As you are aware, a Proposal to establish a single governing body for golf in Ireland, to be called Golf Ireland, was approved by GUI and ILGU delegates at meetings held in January 2019. Under the Proposal, it is intended that Golf Ireland will “go live” on 1 January 2021.
In the interim, a Transition Period has been instituted during which the structures and organisation of Golf Ireland are being established. This process is being led by a Transition Board*, comprising four nominees of the GUI and four nominees of the ILGU, with Tim O’Connor as the independent Chairperson. The Transition Board was appointed in February and has been meeting monthly since then.
Vision, Mission and Culture
The Transition Board has established the Vision, Mission and Culture for its work which will guide it through the remainder of the Transition Period and into the new body.
Sub-Committees and Transition Board Priorities
Work by the Transition Board to implement the Golf Ireland Proposal has commenced in a number of areas and the following Sub Committees have been established: Chief Executive Appointment; Finance and Governance; Branding, Logo and Website; Property and Office Accommodation; Handicapping; Competitions and Tournaments; Models of Club Governance; and Organisational Structures.
A key priority for the Transition Board is the appointment of a Chief Executive of Golf Ireland and an open competition has been instituted in that regard. Once appointed, the task of the Chief Executive in the first instance will be to drive forward the Transition process under the direction of the Transition Board. Further Sub Committees will be appointed by the Transition Board as needed over the coming period.
The Transition Board has liaised with Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland, who welcomed the decision of the GUI and ILGU as well as offering support and encouragement for the new body. Additionally, the Golf Ireland trademark and domain name have been secured.
The Transition Board intend for the Transition Period to culminate with the first AGM and the first Regional meetings of Golf Ireland in the final quarter of 2020, which will pave the way for the new organisation to ‘go live’ on 1 January 2021.
What this means for GUI, ILGU and CGI
Until Golf Ireland is established in 2021, and the transfer of functions from the GUI and ILGU commence, it is business-as-usual for both the GUI and ILGU. This means that clubs, players and officials continue to communicate with both Unions as they always have. The same holds true for the CGI, whose work continues as before pending the transfer across in due course to Golf Ireland.
Under the Terms of Reference of the Transition Board, the Chairperson is required to be available to provide quarterly updates to the Boards of the ILGU and GUI. He has met both Boards once in that regard. The Transition Board will regularly update GolfIreland.ie on progress as the work of the Board continues.
The Continuing Role of Volunteers
Golf is dependent on the many volunteers at club, regional and national level who undertake a range of activities. This will not change with the establishment of Golf Ireland. Current and new volunteers will be needed in the new body. If you are interested in a voluntary role in golf, you are invited to express interest with the relevant ILGU District or GUI Branch Executives to find out what roles are and will be available.
Chairperson O’Connor said: “Just as volunteers have been the lifeblood of the GUI and ILGU over the decades, so too will they be central to the success of Golf Ireland. There will be changes in how Golf is structured, with one overall governing body where previously there were two, but volunteers will continue to be a central pillar of the game in Ireland. We will be providing more detail in that regard as the Transition Period progresses.”
O’Connor added: “The establishment of Golf Ireland is an exciting new development for golf on the island of Ireland. I am encouraged by the positive start to the work of the Transition Board. Everybody is committed and dedicated to the success of the project. Working closely with the ILGU and the GUI, we look forward to ensuring that the Proposal, approved overwhelmingly by members in January, is faithfully implemented and that by January 2021 the new structures and arrangements will be in place to enable Golf Ireland to take forward its mission of securing and developing the future of golf across the island.”
*Members of Transition Board: Tim O’Connor (Chairperson); Pauline Bailie; Mary Culliton; Ian Kerr; Brege McCarrick; Joe McNamara; John Power; Brian Punch; Fiona Scott.