Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly communicated the following update with affiliated clubs on Thursday to provide an update on the recent activity of Golf Ireland and plans for 2021. It has been circulated to all clubs for the attention of their members. He wrote:
As you will be aware, the inaugural Golf Ireland National AGM is scheduled for this Saturday 27 February at 11am via online conference. Preparations for this meeting have been ongoing in recent weeks and we have been in contact with your club delegates to ensure clubs are facilitated in relation to this. A key function of this meeting will be to elect the first board of Golf Ireland. This vote will be conducted electronically and delegates in each club have now received instructions in relation to this.
You will also be aware of the recent government decisions to maintain current COVID-19 restrictions. We understand the frustration and the difficult situation that many clubs are currently in with the courses remaining closed. I want to assure you all that we are engaging intensively with the relevant government departments and agencies in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to highlight the safety and health benefits of golf.
All of you did a great job last year in keeping golf safe at club level. That strong track record is really standing to us now as we make the case for golf to be one of the first sports to restart as soon as the public health situation allows. Last month, Golf Ireland made a detailed written submission to the Irish Government on how golf can be safely resumed under the various levels of its Living with Covid Plan and a similar submission was made to the Northern Ireland Executive. We will continue to work closely with the public authorities to ensure that our sport is up and running again as soon as possible.
In relation to this, Golf Ireland’s Championships team and Regional Managers have been working on a revised schedule for the 2021 season to take into account the continuing challenges posed by the pandemic. With regard to the Regional and National Championships schedule, it is planned to commence the season at the end of May, subject to public health restrictions. Online entries for Championships will open on the week ending Friday 19 March. Despite the later-than-usual start, it remains Golf Ireland’s firm intention to run a comprehensive schedule. The full schedule will be published at the end of February. Golf Ireland’s Tournament Regulations are also being updated to take account of the evolving public health circumstances and will be published along with the fixture list shortly. Golf Ireland is extremely grateful to the host clubs involved for their patience, co-operation and continued enthusiasm, without which it would not be possible to provide such a comprehensive competition programme in the circumstances that currently prevail.
Meanwhile, there has been a greatly encouraging response from golf clubs to the opening of entries for the 2021 Inter-Club competitions. Over 370 clubs have entered these competitions, and at the end of this month the Regions will conduct the draws for the competitions, which will then be published on the week ending Friday 19 March. As things stand, we anticipate the deadline for completion of first round matches in most events to be set no earlier than mid-May, again depending on when matches will be allowed to commence due to public health restrictions. With regard to the four All-Ireland inter-club competitions that were suspended in 2020 at the semi-final stage due to public health restrictions, it remains Golf Ireland’s intention to conclude these before the clubs involved commence their participation in this year’s matches.