Competitions are back

There was more good news for clubs last week when the GUI announced that four Cups and Shields events will take place.  Having selected four competitions that could potentially proceed, the mens union polled all of the participant clubs and received a strong mandate to plan for the provincial stages.  Over 75% of clubs backed the plans to proceed with the AIG Senior and Junior Cups, the Jimmy Brun Shield and the Pierce Purcell Shield.  The GUI had previously announced that the Mixed Foursomes and the Barton Shield would not proceed this year.

At this stage of the year most of the qualifying rounds would have been completed, and it will be another few weeks before the competitions get underway as a statement from the GUI expla Continue reading

Golf’s Reopening

In 11 days most golf courses in Cork will reopen following the Government announcement on Friday last.  Most golfers will have welcomed the inclusion of golf in the first phase of the lifting of restrictions although questions remain on the 5km limit for non-essential travel.  This sparked plenty of debate online over the weekend with many citing that the majority of members would be excluded if the 5km rule was not relaxed.

Despite that restriction the good news is that clubs will reopen on the 18th, and golf will return to a similar format to what golfers experienced prior to the lockdown.  Social distancing, no course accessories like flags and rakes, and small groups of two or four are likely to feature in the initial phase.  With the restrictions still applying to hospitality settings it’s unlikely that clubhouses and restaurants will open on the 18th May.  The work of the governing bodies has been instrumental in ensuring that golf was included in the earlier stages of relaxing the lockdown rules.  The GUI and ILGU have been busy in the past few weeks, liaising with the authorities on a range of issues.  Those topics included the essential maintenance of courses which was not initially included in the original restrictions, as well the financial impact of the crisis on clubs and building a pathway for the safe resumption of golf.

A statement said that the governing bodies “have prepared a comprehensive draft protocol on the safe resumption of play on which we have been engaging with the Government over recent weeks.  We now intend to finalise this protocol in the coming week, in consultation with the Government, and issue clear advice to our member clubs well in advance of the reopening of courses on 18 May.  That advice will emphasise the absolute necessity of golf clubs adhering to the terms of the protocol for safe play.”  The statement asked club and golfers for patience until the final advice is released.  “In the initial stage, play will be for members only and competitions will not be permitted.  We would ask clubs to refrain from opening timesheets for booking until the protocol is published, as it will contain vital information on group sizes and timesheet intervals.”

The statement also confirmed that the governing bodies will also continue to work closely with the Government in the coming weeks and months to seek support for golf clubs that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions.  There has been lots of commentary on the impact of the closure of courses for over a month, the reduction of future green fee and society bookings, and the knock-on effect that it will have on the financial position of many clubs.

When will golf return?

Every golfer is keenly anticipating a return to the course, and while many are waiting the golfing bodies are making plans for a number of different start dates.  Munster Golf have drawn up several scenarios depending on when the green light is given.  Already the Munster Boys has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, that should have taken place in Kinsale last week.  The Munster Strokeplay was scheduled for Cork Golf Club next week and that has now been postponed with the hope that it can be rescheduled at some point in the season.  While the championships are relatively easy to reschedule, the inter-club events are different.  In all there 11 Cups and Shields competitions with the majority of them involving all clubs.

A number of scenarios are being worked on, including changing the format to home and away, strokeplay qualifiers and mid-wee Continue reading

Golfing Bodies support Clubs

​​It should have been a breakthrough year for golfing bodies in Ireland but like so many other sports the goalposts have moved.  Both the GUI (Men) and ILGU (Ladies) recently held their final Annual General Meetings, and it looked like the biggest item on the agenda for 2020 was the transition to Golf Ireland, the new single governing body for the amateur game in Ireland.  Instead, both bodies along with the Confederation of Golf in Ireland.  The national bodies have directly engaged at the highest level with government agencies to establish recovery support measures.  As part of their efforts to support golfers and clubs, a club survey will follow next week to help Unions identify the economic impact on the sport and the GUI, ILGU & CGI hope to outline immediate supports available.  In a statement issued to all clubs over the weekend the Unions acknowledge the cha Continue reading

Masters Disappointment for Sugrue

James Sugrue pictured at home in Mallow with his invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.

The most disappointed golfer in Cork must have been James Sugrue.  The Mallow man was preparing for his trip to Augusta and on Friday it was confirmed that the Masters would be postponed.  Sugrue was on the BBC on Friday evening and like all other golfer fans you could sense his disappointment after the announcement was made.  A group of around twenty friends and family were planning to travel to the Masters and like many others they’re now waiting for the new date to be announced.  For Sugrue the postponement means that the plans for the season may change.  Sugrue had indicated that he’s probably turn professional in the summer after the US Open but those plans may have to change if he needs to retain his amateur status for a deferred Masters.  The same may apply to the

John Murphy

John Murphy was another golfer to be affected by the cancellation of competitions.  On Friday the NCAA announced the suspension of all college sports, effectively meaning that Murphy’s Louisville college career was over.  Murphy has been in a rich vein of form and saw his ranking rise to inside the top 50 in Division One stats.  Louisville had also risen to 14th in the national rankings meaning that a good post-season performance was within reach.  With all golf suspended for the remainder pf the season, Murphy now has a few more weeks of online lectures before he takes his finals.  Kinsale teammate Mark Healy is in a similar position, although he can return for another year in Tusculum Tennessee.  Murphy on the other hand is a senior and this was his final year in Kentucky.  He did put the brightside out on Monday when he tweeted a video hurling in the Cardinal Stadium football pitch.  The tweet went viral and brought a smile to many faces at a time when there was little to smile about.

Like most other sports golf has come to a standstill, and this week several clubs in Cork decided to close completely in light of the recent government advice.  Many clubs continued to hold club competitions over the weekend while adhering to the new guidelines on social distancing.  Following the weekend and the closure of pubs, there was a marked change with several courses closing.  Some clubs have cancelled club competitions but have allowed members to play.  Golfers were asked to observe the now usual norms of social distancing and not to engage in any handshakes.  Flags were removed from some courses with semi-permanent holes being cut in the middle of the greens.  Most clubhouses are now closed in line with the recommendations that came out on Sunday evening.  The likelihood of inter-club events and championships taking place in the next few months are also in doubt .