New GUI President Kevin McIntyre: "Golf is a game for life and a life-changing game"

New GUI President Kevin McIntyre: "Golf is a game for life and a life-changing game"
 Golfing Union of Ireland President, Kevin McIntyre. Picture: Golffile

Golfing Union of Ireland President, Kevin McIntyre. Picture: Golffile

Golf has almost been like a second career for Kevin McIntyre. Having spent more than 30 years with Bank of Ireland, he has served the Golfing Union of Ireland with distinction since his retirement from official working life in 2001.

All told he has served at provincial and national level for 21 years and now he assumes the presidency of the GUI at a crucial juncture in the history of the Union as it celebrates its 125th year in 2016.

Born into the heart of hurling in Co Kilkenny, McIntyre has taken the circuitous route through life, beginning his banking career at Bagenalstown, Co Carlow in the early 1970s before moving north to Co Louth.

It was Ardee that eventually became home and by the time he married Patricia in 1980, he was already well established in the local golf club. His two children, Julie-Anne and Conor, did not inherit his passion for the game but it will be a proud moment for his family – which now includes grandchildren Jack and Edie – when he takes office as the 68th President of the GUI at this year’s AGM.

“I never thought I would have reached this stage, I’ve been very lucky,” says McIntyre. “I hope I can bring something to the Union this year and I hope I’ve brought something to the Union for the last 20 years.”

Unsurprisingly, he had been a hurler growing up in Kilkenny, lining out with the renowned James Stephens club up to under-21 level.

His first foray into men’s golf was at Carlow and when work took him to Co Louth, he joined Ardee. Immersed in his adopted home, he served the club as treasurer and secretary before being appointed captain in 1988. Wife Patricia served as Ardee’s lady captain in 1996 while Kevin was made an Honorary Member in 2002. Also a member at nearby Seapoint, McIntyre served three years as club secretary and was club president in 2002 and 2003.

His playing days yielded a captain’s prize at Ardee in 1978 and a gold medal at Westport in 1990 as part of the club’s All-Ireland winning Jimmy Bruen panel. These days, he’s playing off 12 having once been as low as five.

It was 1994 when he first joined the Leinster Branch and he has played a pivotal role ever since as a council member, serving as honorary treasurer, secretary and chairman. His first Union appointment was to the Venues and Fixtures Committee, of which he was convener. His experience of managing competitions made him the perfect candidate to take the R&A’s Rules exam in 1998. Thrust into the world of refereeing, he officiated at the Home Internationals in 2000 at Carnoustie and 2007 at Baltray.

Retirement from the Bank of Ireland in 2001 opened the door for a new role and he took over as the secretary of CONGU (Council of National Golf Unions) in 2002. He also worked at Forrest Little golf club, where he was secretary-manager for a number of years.

McIntyre’s time at CONGU coincided with the introduction of a Unified Handicap System (UHS) and the amalgamation of men’s and ladies’ handicapping schemes. Initially funded by the four home unions when it was founded in 1924, CONGU became self-sufficient during McIntyre’s eight-year reign as secretary.

With the introduction of an annual licensing fee for the vendors of handicapping software, CONGU had its own, independent source of income.

Talk about his time at CONGU leads naturally to a discussion about handicapping and its many difficulties. The 0.1 brigade, those who seek to artificially alter their handicap through the accumulation of no returns or bad scores, is a sore point.

“There are 28 rules around the playing of golf but there is only one rule of handicapping: ‘Play your best in all qualifying competitions.’ It’s not emphasised enough. Honesty and integrity are at the heart of what golf is supposed to be about,” McIntyre says rather pointedly.

 Golfing Union of Ireland President, Kevin McIntyre. Picture: Golffile

Golfing Union of Ireland President, Kevin McIntyre. Picture: Golffile

To emphasise the point, he mentions two stand-out incidents. At the 2006 Irish Open, Darren Clarke decided to pitch his ball back into the fairway when he returned after a delay to find his lie in the rough had been significantly improved. During the decisive match at the men’s interprovincial championship in 2013, Paul Dunne called a penalty against himself that no one else could have known about – he had removed what he thought was loose grass from the surface of the green but realised it was still growing in the ground.

“There is too much emphasis on winning prizes now but the game is not about winning prizes, it is about playing the best that you can,” says McIntyre. “If you ask someone: Do you play by the Rules of Golf? And he says: ‘Yes’, then you must play by the Rules of Handicapping because the two of them are inter-linked. They are not inseparable issues, you must abide by both.”

While the handicap issue continues to trouble administrators, it is not the only item on their agenda. As the Union prepares to bring forward a strategic plan that will guide the development of Irish amateur golf in the future, McIntyre knows that the GUI faces a constant battle to attract players.

“I think the future is going to be a lot brighter for the Union. Golf has come through a tough period but I think it’s going to come out of it,” he reckons. “We must get the idea across that it’s a game for life and also a life-changing game because it teaches you so much.

"When I’m speaking to juniors, I always make the point that golf is not just a game but an educator. It teaches you the importance of proper time-keeping, it teaches you the importance of etiquette, dress code and respect for yourself and fellow competitors and most importantly competitiveness. It also teaches people values like honesty and integrity.”

“It’s a great game for your mentality as well as the physical exercise,” he believes. “When you’re on the golf course for four hours you’ve four hours of thinking nothing but golf which has to be good for your mental state. Golf is a stress-buster and a lot of people will find that.”

Golf is also rich with opportunity.

“No matter where you go in the world and not matter your age you can bring your clubs with you and play,” says McIntyre, who will have the chance to travel far and wide during his year as president, taking in the US Masters at Augusta in April and the Olympics in Rio next August, which will feature Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry as things currently stand.

For all the pomp and ceremony he will encounter in the next 12 months, his heart remains close to home.

“When I was secretary-manager at Forrest Little, there were fellas still playing at 90 years of age. And at the other end of the spectrum were youngsters at three and four hitting golf balls. That to me was great to see,” he says.

That golf is a game for life is a message he’s keen to preach.

The following were elected to as Officers, Committee Members and Representatives at the Annual General Meeting held on Friday 12 February at the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links.

  • Union Officers: President: Kevin McIntyre; President-Elect: Peter Sinclair; Hon. Secretary: Albert Lee; Hon. Treasurer: Rollo McClure.
  • Trustees: Frederick W. Perry (Connacht), Wally Skelton (Leinster), Sean MacMahon (Munster), William G. Black (Ulster).
  • CONGU Representatives: Jerome Clancy, Jim Mooney (temporary).
  • Irish Senior Team Captain: Tony Goode
  • Irish Boys Team Captain: Cathal McConn
  • Irish Seniors Team Captain: Sean O’Leary
  • Irish Senior Selection Committee: Tony Goode (Convenor), Niall MacSweeney, John White, John Carroll, Michael Delany
  • Irish Junior Selection Committee: Cathal McConn (Convenor), Jimmy Duggan, Kevin Raftery, Peter English, Alasdair Gibson
  • Irish Seniors Selection Committee: Sean O’Leary (Convenor), Tommie Basquille, Barry Doyle, Michael Coote, Brian Hutchinson
  • STRI Representative: Michael P Murphy
  • Finance Committee: Kevin McIntyre (President), Peter Sinclair (President-Elect), Albert Lee (Honorary Secretary), Rollo McClure (Honorary Treasurer), Frederick W. Perry (Connacht), Wally Skelton (Leinster), Sean MacMahon (Munster), William G. Black (Ulster), Michael Evans (Connacht), Dom Murphy (Leinster), Peter English (Munster), Alasdair Gibson (Ulster).
  • Junior Golf Committee: Jim Long (Convenor, Union Officers, Cathal McConn (Irish Boys Team Captain), Jimmy Duggan, Kevin Raftery, Peter English, Alasdair Gibson, John McKinstry, John McGrath, Joe Rouine, John Durcan.
  • Championship Committee: Pat Finn (Convenor), Jim Mooney, Nicky McLoughlin, Jimmy Duggan, Aidan Marsden, Joe McNamara, Kevin Raftery, Tom Donnelly, Liam Harkin, Barry Lynch, Brian Hutchinson, Diarmuid Logue, Nick Agate.
  • SSS & Handicapping Committee: Jerome Clancy (Convenor), Union Officers, CONGU Rep, Cathal McConn, Jim Mooney, Henry Lee, Willie O’Brien, Pat Dunne, Liam Harkin, Norman Bennett, David McNeill.
  • Venues & Fixtures Committee: John O’Donoghue (Convenor), Union Officers, Niall MacSweeney, John Cullen, Liam Harkin, Damien Montague, Kevin Stevens, Enda Lonergan, Karen Walsh, Teresa Thompson.
  • Rules of Golf & Amateur Status Committee: Michael Evans (Convenor), Union Officers, Jim Mooney, Conor Maguire, Barry Lynch, Dougie Irwin.
  • Greenkeeper Training & Ecology: Jack Dempsey (Convenor), Union Officers, Richard Canavan, Michael Delany, Michael P Murphy, Nick Agate.
  • Constitution Review Committee: Ivor McCandless (Convenor), Union Officers, Fred Perry, Dom Murphy, Brian Punch, Tom Jones.
  • High Performance Committee: John White (Convenor), Union Officers, Irish Team Captain, Irish Boys Captain, Convenor Junior Golf, John MacDonagh, Stephen Browne, Phil Cooney, Brendan Edwards.
  • Honorary Delegates: Seamus Smith, Sean Hosty, Colm Madigan, Michael Burns, Tom Jones.
  • Auditor: WJ Miscampbell

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2016 

RESULTS OF MOTIONS

The following motions were carried: 

Proposed by the Executive Committee: 

The following series of amendments to the Constitution to replace the Executive Committee with a Board in fulfilment of Action No.12 of the GUI Strategy, adopted at the Special General Meeting of 15th May 2015. In tandem with these amendments, please find appended to the Notices of Motions the Terms of Reference that have been agreed for The Board and the Nominations Committee (vide Sub-Clauses 28.2.1-28.2.3) and the Conflict of Interest policy which will be applied to the Board and Nominations Committee:

That the words “Executive Committee” be replaced with the words “the Board” in the following provisions:

Sub-Clause 3.1.11

Sub-Clause 3.1.15

Clause 4.4

Clause 8.5

Clause 10.11

All instances in Rules 11 and 12

Clause 19.3

Sub-Clause 19.6.2

Sub-Clause 19.6.3

Clause 23.1

Clause 26.3

Sub-Sub-Clause 27.1.1.1

Sub-Clause 27.2.2

Sub-Sub-Clause 28.1.1.1

Sub-Sub-Clause 28.1.2.1

Clause 34.1

Clause 34.6

That the following provisions be deleted (which will be covered in the Terms of Reference of the new Board):

Sub-Clause 3.1.10

Sub-Clause 24.3.1

Clause 31.1

That a new Rule 21 is inserted as follows:

21.       THE BOARD

21.1     The Board of the Golfing Union of Ireland shall be responsible to the Council for the ongoing fulfilment of the Union’s Strategies and Policies, and shall operate in compliance with its Duties and Terms of Reference. It shall consist of the following members:

21.1.1   An independent Chairperson, who shall retire after three years and shall be eligible for re-election no more than once.

21.1.2   The Officers of the Union (4), who shall retain membership of the Board during their term of office as set out in Rule 19.

21.1.3   A nominee of each of the four Provincial Branches (4), who shall retire annually and shall be eligible for re-election for no more than five consecutive terms.

21.1.4   Independent Members (2), who shall retire after three years and shall be eligible for re-election no more than once.

21.2  The Board shall be appointed by the Council at the Annual General Meeting.               

[All subsequent rules to be re-numbered]

That Rule 22 is amended to read:

22. COMMITTEES AND SUB-COMMITTEES

The Finance, International Selection, Championship and Tournament, Junior Golf and such other Committees or Sub-Committees as shall be elected from time to time by the Council shall operate in compliance with the Duties and Terms of Reference of each Committee or Sub-Committee. (Vide Sub-Clauses 3.1.10, 3.1.11 and Clause 19.3)

 That a new Sub-Clause 28.1.2 is inserted:   

28.1.2   To appoint the Board. 

[All other Sub-Clauses re-numbered accordingly]

That new Sub-Clauses 28.2.1-28.2.3 are inserted:

28.2.1   Nominations for the Board of the Golfing Union of Ireland, having been tendered in accordance with the following sub-clauses, shall be circulated to the Council not less than 7 days prior to the Annual General Meeting by the Nominations Committee.

28.2.2   Nominations for vacancies to the Board to be filled in accordance with Sub-Clause 21.1.3 shall be submitted by the nominee’s Provincial Council to the Nominations Committee not less than 21 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

28.2.3   Applications for vacancies to the Board to be filled in accordance with Sub-Clause 21.1.4 shall be submitted by the individual applicant to the Nominations Committee not less than 21 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.             

[All other sub-clauses re-numbered accordingly]

 2.  Proposed by the Executive Committee:

That Clause 14.1 be amended as follows:

Any increase in the amount of annual subscription, and/or levy, payable to the GUI by Affiliated Golf Clubs, University Clubs, College Clubs and the Associate Member must be carried in accordance with the provisions of Rule 34 of the Constitution.

3. Proposed by the Executive Committee:

That Rule 34 be amended as follows:

34.1     Every Motion to be proposed at a Council Meeting shall be proposed by the Board, a Provincial Council or by two persons entitled to be present and to vote at such Council Meeting and notice thereof must be given in writing so as to reach the Chief Executive Officer of the Union not less than twenty eight days prior to such meeting.

34.2     Board Motions to be proposed at Branch Meetings:

34.2.1   The Board of the Golfing Union of Ireland may propose motions of a financial nature (vide Clause 14.1) or which would necessitate the application of Rule 44 of this Constitution, to the four Branch meetings. Notice thereof must be given in writing not less than forty-two days prior to such meetings. Following the forty-two day deadline the Constitution Review Committee shall meet to review the Notices of Motion submitted. Should the Constitution Review Committee deem that an amendment(s) be required to a motion the Committee shall recommend such an amendment(s) to the Board in time for the motion to be amended and resubmitted by the originator(s) not less than twenty-eight days prior to such Branch Meeting.

34.2.2   Any Motion to alter the amount of the annual subscription, and/or levy, payable to the GUI by Affiliated Golf Clubs, University Clubs, College Clubs and the Associate Member shall be proposed to the four Branch Meetings by the Board.

34.2.3   Any such Motion as provided for by the preceding sub-clauses shall subsequently be proposed by the Board to the next meeting of the Council.

34.3     All Other Motions to be proposed at Branch Meetings:

34.3.1   Every other motion to be proposed at a Branch Meeting shall be submitted by the Provincial Council of the Branch, a Club in that Branch or two persons entitled to be present and to vote at such Branch Meeting and the notice thereof must be given in writing not less than forty-two days prior to such a meeting. Following the forty-two day deadline the Constitution Review Committee shall meet to review the Notices of Motion submitted.

Should the Constitution Review Committee deem that an amendment(s) be requiredto a motion the Committee shall recommend such an amendment(s) to the relevant Branch office in time for the motion to be amended and resubmitted by the originator(s) not less than twenty eight days prior to such Branch Meeting.

In order for the Notice of Motion to be considered each Motion shall be proposed and seconded by two persons entitled to be present and to vote at such Branch Meeting. (Vide Sub-Clause 3.1.16).

34.3.2   Such Motions to be proposed at a Branch Meeting which could be deemed to be of National relevance shall be circulated by the Provincial Council which received the Motion to the other three Provincial Councils in time for inclusion on the Agenda for their Branch Annual Meetings.

34.3.3   Amendments to such Motions, proposed and seconded by two persons entitled to be present and vote at a Branch Meeting, shall be considered and voted upon prior to the original motion being voted upon.

34.3.4   Such motions carried at a Branch Meeting shall be proposed by the relevant Provincial Council to the next Council Meeting in accordance with Clause 34.1.

34.3.5   Such motions carried at a Branch Meeting shall be considered for inclusion on the Agenda of the next Council Meeting by the Board prior to the closing date for notice of motions for said Council Meeting.

4.  Proposed by the Executive Committee:

That Sub-Clause 10.3.3 of the Constitution be deleted.

5. Proposed by the Executive Committee:

That Bye Law 2.2 be added to the Union’s Bye Laws, as follows:

“No Affiliated Club or Associate Member shall be entitled to a refund of any overpayments of the GUI Subscription and Levy and/or Loan Repayment and Provincial Levy after the last day of March in the year in which said payments are due.”

6. Proposed by the Leinster Provincial Council: 

That Condition 3 (a) of the Fred Daly Trophy be amended to read:

“Each Team shall consist of five members in both the Provincial and National Sections.”

7. Proposed by the Ulster Provincial Council:

That the following sub-clause be added to Rule 14 of the Constitution:

“A minimum of 12 months’ notice of any increase in the GUI Subscription and/or Provincial Levy as provided in Clauses 14.1 and 14.2 shall be given to Affiliated Golf Clubs, University Clubs, College Clubs and Associate Members.”