Proposed Golf Ireland plans dispel some myths

Proposed Golf Ireland plans dispel some myths
Picture: GUI

Picture: GUI

The GUI and the ILGU have published their detailed proposal for the formation of a single governing body for golf and clarified dozens of misconceptions about what it will mean.

For instance, single-gender golf clubs will continue to exist if the formation of "Golf Ireland" is approved by clubs in November.

That means that men or women-only golf clubs, such as Portmarnock or Leopardstown Ladies Club, will be automatically affiliated to the new body.

However, "Golf Ireland" will work to assist clubs in putting more modern structures in place, including single-gender clubs that may wish to change.

"There is going to be leadership from Golf Ireland to support clubs who want to change," said Pat Finn, CEO of the Golfing Union of Ireland, who has been working in tandem with Sinead Hearty, Chief Executive of the ILGU.

"And there is going to be significant support for clubs that want to change their governance structures to something more modern that doesn't have separate men's and women's sections."

Affiliated clubs will vote on the proposal at EGMs of both the GUI and the ILGU on November 17.

The organisations jointly published a 26-page brochure and a separate 10-page pocket guide, complete with an Open Letter to clubs by Paul McGinley, outlining the proposal in detail and the importance of signalling to the public "that golf is a more equal, inclusive and family-oriented game."

While there has been talk of the demise of the role of the men’s and ladies’ captains or presidents, clubs will be free to determine their own honorary positions

Each club will also be free to decide whether or not to move to a single structure and "Golf Ireland" will provide clubs that decide to transition to a one-club model with guidance on best practice.

As for fears that the voice of women will be drowned out given that the ratio of the 183,000-strong club membership in Ireland is currently 78% to 22% in favour of men, there will also be a minimum 30% representation of both genders at Board and Regional level.

The presidency of “Golf Ireland" will also alternate between men and women and rotate annually around the provinces.

The men’s and women's Cups and Shields and Interprovincial matches will also continue to be played under "Golf Ireland", which will have a National Board appointed by affiliate clubs at the AGM. 

There will be four Regional Executives, consisting of 14 members nominated by affiliate clubs and elected by clubs at regional AGMs. 

If the proposal is approved, a single affiliation fee for men and women will be put in place — €24 in Ireland and £20 in Northern Ireland with a junior fee of €5 and £3.50 — fixed for the first two years of Golf Ireland's existence.