Pitch & Putt player David achieved royalty on courses around Ireland

David Hayden was undoubtedly the Pitch & Putt player of the 1980s with an Irish Strokeplay success at Portmarnock in 1987 and two consecutive All-Ireland Matchplay crowns, at Lucan in 1988 and at Lakeside in 1989.

But his illustrious career spanned more than four decades, during which he achieved royalty on the Pitch & Putt courses of Ireland and beyond.

David Hayden 1

David Hayden

David was undefeated in international matches while playing for his country – against Australia (1993) and against Catalonia (2002).

David spent almost 40 years working for An Post, most of which he served in the Clondalkin office, but he spent his formative years in Crumlin and became a member of Old County Pitch & Putt Club (Lorcan O’Toole Park) in the 1970s.

 

David remained there until the late 1990s when he made the move to Leixlip and joined Lucan Pitch & Putt Club.

David cared deeply for Pitch & Putt, was always impeccably turned-out and constantly behaved like the perfect sportsman. His self-deprecating approach endeared him to all P&P followers and his emotional victories brought joy to many.

 Club and family were massively important to David. He teamed-up with his wife Bernie to win the Dublin Mixed Foursomes at Lucan in 2005 and the National Mixed Foursomes at the same venue two years later. He played alongside his son David II (and Terry McMorrow) on the Lucan team that won the Leinster Inter-Club at Old County in 2006, having been runners-up the previous year.

He first came to national prominence in 1977 when he teamed-up with his father Joe (along with Jimmy Goddard and Dave Devine) in an Old County quartet that placed second in the National Club Tournament in Athlone.

 Named the fifth best player of the 20th Century in “Backspin” magazine, David’s superb first eighteen at Lakeside against Bobby Kilduff in the 1989 National Matchplay final gave him the edge and he held on to win his third national championship in as many years, by a margin of 5 & 3.

Having carded six birdies in a row from the 31st to force extra holes, David defeated clubmate David Grainger in the play-off to clinch the 1987 National Strokeplay Championship at Portmarnock. Before the RTÉ cameras at Lucan, David Hayden beat James Angland by 5 & 4 in the 1988 National Gents Matchplay Final.

 Crowned Leinster Strokeplay champion on three occasions, David defeated his great friend Derek Courtney in the final of the 2004 Leinster Matchplay at Old County. A steely competitor but always respectful of opponents and playing partners alike, his witty comments entertained many a gathering over the years.

David saw Inter-County success with Dublin in the National Inter-County Championships of 1989 and 1999 and in the 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2009 Leinster Inter-County Championships.

Dublin County Championship triumphs were slow in arriving but David eventually secured the ‘Grand Slam’ of individual major victories with the 2000, 2002 and 2012 Dublin Strokeplay titles and the 2014 Dublin Matchplay crown.

 The premature departure of a true Pitch & Putt legend leaves a void that will be impossible to fill.

David lost his battle with cancer on July 31, 2019, at the age of 58.

He was laid to rest in Confey Cemetery after a ceremony of remembrance in his beloved Lucan P&P Club on Saturday, August 3.

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