Four months after the members of Killorglin Golf Club believed they had played their course for the last time, a successful new club is rising out of the ashes thanks to an amalgamation with similarly bereft members at Castleisland.
Maine Valley Members Golf Club opened for business on May 19, a day after Ireland and Irish golf courses came out of the Covid-19 lockdown and has already attracted a membership in excess of 350 members, thanks to the new club’s founding chairman Dermot Kelly and a handful of like-minded Killorglin members determined not to give up on their desire to continue playing the picturesque parkland course on the Ring of Kerry.
Killorglin GC closed in late March quickly followed by nearby Castleisland GC as both suffered financial difficulties exacerbated by the temporary closure of all golf courses due to the pandemic.
Yet Farranfore resident Kelly had other ideas.
“We’ve reopened now and we’re going from strength to strength,” Kelly told the Irish Examiner. “The closure took us by surprise but I met the landowner Billy Dodds, who said if anybody had an idea (to keep the club running), ‘let me know’.”
Kelly did just that, formulating his own plan to attract members from Castleisland and re-engage with those Killorglin members who had left the club in recent years. It met with Dodds’ approval and a green light to put the plan in place.
With Castleisland members and others contacted, 250 golfers paid a €100 deposit to confirm their interest to join, at least 100 more than formed Killorglin GC’s membership at closure.
“We’re up and running, we’ve now more than 350 members, we’ve had societies play and we’re going from strength to strength,” Kelly added.