Munster Branch makes first move on handicap anomaly

The first steps to remove a controversial anomaly in golf’s handicap system were taken at this week’s Golfing Union of Ireland Munster Branch AGM at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow.

Players can currently pay an entrance fee to a competition, not take part and still be entitled to an increase of 0.1 in handicap. Castletroy moved that “if a player fails to return a scorecard, his exact handicap shall not be adjusted. And if a player fails to complete the stipulated course or returns an incomplete card, his exact handicap shall not be adjusted”.

There was considerable and animated support for the motion, although category one golfers were excluded. Limerick Golf Club also successfully put through a motion that “no player can receive more than 20 point ones [0.1s] from qualifying competitions during a calendar year”.

The Castletroy and Limerick motions will now go forward to the GUI AGM in February and, if successful, will be carried forward to the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), the final arbiter in these matters.

All outgoing officers, John Moloughney (Templemore), chairman; Jim Long (Monkstown), honorary secretary; Michael J Murphy (Tramore), honorary treasurer and Liam Harkin (Muskerry), honorary match secretary were returned unopposed. Michael Coote (Tralee) is the only new member of the 17 strong provincial council completed by Gordon Adair (Douglas), Eric Brick (Dooks), John Carroll (Bandon), Phil Cooney (Lee Valley), Tom Donnelly (Youghal), Pat Dunne (Roscrea), Peter English (Limerick), John Fennessy (Clonmel), Kevin Glynn (Lahinch), Barry Lynch (Raffeen Creek), Jim Lyne (Glengarriff), Michael P Murphy (Newcastle West), Sean O’Leary (Mahon), Dan O’Sullivan (Ballybunion), Brian Punch (Castletroy) and Joe Rouine (Adare Manor). John Slye (Ceann Sibeal) and Sean Turner (Castleisland) were the defeated candidates while Phil Cooney was appointed GUI Central Council delegate.

Honorary secretary Jim Long paid a well-deserved tribute to former council member Phil O’Sullivan, who died during the year.

“Philo had served on the Branch for over 30 years and travelled the length and breadth of the country promoting junior golf. The likes of Phil and more from his generation will not be seen again.”

Honorary treasurer Michael Murphy informed the delegates “club membership from the 90 affiliated clubs had again dropped by almost 1,500 in the current year and now stood at just over 30,000.”

The number of junior golfers has held steady and this is a positive development.”

Kevin Phelan from Waterford, who recently won his card on the European Tour, was named Munster Golfer of the Year.

Other award winners were Ballybunion (Munster golf club of the year and winners of the Irish Junior Cup), Killorglin (Munster team of the year and winners of the Jimmy Bruen Shield), Robin Dawson (Faithlegg, Munster junior golfer of the year and winner of the Irish Boys Championship) and Michael Quirke (Doneraile, Munster seniors golfer of the year and winner of the Irish Seniors Open Championship).

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