Saturday 23 February 2019

Golf administrators confident vote for one governing body will succeed

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Brian Keogh

Today is D-Day and officials remain "confident" that Irish golf will vote in favour of the landmark formation of one governing body for men and women and bury forever that notion that golf is stuck in the Dark Ages.

Ballots on the proposal will take place at an EGM of the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) at Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim and the AGM of the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) at the Red Cow Moran Hotel in Dublin, both scheduled for 12.30.

The ILGU is boldly predicting massive approval from its clubs and while a GUI majority is likely to be smaller, anything other than approval by clubs of the joint proposal for the formation of what will be called 'Golf Ireland' would be a major surprise.

Ireland is the only country in the world that still has two separate governing bodies for golf, divided along gender lines and like the GUI and the ILGU, Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland, who provide vital funding for the game, would like to see change.

The other 'home' nations have all made the move and so today should mark the end of an era for golf administration here, which began in the Victorian era when the GUI was founded in 1891 and the ILGU two years later.

The ILGU requires 75pc majority in favour of the proposal while the GUI, the oldest national golf union in the world, needs two-thirds to give the all-clear to begin the transition that is designed to give golf one voice and arrest a 25pc fall in club membership over the past 10-12 years.

"We have to reduce this notion of golf being male-dominated," GUI CEO Pat Finn said of his vision for Golf Ireland, which is not a merger of the GUI with the ILGU but a brand new organisation.

"If you were fast forwarding ten years, you'd like to see a golf club run the same way as a tennis club, where gender simply doesn't come into the equation."

"The primary reason we are doing this is to support members and secure the future of the game," said ILGU CEO Sinéad Heraty, who believes a no vote could kill the proposal for years to come.

Irish Independent

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