Grants scheme crucial for development of future stars
ASPIRING and fledgling professionals are awaiting news of the 2013 Team Ireland Golf Trust grants, which are expected to be announced within a week.
This support scheme, currently administered by the Irish Sports Council, has disbursed over €3m to young male and female professionals since it was instituted in 1999.
Among the recipients grateful for Trust assistance at the beginning of their Tour careers were Shane Lowry, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie, Michael Hoey, Rebecca Codd (nee Coakley) and Martina Gillen.
The money available is decreasing in line with the economic downturn and last year it amounted to €139,000 shared between 15 golfers – 13 men and two women, Danielle McVeigh and Tara Delaney.
Accepting the financial realities, the golfers appreciate any support they can get and it's interesting to note that the new Confederation of Golf in Ireland could operate the allocations in the future.
The CGI will formally come into existence following the approval of delegates to the GUI's Annual Delegate Meeting last week.
This is a body comprised of representatives of the GUI, ILGU, and the PGA and is primarily aimed at developing the game.
It will also facilitate a one-stop shop for Irish Sports Council financial aid to the game.
Instead of each body applying for its share of the cake, the Council can pay the CGI and it will distribute the funds, including most likely taking charge of the Golf Trust.
GUI Honorary Secretary Albert Lee welcomed the CGI and also the ongoing financial support for golf from the Sports Council.
"The Sports Council have been very supportive and have done us proud. I know there have been cutbacks for the last few years, but they have been supporting golf in a big way.
"We couldn't do what we're doing if we didn't have the support of the Sports Council. We would have difficulty sending the guys all over the world.
"When you go back to Rory's (McIlroy) time and Shane's (Lowry) time, they were sent all over the world, to Australia, New Zealand, you name it.
"It's important that continues, and that we're able to do that for them," said Lee.
Regarding the Trust, Lee felt there is no conflict between amateurism and assisting young professionals.
"I think it's good. Why would you assist young fellas up to the day they turn pro and then turn your back on them?
"If the right programme is set up for this, it should work well," he said.