Mark Kennelly the CEO of Golf Ireland must feel like the cat who’s got the cream when it comes to the financial implications of the Covid 19 Pandemic for his organisation. The governing body of Golf in this country has secured funding of over 3 million euro’s from Sport Ireland and the R&A to assist clubs severely impacted by the pandemic. Whilst Kennelly has welcomed this support he has not been forthcoming in answering the following questions related to Golf Ireland’s finances.
Why has the governing body in Ireland not followed the example of the Scottish and Welsh Golf Unions who have refunded part of the annual levy each club golfer pays to the governing body?
How much money has been saved by the governing body in relation to the non-attendance at elite amateur events?
How much annually is spent by the governing body on elite amateur golf?
What continues to amaze me personally is that many in the Irish golfing media refuse to ask these questions and hold the governing body to account on behalf of the average club golfer. It seems that the “tail is wagging the dog” when you compare the money contributed by the individual club golfer as to what he or she, actually receives as a benefit, apart from a recognised handicap.
The Covid 19 Pandemic has once and for all proved to me that golf is better served when the average man or woman in the street appreciates the sport and not when player A or player B has a runner up finish in the South African Amateur or finishes 29th on the Europro money list. It’s about time the governing body in Ireland started using its resources properly in developing a marketing strategy that focuses on getting new golfers into the game at grass roots level. Ireland has under the auspices of the GUI produced major Champions in Harrington, McDowell , McIlroy, Clarke and Lowry during this time our sport and membership of GUI affiliated clubs declined!!! Now because of Covid 19 and social distancing people are appreciating our wonderful sport – golf is booming! Lets start supporting our club golfers and put a drive on recruiting new players especially juniors and ladies into the game. I rest my case.