Elm Park Golf Club and Knock Golf Club Annual Exchange Day – A History

The annual exchange day between Elm Park and Knock Golf Clubs was first inaugurated in 1988 and the staging of it alternates each year between the two clubs. At its inception it afforded people the opportunity to travel across ‘the Border’ at a time when such an occurrence was not as frequent as it is now.
Knock Golf Club boasts a proud tradition in International Golf and at an executive level.
  • John Glover, born in 1933 was Boys Champion in 1950 and represented Ireland eight times from 1951 – 1970. He later became secretary of the R & A Rules committee in St Andrews.
  • Claire Robinson (nee Nesbit) of Knock was Irish Champion twice, represented Ireland in the Home Internationals from 1974 – 1981 and managed the Irish Lady’s Team.
  • Peter Sinclair has held key positions in the GUI and was President of the GUI in 2017. Peter Sinclair’s son Michael won the North of Ireland Championships and the East of Ireland Championships and has represented Ireland in the Home Internationals.
Some members from Knock became members of Elm Park and went on to represent Elm Park in Interclub competition. For instance, David Alderdice, a cousin of Lord Alderdice was a former Captain of Knock. His son became a member of Elm Park and played Senior Cup for Elm Park.
The exchange day has been instrumental in carving out many friendships over the years between North and South. The initial contact in Elm Park was Seamus Green, who was the Professional in Knock from 1971 – 1982 prior to his appointment to Elm Park.
In 1988 Knock Golf Club got to the final stages of the Fred Daly trophy and as a reward for their great achievement the team were treated to a trip down south. Tom McAnea, the Junior Convenor of Knock at the time contacted Seamus Green with a view to recommending a suitable golf destination for the boy’s team and Seamus suggested they play Elm Park. This signalled the beginning of a great relationship between the two clubs. The Juvenile Perpetual Trophy (below) was inaugurated in 1988.
In the early 90’s the GUI recommended a twinning partnership between clubs north and south of Ireland and in this regard Elm Park and Knock were way ahead of the game in forging links across the border.
Former Captain of Elm Park, Pat Glennon and Earle Browne of Knock have been the key players in ensuring the continuation of this special day over the years. In their year as Captains, the Twinning Trophy (below) was first introduced and it is competed for every year at the exchange day.
Previous Captains of Elm Park including Joe O’Connor, Padraic O Gaora, Seamus Ryan, Brendan Lynch, Denis Bergin and Frank Gleeson who had a particular interest in fostering junior golf were instrumental in maintaining the link between the two clubs as they recognized that it afforded Juniors North and South an opportunity to meet with each other in a spirit of openness and friendship. The exchange day usually takes place in August.
Some customs have evolved over the years (not all of which need necessarily be carried out every year) that make it a very special day e.g.
  • The Junior Captains exchange club sweaters with each other.
  • The Captains exchange tee shirts or sweaters with each other.
  • The adult Men exchange ties with each other.
  • The adult Ladies exchange gifts with each other.
  • Fred Daly who won the British Open in 1947 was the Professional who proposed Seamus Green to the Professional Golfer’s Association.
  • Norman Vico Drew whose father was born in Dalkey, Co. Dublin became assistant professional at Knock and he along with Jack Nicklaus were the only golfers in history to play in all three of the Walker Cup, the Ryder Cup and the Canada Cup.
  • Claire Robinson of Knock and Ita Butler of Elm Park played against each other on many occasions and have maintained a friendship over the years.