The Olympic Games is a big consideration when planning for the future of Irish golf. Picture courtesy of the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI), the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) and the Professional Golfers Association (Irish Region) have come together to start work on a new strategy for golf in Ireland.

According to a press release issued by the GUI, the strategy “will ensure that the three organisations are well positioned to avail of new opportunities and meet all challenges facing the sport in Ireland over the next eight years. The review process is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland.”

The three organisations will examine how they can best work together to achieve shared objectives including: increasing participation in golf, continuing international success, development plan especially in the light of golf becoming an Olympic sport and examining the programmes, services and support required to develop players from junior through to elite level.

The group, which is aiming to produce a joint strategy for the sport, will be chaired by an independent chairman Redmond O’Donoghue.  Mr. O’Donoghue has been a senior figure in Irish business life for many years; currently he is Chairman of Failte Ireland and Chairman of Good Food Ireland.

This process is aimed at how best the organisations can work together to maximise, share ideas, information and best practice in order to advance the game in Ireland. Mr. O’Donoghue commented; “Irish Golf has been extraordinarily successful,  particularly in recent times. Therefore, this is a very good time to build for the future - a future that is very exciting. Ireland has an enviable track record in producing some of the best golfers in the world; and we have over 200,000 players who are members of the GUI and ILGU. Golf will be part of the Olympics for the first time in Rio in 2016.

Therefore, it is vital that Ireland should prepare well in advance to ensure that our top male and female golfers can perform at the highest levels. There are challenges ahead and it is timely to examine how players, clubs and members can be best supported.”

The three identified the need and the opportunity to develop a strong, coherent, overarching strategy for golf which will provide a focus and clear direction to continue the work they do together and separately and provide a pathway that will enable them to strengthen and improve these efforts. The agenda of the group does not include the possible merger of the golf organisations. The group aims to complete its work within six months.