Clonakilty Golf Club members get back into swing of things as local courses re-open

May 28th, 2020 12:45 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Clonakilty Golf Club members Mark Buckley, Declan Soden and Vinny Foran were back on the course when it reopened last week.

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GOLFERS have got back into the swing of the things following the re-opening of courses around the country, including Clonakilty Golf Club.

New measures to meet Government guidelines on easing Covid-19 restrictions saw Clonakilty’s newly-designed 12-hole course re-open its doors to members last Monday week.

Unsurprisingly, the club’s time-sheets filled up quickly as golfers of all ages returned to the Lisselan Estate’s fairways for the first time since early March.

‘It is a huge relief to have our Clonakilty golf course open once again,’ club captain Donal O’Mahony commented.

‘We are only too aware that there are far more important things going on right now but opening our course represents a big step towards normality for our members. It is a way for them to get out in the fresh air and start exercising once again. It is also, even more importantly, a way to socialise and meet up with friends, albeit while adhering to our club’s strict social distancing guidelines and rules.

‘A lot of other sports are still somewhat restricted, but golf is the one sport where people, both young and old, can enjoy a competitive element and still maintain a safe social distance.

'Currently, our juvenile members can only play on the course in the company of an adult. We welcome that ruling because it means our juveniles will be safely supervised up until June 29th’ when restrictions will be eased once again.’

These are exciting times for a golf club already looking to the future and planning on extending their beautiful course to 18 holes. The Clonakilty club’s social media accounts have been busy these past few weeks, showcasing their new course layout via drone footage. Early feedback suggests the course’s fairways will be incredibly busy over the summer months.

‘The reports back from anyone who has played our 12-hole course have been fantastic and hugely positive,’ commented Donal O’Mahony.

‘It was always a challenging course, and still is, but slightly easier than before. That means our course now very much appeals to younger golfers, those with a higher handicap and casual golfers as well. As I said, there are still plenty of challenges out there on the course but we are delighted with the positive feedback we have received so far.’

Experienced green-keeper Aidan Quirke has done a terrific job since joining from Muskerry GC. Quirke’s 14 years of green-keeping experience has been put to good use and the Clonakilty greens and fairways have never looked better.

‘We have an absolute gem in Aidan Quirke’, added O’Mahony.

‘Like any golf course, it is hugely important to get the greens right and Aidan has done some absolutely fantastic work on them already. Not alone the greens, but throughout the course all of Aidan’s Trojan efforts are starting to bear fruit.

‘As for membership, it is difficult to say how many we have right now. That’s because we have taken in a huge amount of new members over the last few weeks to coincide with the course reopening.

'We have been blown away by the interest in club membership and I believe the offer of €350/€300 (gentlemen/ladies) is a big draw. Last year, we were just shy of 200 members and I’d be confident we will surpass that number before the current year is out.’

In time, a full 18-hole golf course will regal the Lisselan Estate, a development that will benefit not just golfers, but businesses throughout West Cork. For now, the club’s golfers are delighted to be back out on the fairways. A first but important step back to normality courtesy of golf.

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