By Harry Keaney
All 18 holes of the new Irish-American golf course at Union Vale, in Dutchess County, N.Y., will open for play on Friday, June 16.
Nine of the holes were declared open for play last month during a short ceremony which was attended by local officials, those who worked on the course and club officers.
The club’s resident professional, Ciaran Carr, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth, described the opening of all 18 holes as "a wonderful opportunity."
"We are all very excited," he said.
The course, designed by Bronxville, N.Y.-based designer Stephen Kay and built by Clark Companies of Delhi, N.Y., is owned by the 500 members of the Irish Golf Association, each of whom paid $10,000 for their membership.
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The links-style course, off the Taconic Parkway, about an hour’s drive north of Yonkers Raceway, was built on a 200-acre site which the IGA bought toward the end of 1997 for $600,000. The high, rolling site, with views to the distant Catskills, was formerly a farm.
An 18,000-square-foot, two-story clubhouse is currently under construction.
Since a major official opening of the club will take place later, no big names are expected for June 16.
"We’re going to hold off until the grand opening of the clubhouse next spring," Carr said.
But that does not mean that the windy greens at Union Vale might not be graced by some big-time Irish stars. Rumors have been circulating that the visiting Irish soccer team may play at the course. Carr confirmed that enquiries had been made about "the boys" playing at the club.
"We said we would be delighted to have them and we’d look after them," Carr told the Echo Monday. However, he said no further arrangements had been made.