Finn takes over as Smith bids farewell after 15 years
A changing of the guard at the GUI headquarters -- Tipperary native Pat Finn has taken over as general secretary from Seamus Smith, who has retired after 15 years service.
Finn, who was assistant to Smith for the last 13 years, becomes only the fourth general secretary in the Union's history, succeeding Bill Menton (1949-83), Ivan Dickson (1983-95) and Smith (1996-2011).
Smith can take great satisfaction from his achievements in the GUI.
Originally a journalist with the 'Evening Press' and the 'Irish Press' -- he was sports editor of the morning paper from 1987 until the company's demise in 1995 -- Smith proved himself a supremely capable golfing administrator.
On his watch, and backed by far-sighted officials including Paddy Murphy, Albert Lee, Rollo McClure and others, the GUI undertook many new initiatives.
Smith was at the hub of the central database of handicaps system, the setting up of the GUI Academy at Carton House, and big expansions in coaching and development of players.
As chairman of the GUI Championship Committee, he organised all national championships since 1996.
He also oversaw the organisation of international events hosted by the GUI including the European Team Championships at Portmarnock in 1997, the European Youths Team Championship at The Island in 2004, the European Seniors' Team Championship at Shannon in 2008, and the Home Internationals at Royal County Down (1999), Ballybunion (2003) and Co Louth (2007).
Smith will be honoured by his club, Clontarf, with the captaincy in the club's centenary year of 2012.