THE Drogheda region is set to take its place amongst the golfing elite in the future - in terms of location and facilities - after the announcement that Ireland’s leading golf services provider, Carr Golf, is heading a group of investors, Genesis Links Holdings Ltd, in acquiring the properties and assets which make up Seapoint Golf Links.
“Our vision is to help build a thriving, vibrant members club that offers a high-quality Links course with world-class service standards, enjoyed by its members and international guests. We will be providing much needed investment to improve the experience for members and guests to the links,” stated Alex Saul on behalf of Carr Golf & Genesis Links.
The move to secure the club comes after great uncertainty for the 800 members at Seapoint. The completion of the sale discharges the previous owner’s legacy debts of over €3.6m and sees an injection of capital to enhance and improve the Termonfeckin based club.
Before Christmas, the new owners will meet with the members and detail their hopes and aspirations for the future, one that is now assured.
Alex Saul sees the potential that exists in the region and is excited by the journey to come.
“Drogheda is a thriving town and we have the Boyne Valley and hotels and restaurants and it’s about unlocking the potential of that. We want to work with stakeholders across the town and region,” he stated.
He sees an enhanced future link up with Baltray, very much like clubs in other parts of the country who use combined approaches to develop their overall packages.
Golf tourism is a way of adding to a distinct offering in a region and building that into the future, at key times of the year, is another facet of the business that can be explored.
“We have a golf course architect who will draw up an improvement plan and we’ll share all this with the members shortly. We have men, ladies and youths and we want to encourage all the talent that we have by investing in them with the likes of a new practice area. We want 21st century facilities at this club.”
The investment will include new machinery, clubhouse refurbishment and upgrades to the golf course, protect local employment and provide opportunities for local junior talent and caddy programmes.
Jim McMorrow, Chairman of Seapoint Golf Links, remarked; “In 2019, we engaged Carr Golf to support the Club in the management and maintenance of our course and Club. Earlier this summer we invited a proposal from Carr Golf – comprising clearing our legacy debts, fresh investment in the facilities and continued playing rights for our members – that was supported by the members at an EGM in September. We can now all look forward to a period of much-needed investment in the golf course and facilities that will enhance the member experience for many years to come”.
In 2007, Seapoint Golf Club borrowed a multi-million euro sum to extend and modify the clubhouse and facilities. Compounded by the financial crash in 2008, the Golf Club was unable to meet its commitments. The sale removes a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the Club’s future.
In July 2021, Carr Golf was invited by Termonfeckin Limited’s Board of Directors to submit a debt settlement proposal. A sub-group of members representing Joint Club, Trustees, Men’s and Ladies Committees were tasked with negotiating a deal with Carr Golf on behalf of the club. A deal was agreed in principle and put to members at an EGM on 8th September 2021. Members and shareholders mandated the Board to proceed with completing the transaction with Carr Golf and its investors, by a 61% majority.
A Golf Access Agreement between Genesis Links and the Golf Club provides for members’ rights, competitions, tee sheets, committee roles and responsibilities, guest rates and playing rights.
The history of the company now behind Seapoint is linked closely to its founder, Joe Carr, who won his first East of Ireland Championship in Baltray in 1941, exactly 80 years ago so beginning the first family connection with the area, and that is now evolving through Genesis Links’ investment in the area.
Joe’s win that day was delivered on all round consistency rather than brilliance at any particular stage. The 20-year-old Sutton scratch man, was not only winning the East for the first time it was his first golf title when he finished four strokes ahead of the field at the inaugural Championship.
Second to Carr was Kevin Garvey, the local star, who, probably through nerves, failed to reveal his true form. A tremendous driver, he showed distinct promise and he kept the championship alive to the very end. A two at the 14th on the last round left him with a good chance of catching the leader, but failure to hole a short one at the next hole and again at the 16th wrecked his chances.
D. F. Sweeney (Co. Louth) was 13 shots back. followed in by M. V. Reddan (Co. Louth).
There is certainly a new air of confidence around local golf this week, never mind the wider tourism sector