Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Peter Gannon (1874-c.1940)
Engadine Golf Club, 1909
(Meister 2005)

Gannon, [James] Peter [Pedro] (1874-c.1940), Roman Catholic priest and golf course architect, was born in Buenos Aires, the ninth child of Patrick Gannon (c.1820-1895) of Clara, Co. Offaly, and Elizabeth Walsh (d.1913). Patrick Gannon left Ireland in 1848 and settled in San Andrés de Giles, where he worked as sheep-farmer and acquired land. In 1877 the family returned to Ireland and purchased a property at Belmont, Kilbeggan (Co. Westmeath). Peter Gannon's brother Eugenio Gannon (1875-1942) worked with Tomás Mullally, the founder of Realicó in the province of La Pampa, and then settled as a wine grower in Cañada Seca, Mendoza. The eldest brother, Diego Gannon (1859-1930), physician, studied in Dublin and practised in the Jarvis hospital, and in 1887 settled in Buenos Aires. 

In 1901 Peter Gannon was ordained a priest in London, and was appointed secretary to Dr. Graham, bishop of Plymouth. In Plymouth he played golf at United Services club. In 1908 Gannon was runner-up at the South of Ireland championship at Lahinch, and the next year he was asked to redesign the Old Course at Karlovy Vary, Carlsbad, after winning the championship of Austria. In 1910 left-handed Fr. Gannon won the French and the Italian amateur championships. He abandoned the religious life and in 1912-1913 settled in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and got married. Peter Gannon won the amateur championships of Switzerland in 1911 and 1923, and the amateur golf championship of Italy. In 1923 Gannon was responsible for the golf course of the Engandine Golf Club, where the members used to call him "Peter the Great".

But his long-lasting contribution has been the design of first-class golf courses in Europe, South Africa and probably in Argentina, among them, Milano (1928), San Remo, Villa d'Este, and Florence in Italy, Baden-Baden in Germany (1927), as well as others in Switzerland, France, and South Africa. Peter Gannon was also a good cricket and football player. He later moved to South Africa and died in or about 1940.

Edmundo Murray


- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 379.

- Meister, Christoph, James Peter Gannon - 'Peter the Great' in Daley, Paul (ed.) "Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective" Vol. 3 (Melbourne: Fullswing, 2005). Communications with the author, 7 July 2004.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

Online published: 1 August 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Gannon, Peter (1874-c.1940)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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