The influx of new members allied to the volunteerism ethic that is prominent in the club point to a bright future for East Clare Golf Club.
That’s according to club public relations officer, Rachel Whelan who, like the general membership of the club, can’t wait for the course to re-open on April 25.
“The cuckoo comes out in East Clare at the end of April and we are all delighted that we will be back on the fairways to hear the cuckoo sing this year”. This is one of the attractions of this club, designed by the late Dr. Arthur Spring from Tralee and situated in the rolling East Clare landscape just a stone’s throw from Lough Derg.
“Like golfers everywhere we have all been disappointed that courses have been closed so far this year because of the Covid lockdown. However there are positives to be taken out of this. Here in East Clare it has given the course staff time to get a lot of work done on upgrading the facility. We have two full time staff in Rory and Donnacda McNamara and together with a group of volunteers, known as ‘the Specials’ they have carried out a huge amount of work on greens, tee boxes and fairways”, Rachel told the Clare Echo.
“We had a big influx of new members last year when around 150 young people joined which was great for the club. Many of those are GAA players who turned to golf when there were no GAA games. We now have between 450 and 500 members. Golf courses were only opened for a few months last year but during that time there was huge demand for tee times”, added Rachel.
Club captains Enda Donnellan and Ann Hart along with president Mary Mannion stayed on for a second term this year. “This is a real community membership driven club. The volunteers look after the shop, arrange the bookings and organise competitions. The club has gone from strength to strength in the past two years. The club enters teams in the various mens and ladies GUI competitions. We have an active seniors section. The senior men play on Tuesday mornings, the ladies play on Wednesdays while there are club competitions every weekend. We have an online booking system and we have a number of membership categories including the Get me into golf programme and lessons can be arranged on request”, explained the club public relations officer.
The facility was first developed as a 9 hole course but enough land had been purchased for 18 holes and the development of the second nine came quickly after the opening. The course hosted the 1998 West of Ireland Seniors championship when both touring professionals and PGA officials alike, marvelled at the quality of the greens.
Concluding Rachel urged anyone thinking about taking up the game to “give it a try, you won’t regret it”
Because of Covid the club’s membership year has changed and now runs from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 instead of January to December.