Amateur golf is not free and the announcement of a new deal between insurance giants AIG Ireland and the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) is a huge boost for amateur men’s and women’s golf in Ireland.
AIG Ireland general manager Declan O’Rourke, GUI President Liam Martin and ILGU CEO Sinead Heraty were joined by golfing star Shane Lowry, Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan, Dublin hurler Joey Boland, All Black great Doug Howlett and rising amateur golfing star Olivia Mehaffey at Carton House to mark the extension of AIG Ireland’s 16 year association with the GUI, the beginning of a new sponsorship of the ILGU and its commitment to sponsor the new generation of GUI and ILGU membership cards.
Like the GUI, the governing body for ladies golf has huge overheads to cover when it comes to its championships with the Senior Cup district finals and the All Ireland final alone costing the organisation between €15,000 and €20,000 a year to stage.
Sinead Heraty, chief executive of the Irish Ladies Golf Union said: “The ILGU is delighted that AIG Ireland have come on board as a sponsor of the ILGU. Sponsorship is very difficult in the current environment and we are delighted to have AIG Ireland as a supporter of women’s and girls’ golf in Ireland.”
AIG Ireland general manager Declan O’Rourke said: “Golf is a hugely popular sport in Ireland and we are delighted to be associated with both the ILGU and GUI. We hope our partnership with these organisations helps them achieve their strategic ambitions and to continue to promote golf in Ireland.
“AIG in Ireland has a proud history of supporting participation sport and the benefits that this brings to communities and clubs around the country. We are very proud to be standing here today with a group of such accomplished sportspeople representing GAA, golf and rugby all united under the AIG brand.
"AIG Ireland has sponsored amateur golf in Ireland for 16 years and we have seen some golfing greats like Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell win the AIG sponsored Irish Close Championship.”
Pat Finn, the general secretary of the Golfing Union of Ireland added: "The Golfing Union of Ireland is indebted to AIG for their commitment to amateur golf in Ireland, which spans over 16 years.
"During that time many of our affiliated clubs and their members have availed of discounted insurance premiums offered by AIG. Today's agreement will carry the commitment into its third decade and will assist the GUI in administering championships, delivering a high performance programme and developing grass roots golf."
As part of the announcement, AIG Ireland will sponsor both the GUI’s and the ILGU’s membership cards and the ILGU AIG Irish Ladies Senior Cup.
AIG Ireland will also be the title sponsor for a host of competitions that fall under the GUI’s control including the Senior Cup, the Junior Cup, the Barton Shield, the Jimmy Bruen Shield and the Pierce Purcell Shield.
AIG Ireland will also offer Irish golfers discounts on car, home and travel insurance products exclusive to GUI and ILGU members and tailored to golfers such as golf equipment cover in the event of theft with its car insurance policies.
To celebrate the launch of the new card, AIG Ireland is offering golfers an additional 5% discount on car and home insurance through the unions’ website.