Golf Ireland Transition Board issues update to

26 August 2019
FAO: All club members, officers and staff

As you are aware, a Proposal to establish a single governing body for golf in Ireland, to be
called Golf Ireland, was approved by GUI and ILGU delegates at meetings held in January 2019. Under the Proposal, it is intended that Golf Ireland will “go live” on 1 January 2021.

In the interim, a Transition Period has been instituted during which the structures and
organisation of Golf Ireland are being established. This process is being led by a Transition Board*, comprising four nominees of the GUI and four nominees of the ILGU, with Tim O’Connor as the independent Chairperson. The Transition Board was appointed in February and has been meeting monthly since then.

Vision, Mission and Culture
The Transition Board has established the Vision, Mission and Culture for its work which will guide it through the remainder of the Transition Period and into the new body.

Sub-Committees and Transition Board Priorities
Work by the Transition Board to implement the Golf Ireland Proposal has commenced in a number of areas and the following Sub Committees have been established: Chief Executive Appointment; Finance and Governance; Branding, Logo and Website; Property and Office Accommodation; Handicapping; Competitions and Tournaments; Models of Club Governance; and Organisational Structures.

A key priority for the Transition Board is the appointment of a Chief Executive of Golf Ireland and an open competition has been instituted in that regard. Once appointed, the task of the Chief Executive in the first instance will be to drive forward the Transition process under the direction of the Transition Board. Further Sub Committees will be appointed by the Transition Board as needed over the
coming period.

The Transition Board has liaised with Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland, who welcomed the decision of the GUI and ILGU as well as offering support and encouragement for the new body. Additionally, the Golf Ireland trademark and domain name have been secured. 

The Transition Board intend for the Transition Period to culminate with h the first AGM and the first Regional meetings of Golf Ireland in the final quarter of 2020, which will pave the way for the new organisation to ‘go live’ on 1 January 2021.

What this means for GUI, ILGU and CGI
Until Golf Ireland is established in 2021, and the transfer of functions from the GUI and ILGU commence, it is business-as-usual for both the GUI and ILGU. This means
that clubs, players and officials continue to communicate with both Unions as they always have. The same holds true for the CGI, whose work continues as before pending the transfer across in due course to Golf Ireland.

Under the Terms of Reference of the Transition Board, the Chairperson is required to be available to provide quarterly updates to the Boards of the ILGU and GUI. He has met both Boards once in that regard. The Transition Board will regularly update on progress as the work of the Board continues.

The Continuing Role of Volunteers
Golf is dependent on the many volunteers at club, regional and national level who undertake a range of activities. This will not change with the establishment of Golf Ireland. Current and new volunteers will be needed in the new body. If you are interested in a  voluntary role in golf, you are invited to express interest with the relevant ILGU District or GUI Branch Executives to find out what roles are and will be available.

Chairperson O’Connor said: “Just as volunteers have been the lifeblood of the GUI and ILGU over the decades, so too will they be central to the success of Golf Ireland. There will be changes in how Golf is structured, with one overall governing body where previously there were two, but volunteers will continue to be a central pillar of the game in
Ireland. We will be providing more detail in that regard as the
Transition Period progresses.”

O’Connor added: “The establishment of Golf Ireland is an exciting new development for golf on the island of Ireland. I am encouraged by the positive start to the work of the Transition Board. Everybody is committed and dedicated to the success of the project. Working closely with the ILGU and the GUI, we look forward to ensuring that the Proposal, approved overwhelmingly by members in January, is faithfully implemented and that by January 2021 the new structures and arrangements will be in place to enable Golf Ireland to take forward its mission of securing and developing the future of golf across the island.”

*Members of Transition Board: Tim
O’Connor (Chairperson); Pauline Bailie; Mary Culliton; Ian Kerr; Brege McCarrick; Joe McNamara; John Power; Brian Punch; Fiona Scott

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Golf Ireland - Club Summary

Golf Ireland - Club Summary. Link to .pdf document

Golf Ireland
The Boards of both the ILGU and GUI have unanimously approved the Proposal for Golf Ireland and we are now asking you, as members of affiliated clubs to give your support to the proposed establishment of Golf Ireland, through your golf club.

Benefits of Golf Ireland
Golf Ireland will have one vision and one strategy, for both men and women, to lead golf into the future. There will be increased emphasis on support and services for the member clubs of Golf Ireland. Family-friendly initiatives and promoting an inclusive environment will be at the forefront of Golf Ireland’s objectives. The aim of these initiatives will be to help attract more people to the game, to support ongoing harmonious relations in our clubs the length and breadth of the country, and to have families say as a group that “this is a sport for us.”

How will Golf Ireland differ to the ILGU/GUI? 
Golf Ireland will be more modern in its structures, provide a voice for all affiliate clubs at both National and Regional level and most importantly it will be equal and inclusive, which will in turn help with attracting more people and families into the game. This will benefit membership numbers and help clubs thrive into the future.

What is Golf Ireland’s stance on equality?
Golf Ireland will seek to ensure that clubs treat all members fairly and that rights and entitlements are determined by membership categories and not by gender.

Will Golf Ireland interfere with the running of our club?
Golf Ireland will not interfere with the day-to-day running of its affiliate clubs. It will support clubs in a range of areas, similar to the services the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) provides currently, such as governance, club development and marketing, amongst many others. The club support, development and participation staff will be based locally in each of the four regions. It will also advise clubs on best practice models with a set of overarching principles, which it will encourage clubs to follow.  

Can I just continue to play my golf?
The change from ILGU/GUI to Golf Ireland will not adversely impact on golfers’ enjoyment of the game. Clubs can continue to run their own competitions for members and visitors, as they currently do, with both men’s competitions and ladies’ competitions. Golf Ireland will provide guidance and support to clubs and best practice guidelines, as our sport moves to embrace a more modern culture.

What will happen to the voice of women in Golf Ireland given the disparity in the proportion of female (22%) relative to male members (78%)?
Golf Ireland will lead from the front in promoting equality and inclusivity for all golfers.
The role of Golf Ireland President will alternate between men and women, and there will be a minimum 30% representation of both genders at Board and Regional level. Golf Ireland is committed to ensuring that the voice of both men and women is equally heard. The voting system at Golf Ireland General Meetings and Regional Meetings has been devised to ensure that male and female club members will have a say in the outcome of elections and voting on notices of motion. 

What change will we see in our club?
The decision to implement change will be for individual golf clubs to decide themselves. A set of overarching principles for clubs will be available, and these principles will be promoted by Golf Ireland. If clubs follow them, they will progress along the road towards improved governance and management practices. Clubs should feel a greater sense of support in the new body, as there will be heightened services delivered to clubs, services that clubs receive currently through the CGI. This will be due to the efficiencies realised by Golf Ireland.

There is no equality legislation in Northern Ireland. How will Golf Ireland manage this?
Golf Ireland will lead by example and will require a minimum 30% representation of both genders at national and regional level. If they wish, clubs can follow the lead of the national body and their regional executives and can replicate these structures. Best practice guidance and support will be available for all clubs.

How do we get a mandate from our club members on how to vote?
Each club affiliated to either the GUI or the ILGU will have the opportunity to cast their vote on the Proposal for Golf Ireland. We are asking each men’s and ladies committee to get a mandate from their members on how to vote. This mandate can be gained in a number of different ways by the men’s/ladies committees, and should result in committees getting authorisation from your members to vote for or against the Proposal.

Golf Ireland geared for the good of the game - link to website

Golf Ireland - a New Era for Irish Golf - Golf Explained - link to ILGU
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