Ireland's golf clubs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding a limited run of inter-club competitions in 2020.
The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) wrote to all of its affiliated clubs in mid-May seeking opinions on whether they would like to take part in a curtailed list of competitions and the result is that matches are now due to start at a date not earlier than July 20.
It's another small but significant step for sport and society at large as it edges its way back to a type of normal, although the likes of the Barton Shield (foursomes) and Irish Mixed Foursomes will not proceed due to Covid-19 social distancing protocols.
A total of 169 clubs, 85% of the original entry, were in favour of going ahead with the AIG Senior Cup. The figure for the AIG Junior Cup was 232 clubs, or 79% of the original entry. The AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield returned figures of 242 clubs/78% of the original entry.
The AIG Pierce Purcell Shield, All-Ireland Gold Medals, and Boys U18 Inter-Club also got the green light, as did provincial competitions such as the Jack O'Sullivan in Connacht, the Barton Cup in Leinster, the Leinster U15 Inter-Club, and the Ulster Cup.
The Munster Country Club Trophy is not among the events listed.
Draws and other information related to the events that will go ahead will be published on Monday, June 29, with the GUI pointing out that any commencement date is, obviously, subject to public health restrictions.
It also remains to be seen whether the All-Ireland competitions will run to completion, or if they will conclude at provincial levels this year alone. What is certain is that the competitions will look different to before.
In the case of the AIG events, there will be no stroke play qualifiers. The competition will run in the same way through the four provinces with all matches prior to the provincial quarter-final, at least, being played on a home/away basis with the team drawn at home hosting three matches and the team drawn away hosting two.
Host clubs will not be providing post-match sit-down meals. Caddies will not be permitted at any events and clubs will not be required to provide complimentary practise rounds prior to matches. The AIG Jimmy Bruen and Pierce Purcell Shields will be four-ball instead of foursomes for the purposes of social distancing.
The All-Ireland finals have been provisionally rescheduled for Donegal Golf Club on October 15-18. The intention is to hold the final of the U18 Inter-Club along with the four AIG events at the same venue.
The All-Ireland Gold Medal final remains scheduled for the K Club on October 6.