In the early 1940s, the Irish Tourist Association sent representatives on a tour of inspection of the Cork courses with a view to developing the sport at seaside and other resorts (which they quickly did at Tramore and Killarney). Politicians spoke glowingly of the sport's potential, owing to the small amount of land necessary for a course and that the game was in reach of the average citizen's pocket.
In Cork at the inaugural meeting in December 1944, there was a long discussion on the best formula to foster and promote the game not alone in Cork city and county but throughout the whole country. The Irish Amateur Pitch and Putt Union was founded under the Presidency of W.A. Collins. The union's Headquarters were in Cork. A Constitution was drawn up and rules were drafted with arrangements made to run competitions.
The foundation laid was sound - the Constitution and rules are substantially the same today. Two of the Cups which were presented to the fledgling Union - the Day Cup (for the Pitch and Putt Championship of Ireland) and the Elvery Cup (for the ladies Pitch and Putt Championship of Ireland) are still played for today in the modern-day P.P.U.I. Mens' and Ladies' Championships of Ireland were played in 1946. The founders of the game were looking to the future even if they only had a few clubs at present.
Mr W.A. Collins moved to Dublin and his influence led to courses springing up on the east coast. The first course in Leinster was Ferrard, near Baltray Golf Club in Co. Louth.
The game grew rapidly in Leinster and the eastern province moved to set-up their own organisation in 1954.
Delegations from the two organisations met at the Hillview club in Clonmel under the chairmanship of Ernest O'Brien Hogan, then President of Hillview and later Patron of the Union. The first meeting ended with an agreement to set-up a Joint Sub-Committee of the two organisations to draft a detailed Constitution for a united union, to look at and make recommendations on all areas of difference and to propose the arrangements by which unity could be achieved. The sub-committee's work was finished in June 1960. The first Convention of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland was held on Sunday 9 October 1960, in Clonmel. The Officers elected were:
It had 42 affiliated clubs - 28 in Leinster and 14 in Munster. The first set of rules which were produced in 1968.
Club development came about in a number of ways
- Community groups founding a local amenity
- Factories building a facility within their premises
- Sports and social sections of companies founding a course
- Courses set-up on spare ground adjacent to football/rugby/GAA pitches
- Courses set-up within hospitals as a recreational facility for patients and staff
- Societies without a course setting-up a club and using an existing commercial course
- Courses began as a commercial green-fee only outlets and a club was subsequently formed
- Recreational outlets set-up by urban or county council
- Courses within army complexes
A Coaching Programme was set-up in 1978 but, despite trojan efforts by the National Coaching Panel, it was not overly successful. In 1991, along with about fifty other national sporting governing bodies (NGB), the P.P.U.I. instigated a National Coaching Development Programme (NCDP), in conjunction with the National Coaching and Training Centre at the University of Limerick.
The Central Office of the P.P.U.I. was set-up during the '60s and operated from a premises in South Frederick Street, Dublin. In 1972, it moved to Suffolk Street for twelve months before switching to the northside and Shandon Gardens, Dublin 7. Central Office moved in 1990 after the P.P.U.I. successfully applied for space in the House of Sport, an office facility for smaller national sporting governing bodies, organised by COSPOIR (the Irish Sports Council), with the kind assistance of O'Neills, the sports clothing company. Since then again thanks to the foresight of the Irish Sports Council the Union's administrative base is in a modern office complex in Park West, Dublin 12.
In 1991, the Union appointed a full-time Development Administrator. At present the Union employs 3 full-time staff, who deal with the day-to-day operations of the Union.
Publicity in Ireland is much improved in recent years with significant Teletext, Radio, newspaper and magazine coverage.
Today there are approximately 125 affiliated clubs with roughly 12,000 members, in 19 counties. The PPUI host championships and competitions at National and Provincial level with each County Board organising championships in their respective areas.
For many years, the PPUI made strenuous efforts to contact courses and individuals in the United Kingdom and elsewhere with a view to achieving an international dimension but with little success. In 1980, the Union were in contact with an English Association seeking an outlet for competitive play with clubs in Ireland. In 1981, an England international team (comprised of members of the Coventry Par 3 Association) played against an Ireland selection at Ierne. There was a return match at Nuneaton the following year. Ireland won both matches very comfortably and the series lapsed.
In 1989, Sean Lynch and Ron Wilson, who founded Pitch and Putt in Australia and later World Pitch and Putt made contact with the P.P.U.I. This initial contact set in train discussions which resulted in the first Ireland v. Australia international at Cement in 1993. Further international challenges followed at Fermoy in 1994 and at Royal Meath in 1995. The historic first-ever international on Australian soil took place in October 1996.
The time is right for Pitch and Putt to grow internationally. The PPUI have had approaches from many areas of Europe and the United States, where leading golf magazine, Golf Digest has shown a great interest in the game.
2000 was a momentous year for the sport of Pitch and Putt as Constitution was agreed to formally launch the European Pitch and Putt Association (EPPA) and the first Board was elected with Mervyn Cooney (St Patrick's) elected the first President.
In addition to the organisation of a European Championship, the founding countries of EPPA are committed to the promotion the sport of amateur pitch and putt throughout the continent of Europe.