Evolving from a testing nine hole stretch in 1910, which was masterfully crafted by renowned course designer G.L. Bailie, Omagh upgraded to an 18-hole course in 1983. Under the expert design of Don Patterson, professional and golf architect, the new-look Omagh soon established itself as one of the province’s finest parkland courses.
Well-publicised visits from Ireland golfing legend, Christy O’Connor Jnr, and multiple-major winner, Nick Faldo, with both men commenting on the test posed by Omagh, gave an indication of the club’s progression in the 1980’s. An ever-expanding membership base allowed for the growth of a vibrant youth section, and most recent graduates include Canadian PGA professional, Gareth Raflewski, and Jamega Tour golfer, Nial Kearns. Nial, who turned professional upon reaching a +1 handicap after considerable success as an amateur, describes his home course as “a brilliant test”.
“Having played all around the world and now playing some of England’s best courses on the Jamega Tour, I still love getting back to Omagh. It’s a thinking course; and one that requires you to use all of the shots in your bag – it’s a brilliant test. It was a great patch to learn my trade on and nowhere else in this side of the country would you get greens which are in as good a condition. People always refer to the quality of greens when they play a course for the first time; and they won’t be disappointed when they come to Omagh,” said the former Ulster Boys champion.
The course, which plays home to over 600 members, is regularly selected to host Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) events. Famed for its demanding par fours and fast-paced greens, Omagh offers a test of golf that is unrivalled in West Tyrone. The Drumragh River features extensively in the front nine holes, and members will testify to the challenge posed by the mid-way section where golfers ‘aim’ to avoid the ominous trap.
The back nine holes, which is superbly finished by a teasing par four along a stretch of forest, afford patrons fabulous views of Omagh and beyond. A substantial drainage operation in 2000 has enabled the club to boast a course that remains in exquisite condition for 12 months of the year. A hotly-contested Winter League and regular society outings in January and February stand as testament to the course’s year-round durability.