A dozen Cork golf clubs celebrated last week as they were successful in the most recent round of Sports Capital Programme grants. Over €830,000 was allocated to twelve clubs across the county, and they will now look forward to investing the funds to improve their course and facilities.
Kanturk, Mallow, Kinsale and Doneraile all received grants of more than €100,000 while another eight shared funds from €14,000 to €90,000. While golf clubs have received sports capital funding in the past, the recent announcement is by far the biggest on an individual and collective basis.
Kanturk was one of a number of North Cork clubs to be named in the list, and with €115,000 in funding allocated, the club was delighted; “The recent sports capital awarded funding is going to be a significant boost to Kanturk Golf Club” said Richie Philpott on behalf of the management committee. “It will enable us to continue to drive on course improvements and additional works in the short to medium term which is helping to take the club to a next level. The funds will be used to carry on the drainage programme the club committed to implementing 4 years ago as well as the replacement of older equipment which is constantly in need of repair. It will also afford the club the opportunity to look at fundraising and using club own funds to help develop and carry out work and development on some green complexes. The works we intend to carry out will be in addition to significant improvements already made over the last 4-year period.”
Working with course architect Ken Kearney, the club has already redeveloped the practice green and resurfaced a number of tee boxes. Head green keeper Finbarr O’Mahony was also delighted to hear the news. “I was delighted for everyone at the club especially all the numerous volunteers who give endless hours doing work out the course, in the clubhouse or at committee level they are absolute credit to the club. As we have a very small staff level on the course, just myself and Rob Wall here full-time we very much rely on the volunteers help to keep the course looking well for members and visitors throughout the year. Our new short game practice area which was completed two years ago has matured nicely and really stands out well in front of clubhouse.”
As the man on the ground, Finbarr has plenty of ideas on where the investment might go. “Future plans out the course are the possible reconstruction of our 17th green moving it back more lengthening the hole. This green is very problematic in the winter months as it just cut out of the existing clay ground and does not perform well in wet weather. Our 13th green will also be looked at this is a long narrow green with very few pin positions due to the severity of the slopes on certain areas of the green and again like number 17 there is scope to move the green back lengthening the hole. Other future works is a continuation of our sanding programme on wetter fairways.”
Youghal Golf Club on the eastern side of the county was also successful in their application, securing close to €80,000 in grant funding. The funds will be used for the development of a new practice area to replace the current practice green, and secondly, installation of a boundary fence, some of which has already been completed. Like other clubs, Youghal praised those who assisted in the process; “The club would like to thank all members for their help, particularly those who presided over the application. It’s not an easy task, and it will no doubt leave the club in a much better place for years to come.” This is the second piece of major infrastructural work to be undertaken by the club. A review and audit of the irrigation system was agreed by the club management towards the end of last year. Work in well underway to improve the irrigation system, as well as fixing the leaks and installing some new piping they are in the process of replacing over 50 sprinkler heads around the greens. The work is being carried out by the greens team and should be completed by mid-March. The irrigation project is another significant investment that will result in obvious on-course improvements in Youghal Golf Club.
Skibbereen was one of the West Cork clubs to benefits from the government scheme, and they are set to invest in the off-course facilities for members and visitors. Club PRO Claire McGonigle was delighted with the club’s allocation. “Skibbereen and West Carbery Golf Club are absolutely delighted to announce that we received a government grant of €42,000 following our successful application for the refurbishment of both the ladies and men’s toilets and changing rooms. Our success was partially attributed to the significant increase in our new female membership. Our current facilities are in definite need of a face-lift, and we want to make sure our members enjoy a good experience both on and off the course.”
The club has benefitted from the increased interest in golf over the past two years and has been working hard to develop the member and guest experience. Founded nearly 90 years ago, the club move from a nine hole layout to a full 18 in the early nineties and it hosts an annual Jack Lynch Memorial Classic each July. The event was started in 1985 and has grown to attract a large number of visitors every year.
This is the latest in a number of grant announcements to support clubs. Last year 16 Cork clubs shared close to €300,000 in grants from the government’s Resilience Fund which was designed to support clubs during the pandemic. 2017 marked the first time that golf clubs were successful in applying for the Sports Capital Grants programme, with eight clubs sharing €250,000 of Sport Ireland funding.