Ballybunion, Carlow, Dunmurray and Co. Sligo are among the clubs to take Provincial Awards in the inaugural AIB Golf Club of the Year scheme. In fact Ballybunion won awards in two categories: Environment and Communications.
The. All Ireland category winners and the AIB Golf Club of the Year will be announced in later this month.
The AIB Golf Club of the Year scheme is a joint venture between AIB, the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union. The scheme focuses on non-playing aspects of golf club life that are essential to the long-term success of the club and four areas of increasing importance, namely Junior Golf, The Environment, Communications and Clubhouse / Course Presentation.
The awards are being presented on a geographical basis with provincial and All Ireland Awards in all four categories. Finally there will be one overall award for the Club, which the judges feel, has performed best across all four category areas, that is the AIB Golf Club of the Year.
The provincial winners each receive AIB / GUI / ILGU pennants, while the All Ireland Category Winners will receive a specially commissioned plaque and a development grant for €1,500. The overall AIB Golf Club of the Year winner will receive a specially commissioned plaque and a development grant of €6,000. Introducing the new scheme Jack Lynch, president of the GUI and Cathy Smith, president ILGU both emphasised the uniqueness of the scheme.
“It is an awards scheme most unlike any other we have in that for once the emphasis is not on playing the game but rather on all the other aspects of the game that go into the creation of the golf club, the unit that is at the very heart of our sport,” said Jack Lynch.
“In this new sponsorship the AIB Golf Club of the Year Awards we have joined forces with AIB to seek out those clubs that are making major contributions to our game in many different ways,” said Cathy Smith, President ILGU.
Speaking on behalf of AIB, general manager, Billy Andrews said, “Over the years AIB has had a close relationship with sport in Ireland. In recent years that relationship has tended to focus on one particular aspect of sport, namely the club. We see the role of the club as being essential to the continued good health of sport in Ireland. And it is that club we now want to honour. Not necessarily the club that wins the tournaments but rather the club that continues to progress and be as good as it can be, the club that plays its part in the development of the local community in general.”
The winners in the Junior Golf category are Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster; in the Environment category Portumna, Carlow, Ballybunion and Kilrea; in the Clubhouse/course presentation Enniscrone, Tullamore, Nenagh and Dunmurray; and in Communications Co Sligo, Clontarf, Ballybunion and Castlerock.
Golfing Union of Ireland www.gui.ie