Former Irish International Ada O’Sullivan is looking forward to a busy year, in December she was elected as President in Monkstown Golf Club and the decorated golfer is looking forward to the year ahead. Having played and managed at the highest level, Ada is now taking on a different role and is keen to take on some of the challenges that golf has. In recent years Monkstown have grown their membership thanks to the progressive work of various club committees. “Like all businesses Monkstown Golf club is no different and has had to adapt to the economic change and make the club more attractive to existing members and entice new members through various packages and programmes” explained Ada. “It is recognised nationally that the majority of golf clubs have a missed generation 30yrs -45 years old and the game of golf became less attractive due to expensive joining fees, a round of golf taking up to five hours hence the lowering of fees and the introduction of nine-hole competitions have proven to be successful and we have seen especially in the past three years a large increase in the lady membership at Monkstown. We are also extremely fortunate to have a young, energetic, enthusiastic club Professional in Cian McNamara who along with the Junior Committees have a superb junior golf programme in place and as a result has gone from strength to strength with Boys and Girls in the past three years. The club is in very safe hands with an enthusiastic Management committee under the stewardship of Chairman Rob Andrews.” Monkstown was one of the local clubs to feel the impact of the precarious weather in the Autumn and the course took a battering on October as hurricane like winds ripped through the course, causing damage to several holes. The club responded strongly as Ada outlined: “We’ll continue to repair the damage caused by Storm Ophelia. We lost over 100 trees in the storm including many of our much loved and iconic hardwood trees. Our ground staff have done outstanding work in clearing the debris and we had the full 18 holes back in play within one month of Ophelia.”
December and January usually mean AGM time for golf clubs and with that piece of work now completed most clubs will be looking forward to implementing the plans for 2018. Like neighbours Douglas, this is the first year where a lady member will hold the role of President, and it’s been a natural progression for the club. “Monkstown is a very progressive club and has a harmonious working relationship between both the Ladies and Men’s clubs” said Ada, “on reflection it was only a matter of time before a lady would be asked to take up the role, one in which I am extremely proud of and especially following in the footsteps of both my late Dad Phil, who was president in 1977 and brother Mark who was President in 2014.” It may sound strange now, but for many of the older golf clubs in Ireland, the issue of equal status was only addressed in past twenty years. Up until then many clubs would only allow ladies and juveniles to be associate members, preventing them from becoming full voting members. Legislation, and advice from the ILGU and GUI brought about a major change in the membership structures for the vast majority of clubs, with Portmarnock and Royal Dublin remaining among a small number of sports clubs where ladies cannot become full members. Although Ada O’Sullivan is the first Lady to hold the position of President in Monkstown the former Irish Strokeplay Champion is no stranger to leadership positions in golf. With 30 scratch cups and over 100 Irish caps to her name, she went on to captain several representative teams. She captained the Curtis Cup and Vagliano Trophy teams for two cycles between 2003 & 2006, and also captained the Esprito Santa team in 2002 for GB&I and in 2012 for Team Ireland. In the past decade she has continued to “give it back” to the game. She spent four years on the ILGU board between 2010-2014, and was the Union’s High Performance Director during that time. Current elite amateurs including Valerie Clancy, Mairead Martin and Sara Byrne have all acknowledged the important role that the ILGU High Performance programmes have played in their progress. These can be traced back to the plans that were put in place by Ada and the High Performance team over those four years.