GUI levy to rise €2 as participation numbers slide

Participation numbers continue to drop, but the Munster Branch of the GUI celebrated another good year in 2015, with Gary Hurley, John Murphy, and clubs Tramore and Dooks presented with awards during the annual delegates’ meeting at the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, last week.

GUI levy to rise €2 as participation numbers slide

Honorary treasurer Peter English reported that golf clubs continue to have difficulty in recruiting and retaining members, telling the meeting that the province has suffered a 21% drop in membership over the past five years.

Numbers are down 7,400 net from a high of 35,605 Munster golfers in 2010 to 28,205 today, which is in line with the national figures, which have seen a 45,000 (26%) drop in membership numbers over the same period.

The meeting also heard that Munster golfers will pay an extra €2 on their provincial levy to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 2017 because of an estimated deficit of €10,000 for the coming year.

A reduction in coaching grants from GUI headquarters and a falling off in club membership are largely responsible for the fee rising from €6 to €8, bringing the total union subscription/levy to €24.

From a sporting point of view, it was a good year, with Tramore Golf Club named Club of the Year for its hosting of the Irish Close Championship in August and Dooks Mixed Foursomes named Team of the Year as they claimed the first pennants in more than 125 years in existence.

Not only did the mixed foursomes team secure a Munster pennant in August, they added a national pennant soon after, when they won the All-Ireland final in early September, becoming the first club to win when hosting the provincial and national finals.

Six Munster golfers were selected for the Irish representative teams during the year: Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) and Gary Hurley (West Waterford) at men’s, Cathal Butler (Kinsale) at boys and Tom Cleary (Cork), John Mitchell (Tramore) and Arthur Pierse (Tipperary) at senior.

Kinsale’s John Murphy was named Munster Junior Golfer of the Year with the key highlights of his year including a Munster final appearance in the Fred Daly Trophy Munster final, a win in the Kerry Boys, and a cap for Munster at the Boys Interprovincials. In the Boys events, he was runner-up in Ulster, fifth in Connacht and seventh in Leinster while he also took fourth in the Irish Boys Championship and won the Kerry Boys in Ballybunion. Fourth in the Boys Order of Merit and recently named to the Irish Boys panel, Murphy was part of the Kinsale Fred Daly team and played a big role for Kinsale Community School when they won the Munster Senior Schools Championship in Muskerry.

West Waterford star Hurley was named Munster Golfer of the Year for the second year running, after another season of impressive performances.

The highlight was his contribution to the Walker Cup win for Great Britain and Ireland, but his competitive year started back in January when he travelled to South Africa and was runner-up on the SA Amateur Open.

He had a top 20 finish in the Lytham Trophy which was followed by several notable team performances, including a second appearance for the European Team at the Palmer Cup.

Partnered by Paul Dunne, he helped Ireland reach the last eight in the European Amateur Team Championships and was runner-up in the European Individual Championship in Slovakia, his second successive silver medal in the event.

In spite of his golfing commitments, Hurley also managed to complete his studies at Maynooth University and having achieved all his personal goals for 2015, he decided to turn professional in September.

Munster Branch GUI — Election of Officers:

John Moloughney (Templemore) reelected Chairman; Jim Long (Monkstown) reelected Honorary Secretary; Peter English (Limerick) reelected Honorary Treasurer; Liam Harkin (Muskerry) reelected as Honorary Match Secretary. (All elected unopposed)

Election of Delegates to the Provincial Council (17):

Gordon Adair (Douglas), John Carroll (Bandon), Phil Cooney (Lee Valley), Michael Coote (Tralee), Tom Donnelly (Youghal), Pat Dunne (Roscrea), John Fennessy (Clonmel), Tom Keane (Ballybunion)*, Kevin Glynn (Lahinch), Barry Lynch (Raffeen Creek), Jim Lyne (Glengarriff), Kevin Murray (Tramore)*, Michael P Murphy (Newcastle West), Sean O’Leary (Mahon), Dave Prendergast (Cork)*, Brian Punch (Castletroy), Joe Rouine (Adare Manor).

*Indicates new nomination

Unsuccessful nominees:

Pat Nagle (Dooks)*, Patrick Turner (Muskerry)*, Michael Lawlor (Castleisland)*

Appointment of delegate to Central Council:

John Carroll (Bandon).

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