GUI empowers clubs in new era
The game of golf is simple compared with the complexity and costs of governing the sport in the second decade of the 21st century, as was evident at the Golfing Union of Ireland AGM at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links yesterday.
Financially the GUI is targeting a break-even year following a €3 (£2) increase on the Union subscription for members, bringing the national body's sub to €16 (£13).
This is the first time the sub for the national body has risen since 2008, and the extra cash will help defray a deficit of €530,000.
Membership numbers are almost 130,000, approximately 47,000 down from the peak of 177,000 in 2007 at the height of the Celtic Tiger.
The decade since those heady times have brought major challenges for golf but the GUI is committed to facing them head on.
Yesterday a historic decision was made to dissolve the Union's Central Council which traditionally made the key decisions at the AGM.
From next year, each affiliated club will be entitled to send two delegates to the AGM, giving the clubs a direct say in Union affairs.
The GUI is encouraging clubs to promote junior membership, and also to get their courses rated for nine-hole competitions which can be more time-efficient for members.
CEO Pat Finn hailed the excellent results of Irish men and women amateurs and professionals since 2007 and said: "We've almost 200,000 club members in men, women and juniors. Golf is still a very popular game. There's an awful lot to be optimistic about."
Ulster's Peter Sinclair of Knock GC is the new president, and John Moloughney (Munster) is president-elect.