AFTER LANDMARK votes at separate meetings, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Golfing Union of Ireland have formally approved the establishment of Golf Ireland.
The ILGU approved a special resolution at their AGM, while simultaneously the GUI passed a motion at a Special General Meeting.
In the case of the GUI, 94% of clubs voted in favour of the proposal, while 100% of ILGU clubs backed the motion.
The result of both votes is the outcome of a three-year process of discussion and consultation between the two Unions, internally with their respective clubs and regional bodies, and externally with key national and international stakeholders.
It will mean the game of golf in Ireland will now, for the first time, have an all-inclusive governing body.
Throughout the exhaustive consultation period, the benefits of amalgamation were acknowledged in terms of attracting funding and commercial partners, as well as providing a significant boost for the image of the game in the country.
Once established, clubs will only have to deal with one body when it comes to handicapping, inter-club events, club support and game development.
A joint statement released by the chairperson of the ILGU, Clodagh Hopkins, and the GUI, Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, read: “We are delighted with the outcome of the votes at our respective meetings, and thank everyone who has given this proposal their support.
“Bringing two strong organisations, the ILGU and GUI, together to create a stronger, more influential organisation, Golf Ireland, will not only enhance golf in Ireland but will enhance Irish golf worldwide.
“The result today indicates that members of both Unions are in support of creating a new organisation, which will be built around promoting core principles of equality, diversity, inclusion and excellence.”
A transition period is currently in place, with the intention for this to culminate with the first AGM and regional meetings of Golf Ireland happening in the final quarter of 2020, paving the way for the organisation to ‘go live’ on January 1, 2021.
The transition period will involve the organisation taking shape through creation of a regional and national structure and the drawing up of rules and processes to underpin the activities of the organisation, all overseen by a CEO.
The GUI and ILGU will continue to operate through the transition period with the transfer of functions and staff to Golf Ireland prior to the ‘go live’ date for the new organisation.