Four golf clubs have now closed down permanently due to Covid-19

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 4, 2020 10:40

Four golf clubs in Ireland will not be reopening when the rest of the country’s courses return to action on May 18.

Killorglin Golf Club closed at the end of March after 28 years in operation, and Castleisland Golf Club has gone the same way, although there are attempts to amalgamate the two clubs into one new entity.

Meanwhile, Castle Barna Golf Club is to revert to agricultural use.

The owners had announced earlier this year that they were retiring and it was hoped that the membership would lease the course, but no deal was reached and the venue has now closed.

Owner Kieran Mangan said the Covid-19 pandemic led to a breakdown in negotiations and talked about the challenges facing golf clubs at the moment.

“Unfortunately, the timing of the Covid 19 virus stalled any progress at a critical stage, as meetings could not be called and then all golf courses had to close due to restrictions,” he said.

“Despite Castle Barna implementing the social distancing guidelines as set out by the government, as restrictions increased, the clubhouse restaurant and course was closed.

“This has a devastating effect on all golf courses as maintenance still has to be done year round, though now without any income during the peak season.

“It was not possible for the committee to progress the lease in light of the Covid pandemic. This is understandable as the economic year ahead shows so much uncertainty.

“Lost bookings are affecting all golf clubs. Refunds have been issued to society bookings and members who had paid in advance, and all suppliers have been paid.

“To our loyal customers who have given us three decades of support, thank you for the memories and we hope to see you continue to play golf, join new clubs and get the same enjoyment as they had at Castle Barna.”

Castle Barna Golf Club. Image from Facebook

It has also emerged that Water Rock Golf Course in East Cork will not be reopening on May 18.

This comes as golf courses in Ireland are preparing to open on May 18, with strict new rules in place.

For example, members of Irish golf clubs who live within 5km of their clubs can play at them from May 18, from 5km to 20km it will be from June 8, and more than 20km it will be from July 20. There is no word yet on green fee paying golfers.

The forthcoming change in the Republic of Ireland means the Northern Ireland Executive is set to discuss the potential reopening of golf courses in that country this week.

“We continue to press the Executive, on behalf of our clubs in Northern Ireland, to make that same step,” said Kevin Stephens, GUI Ulster Branch executive officer.

“Golf is a sport which can be played under social distancing guidelines.”

He added: To ensure that this is enforced, clubs will be required to sign up to the protocol issued by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) before opening.

“This protocol has been circulated to Sport NI and other government departments. It will form the basis of discussions with all of the interested parties during the next seven days, and we await their response with interest.”

The GUI has said it will publish a document shortly advising golf clubs on how they can implement safe golf with social distancing in place while it also clarified that, initially, play will be for members only and no competitions will take place.

This comes as over recent weeks Sport Ireland and the Department of Sport had put together a list, grading all sports according to perceived risk. The sports in the frame had a cross-generational playing population, could be enjoyed in small groups, without organised competition and without physical contact: golf, tennis, badminton and lawn bowls floated to the top of the list.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 4, 2020 10:40
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1 Comment

  1. Guy May 5, 16:09

    if golf clubs around the world are not supported by governments as other businesses are
    , I am afraid that there will be more to close down …

    Reply to this comment
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