Vonnie Noonan has been unveiled as ILGU President elect and if she's looking for an example of what the future might look like when there is one governing body for amateur golf here, the launch today of the Club Handbook for Junior Golf by the GUI, the ILGU and the CGI is the perfect example of how the future might look.
As ILGU Chief Executive, Sinead Heraty explained, the production of the excellent handbook is "a great example of the golfing organisations in Ireland working together on a very worthwhile initiative.”
Mrs Noonan has been a Co. Longford Golf Club member since 1970 and the ILGU describes her as "the epitome of a club golfer who gives willingly of her free time, all dedicated towards the progression of golf."
The ILGU reports:
‘Socialising of course’, she laughed, when asked why she took up golf. ‘Well I always liked the idea of golf and I had three children at the time and heard it was a good social outlet’. Vonnie’s husband Liam is also a longstanding member in Co. Longford, since 1959.
Her passion for the administration of golf came quite early as she became involved in handicapping and rules in her club in the late 1980’s. 'Once my five children had gone to college I had more time to dedicate to golf.’ She wanted to give more to the game in the early 2000’s and joined the Connacht Executive in 2004. ‘The ILGU were looking for Rules Officials so I qualified as a Rules Official in St. Andrews in 2007’.
Vonnie went on to become the Chair of Rules in Connacht and shortly after that was asked to be National Chair of Rules in 2009, where she stayed for five years. As a dedicated Board member of the ILGU from 2010-2014 and overseeing the National Rules Committee, Vonnie had a clear vision in mind, ‘I wanted tobuild on existing processes, to encourage Irish Rules Officials to share their skills, and to aspire to working abroad on a world stage. My thinking was that officiating at overseas events would increase their experience and expertise, and that this in turn would benefit us in Ireland. I wanted to raise the profile of Irish Rules Officials and now I know we have some of the best in the world’.
Vonnie does not associate herself as a ‘competitive’ golfer but nearly forgot to mention her Lady Captains prize win in the late 1970’s – not one to be snubbed! Speaking about what she wants from her two year tenure, she views it as ‘An ambassadorial role, which I am privileged to accept and cannot wait to begin’.
Vonnie and husband Liam celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year and when asked if he is prepared for her busy two years being away from home, she said ‘As both of us have played golf all our married life, he understands the scene and what is involved andis just as excited about it all as I am’.
There are undoubtedly exciting times ahead for Golf in Ireland and the new President Elect is, in her own words ‘Looking forward to the changes, especially surrounding the potential of One Governing Body, as long as tradition and change can sit comfortably alongside each other.’
Club Handbook for Junior Golf unveiled
The GUI, ILGU and CGI have unveiled a new Handbook for Junior Golf designed to help golf clubs across Ireland develop and extend the services and opportunities they offer to young people.
The handbook features as range of content and practical advice on achieving a ‘best in class’ Junior Golf offering across a variety of areas including:
- Junior Club Operations (coaching, competitions, handicaps, communication)
- Junior Club Committee and Leaders
- Safeguarding Children in Golf
- Girls in Junior Golf
The guide also offers access to a variety of templates and checklists to assist in the implementation of Junior Club programmes, such as recruitment forms, role descriptions, permission forms and safety checklists.
A number of real life case studies are also included which provide excellent learnings and ‘best practice’ examples, including Balbriggan Golf Club who initiated a Cadet’s Section, Enniscrone Golf Club which developed a Junior Club Programme and an insight into how Naas Golf Club worked to increase participation among young female players.
To access the new Club Handbook for Junior Golf, please click here:
The CGI, the ILGU and the GUI will host a number of seminars throughout March and April 2016 which will focus on the variety of different areas featured in the Junior Club Handbook. Golf Clubs can find out further information about these seminars on www.cgigolf.org or www.golfnet.ie.
John Roche, Director of Golf and Business Development, Confederation of Golf in Ireland commented: “This document is the result of months of hard work and brings into one place the wealth of Junior Golf knowledge and experience available from the GUI and the ILGU, along with contributions from the PGA and other sports bodies.
"Golf is truly a game for all the family and we recognise the importance of fostering a love of the sport amongst the next generation. The advice and guidelines contained within the document are very relevant and current and we’d encourage all Golf Clubs to utilise the materials as appropriate to them. Together we can ensure the future success of the sport we all love.”
Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive of the Irish Ladies Golf Union, said: “The Club Handbook for Junior Golf provides practical and easy to follow guidelines and recommendation for the development of junior golf.
"It will be a key reference point to Clubs who are seeking to grow their junior membership and instil a lifelong passion for the game in young golfers. It is a great example of the golfing organisations in Ireland working together on a very worthwhile initiative.”