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Club delegates from province to get update on Golf Ireland bid

By Paul kelly

Club delegates attending today's GUI Ulster Branch annual delegate meeting will hear the latest progress report on plans to create a new governing body for administering amateur golf in Ireland.

On January 19 next year, the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) will decide their future. Each union will ask their member clubs to vote on a proposal which would lead to the creation of Golf Ireland.

Clubs across the island are now being asked for their approval so that Golf Ireland can become a reality. At today's ADM, GUI chief executive Pat Finn and Iggy O'Muircheartaigh (GUI chair) will outline the current position and take questions from club delegates.

Ireland stands alone as the only country in the world to have two separate governing bodies for men's and women's golf. The proposal to create Golf Ireland has been approved by the boards of both the GUI and ILGU, with officials highlighting the benefits of embracing modern inclusive governance structures including financial savings and access to government funding.

Kevin Stevens, Executive Officer of the GUI's Ulster Branch, outlined the process that will follow a successful vote on January 19.

"All being well, the new company, Golf Ireland, will be initiated straight away and a transition group/board will create the structures including the combined regions, appoint a CEO, devise a new strategy," said Stevens.

"The first regional club meetings of Golf Ireland are scheduled to take place in October 2020 to elect board members of the new organisation, as well as officials to lead the new organisation within each region.

"Then an AGM of Golf Ireland to formally elect everyone will take place around November 2020, and after that Golf Ireland will take over in January 2021."

The GUI has also revealed a detailed fixture list for 2019 which will see Lahinch Golf Club, venue for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next July, play host to the Men's Home Internationals on September 11-13.

Belfast's Belvoir Park will host the Irish Seniors Amateur Open Championship in May (22-24), while this year's North of Ireland Amateur Championship (July 9-12) has moved to Castlerock and Portstewart to accommodate the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

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