are 430 affiliated clubs, with over 150,000 members..
In addition there are many public pay-as-you pay courses throughout the country, and the Golfing Union of Ireland, as part of its aims to promote and develop the game has provided financial assistance to the building of many of these courses through means of grants and interest free loans.
In order to ensure that the game enjoys a very high standard in this country, and that our players can compete with the best in international competition, the Golfing Union of Ireland has a Junior Golf & High Performance Committee which arranges regular training and coaching Boys and Senior panels.
The success of our Coaching programmers can be gauged by the marvelous performances of our leading lights on the European professional Tour, most of whom have graduated through the ranks of our structure, notably three time major winner Padraig Harrington, the 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell and the reigning US Open and Open Champions Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.
The rvices at central office, all the various sub committees, and the four Provincial Branches are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the game are covered for the benefit of its affiliated clubs and their members.
Inter-club tournaments are organised at all levels of handicaps in addition to the many championships for the different age groups.
This has all led to a major tourist attraction for have helped in no uncertain manner to boost the Irish economy as a result of their regular and growing visits to a country which is now firmly established as one of the world's golf havens.