Unions back Golf Ireland to guide future of the sport
Irish amateur golf embraced a new future on Saturday when the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) and the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) formally approved the establishment of Golf Ireland. It means that the game of golf in Ireland will now, for the first time, have an all-inclusive governing body.
The ILGU approved a special resolution at their AGM, while simultaneously the GUI passed a motion at a Special General Meeting.
In the case of the GUI, for the first time in its history postal voting was permitted, and 292 of the Union's 395 clubs availed of this facility.
A further 34 clubs attended and voted at the meeting with 94% voting in favour. At the ILGU AGM, 269 clubs attended to cast their vote with 100% voting in favour.
The result of both votes follows a three-year process of discussion and consultation between the two unions with their respective clubs and regional bodies, and externally with key national and international stakeholders.
Once established, clubs will only have to deal with one body when it comes to handicapping, inter-club events, club supports and game development.
Officials hope that the decision will help to attracting further funding and commercial partners, as well as providing a boost for the image of the game.
A transition period will immediately commence, with the intention for this to culminate with the first AGM and regional meetings of Golf Ireland happening in the final quarter of 2020, paving the way for the organisation to 'go live' on January 1, 2021.
The GUI and ILGU will continue to operate through the transition period with the transfer of functions and staff to Golf Ireland prior to the 'go live' date for the new organisation.
In a joint statement, the chairpersons of the ILGU and GUI Boards, Clodagh Hopkins (ILGU) and Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh (GUI) said: "Bringing two strong organisations, the ILGU and GUI together to create a stronger, more influential organisation, Golf Ireland, will not only enhance golf in Ireland but will enhance Irish golf worldwide.
"The result today indicates that members of both unions are in support of creating a new organisation which will be built around promoting core principles of equality, diversity, inclusion and excellence."