2016 will be a year to remember for Martin Oliver - as the new Captain of County Armagh Golf Club.
The Armagh man was officially installed to his new role on New Year's Day. At the traditional club inauguration ceremony, outgoing Captain Richard Black presented Martin with his new Captain's blazer. Many club members, officials, family and friends of the new Captain packed the city clubhouse for the formal event which also celebrated a new Club President, Walter Neville.
Since joining County Armagh Golf Club in 1977, Martin has been a stalwart member, and in an official capacity, has been the club's professional convenor and competitions convenor, a post he held for many years. Martin was also was responsible for introducing the online booking system which has been a great asset to the club members.
Now playing off a handicap of nine, left-hander Martin's competitive spirit brought many representative club honours down through the years - as a member of the Sam Rutherford, Carlingford Cup, Jimmy Bruen and Mid-Ulster Senior teams. Together with his daughter Emma – who proudly holds the ladies course record, 69 gross (2011) - he has also represented County Armagh in the All-Ireland and Jack Craig Mixed team competitions.
It is however, in the club's individual match play competitions where Martin has achieved most notable success, beginning with the winning of the Bankers Cup in his very first year as member of County Armagh. His name, as a winner, can also be found engraved on the Hirsh Cup (twice) and the Gerry Lenagh Trophy – two hugely sought after accolades in the club.
In his inauguration address to members Martin said: “I am greatly honoured to be Captain of this historic golf club and I will be forever indebted to the outgoing captain Richard for allowing me this privilege. I feel very humble that I will mentioned in the same breath as past captains of this club and I am determined to continue their legacy.
“The future success however, I believe will be dependent on complete transparency in everything that council decides to do and also more importantly everyone working to the same end. Our main thrust should be togetherness in all aspects. I believe that we can only grow if everyone at the club - both ladies and gents - work together in a common aim for the benefit of club.”
Since his schooldays Martin Oliver has always been a keen sportsman listing among his interests soccer, hurling and gaelic football at which he achieved County honours, and played in an All-Ireland Minors semi-final at Croke Park. He also proudly boasts having played for both Harps and Pearse Ogs, long-time rival clubs in Armagh city!
A former student nurse at St Luke's Hospital and 33 years a Customs and Excise Officer, Martin's work took him to England, Germany and Spain among many global destinations.
When he met and married Helen, nee Daly, and daughter of the 1974 Lady Captain Nell Daly, Martin's association with County Armagh was somewhat cemented in marriage. With wife Helen they had two daughters Carrie and Emma and resided at Victoria Street in the city up until Helen sadly died in 2007.
But affectionately his links with County Armagh Golf Club have remained ever steadfast, and deservingly led to his appointment as the new Captain for 2016.
The 2016 County Armagh Golf Club Captain Martin Oliver (right) and Vice Captain Richard Stewart.
WALTER Neville is the new President of County Armagh Golf Club, taking over from Dr Oliver Woods who has held the post for the past two years.
A packed clubhouse welcomed the new President as he was presented with his new President's blazer at the inauguration on New Year's Day.
Walter Neville (right) the new President of County Armagh Golf Club is presented with his new President's blazer by outgoing President Dr Oliver Woods at the Presidential inauguration on New Year's Day
Walter joined the city club in 1971, and was elevated to Vice-Captain in 1998 before becoming Captain in 1999. For many years he also held the posts of handicap convenor and juvenile convenor.
Now playing off a handicap of 12, Walter has represented County Armagh Golf Club in many competitions down through the years - as a member of the Junior and Senior Cowdy teams, as well as Junior Cup, Rossmore Cup, Carlingford Cup, Jimmy Bruen, Pierce Purcell and Ulster Cup teams.
Married to Mabel for 38 years, and father of Mark who lives in Edinburgh, the Armagh man told club members he was honoured to be President.
“I hope also to continue the good work of recent Captains and Council and my predecessor Dr Oliver Woods to promote the wonderful facilities at County Armagh Golf Club,” he said.
“Importantly I would like to see membership return to the healthy levels we once enjoyed, and particularly to see more junior boys and girls involved in this great sport.”
Away from County Armagh Golf Club, Walter has many interests. Initially it was football and cricket which stirred his sporting involvement locally, but a serious injury at a young age curtailed ambitions.
However, along with his brother Norman, Walter has had a life-long interest in fishing. Today however, he enjoys painting in oils and watercolours and has become a keen model railway enthusiast, using his artistic bent to build landscapes for the ever-growing track at his Drumman Hill home.
Perhaps though, Walter is best known to many in the district and indeed further afield, as a singer in the very popular Neville Cromwell Band and the fact he still enjoys playing the odd gig with friends in the golf club augurs well for an entertaining two years in post as President.
COUNTRY music sensation Mike Denver was singing the praises of County Armagh Golf Club following a recent visit.
A guest of club member Colm Quinn, Mike played the city course and displayed a talent for much more than music, returning a very credible 42 points. The 13-handicapper was thoroughly impressed by the course and its lay-out insisting he would return to play it again on his next visit to the area.
Country Music star Mike Denvir (centre) is pictured with Kieran McAnallen from Armagh City Hotel, County Armagh Golf Club Vice Captain Marty Oliver, Club Hon. Secretary Paddy Burns and and club member Colm Quinn.
Back row l/r: B. McAneaney, E. Grimes, P. McCrory, L. McGaw, P. Vallely, R. Haughey, A. O'Hea, L. Brown, E. Brady.
Front row l/r: V. Ellingham, N. Spence, H. Johnston, E. Hamilton, A. O'Reilly
Captain Richard Black and Lady Captain Margaret Marjoram welcomed more than 60 sponsors to County Armagh Golf Club for the annual Sponsors Corporate Day competition.
The Organising Committee for Sponsors Day at County Armagh Golf Club (from left) Honorary Secretary Paddy Burns, Vice Captain Marty Oliver, Lady Captain Margaret Marjoram, Captain Richard Black, Lady Vice Captain Una Cullaine and Competitions Convenor John Lowe.
The Ewart Jewllers, Armagh sponsored Mixed Greensomes at County Armagh was won by Teresa Corrigan and Jimmy Wilson (seated centre), pictured with Mr Clifford Ewart (left) from Ewart Jewellers and Club Captain Richard Black. Included also are runners up Stewart Stevenson and Hilary Johnston and third placed Colette McSorley and Ciaran Black. The Gross Prize was won by Anthony and Charlotte Hill (not pictured).
Former Northern Ireland international and Manchester United footballer Keith Gillespie and sports pundit Liam Beckett joined County Armagh Golf Club Vice Captain Marty Oliver and member Paul Kelly for a round of golf on the city course on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors thoroughly enjoyed their game and for Keith and Paul it was a winning partnership, prizing the match winnings from Liam and Marty!
County Armagh course celebration brings golfers from far and wide
More than 300 golfers took part in County Armagh Golf Club's celebration to mark the 40 th anniversary of the course opening 18-holes.
A 4-Ball Classic competition, sponsored by Milwaukee Power Tools, attracted over 65 mens, ladies and mixed teams. And with the immaculately manicured course bathed in sunshine throughout the day top scores were recorded by many.
8.20am - 4-Ball Classic Competition start
10.30am – Coffee Morning in Clubhouse
11.30am – Special Tree Planting
The Classic Competition will continue throughout the day with Meals served to competitors in the Green Room Restaurant
9.00pm – Raffle for a Variety of Prizes
9.15pm – Entertainment & Music
10.15pm – Presentation of Prizes
10.45pm – Entertainment & Music
FLASHBACK TO 1975: County Armagh Golf Club will celebrate 40 years since it expanded from a nine hole to an 18-hole course on May 3 2015, and to mark the special occasion they are planning a display and exhibition which will include this photograph taken on the day of the new course opening. Pictured are (from left to right), Jim Maxwell (Hon Sec.), Pat Toner (President), Harold O'Rourke (Captain) and Michael Lyons (Vice Captain).
Golf Club in 1975 memorabilia and photographs appeal
COUNTY Armagh Golf Club has launched an appeal for old photographs and memorabilia to help mark a special 40 th anniversary in the club's history.