Clonmel Golf Club was in a strong position to capitalise on the surge of interest in the sport experienced all over the country since earlier this year.
The return to action in April after the Covid lockdown came as perfect timing for Clonmel Golf Club, as all the components of a long term strategy were then in place to allow the club fully embrace the growth in interest in the sport.
It has taken significant investment and a desire to deliver the different phases of the project for the visionary development to become a reality.
For the first time in the history of the club two professional coaches were in place, new designated academy facilities were in place and Clonmel Golf Club was well placed to capitalise on the demand out there to play golf.
Juveniles joined up in record numbers and there has been a massive increase in the numbers of women playing and taking up the sport in the last seven months.
The new academy area was completed last May after years of planning and the long held desire within the club to have a designated area to allow people hone their skills of the game was a reality.
“We now have a centre of excellence where all golfers can practice the skills of golf and we have professional coaching for every level of golfer,” said Con Hogan, the club president.
“We had a very specific goal. Attracting and providing a good service for young players is very important to us and ensuring we had the very best practice and playing facilities for more experienced members was the aim. We have all the facilities one would want here in the club now,” said Con.
Con Hogan explained that the concept was discussed some years ago and following the reorganisation of the course the development committee then took on the academy as a long term goal.
“It has now come to fruition. For the first time we have two professional coaches in the club,” said Con.
David Barry was taken on in October 2020 and the following April Jack Ahearn was taken on as his assistant to help the club cope with the numbers involved.
Pat Quinlan, junior conveyor said young people joined in record numbers in April and the club now had 95 juvenile members.
“The academy was planned for a few years but we have finally completed it and it is making such a massive difference. It was perfect timing that we had this facility to offer,” said Pat Quinlan.
“Before the development of the academy we had an ad hoc area on the old 12th hole for a putting area for juveniles to practice on. Now they have a designated putting area and three practice driving bays and a designated pitch and chip area to practice on in a structured way in plenty of space,” said Pat.
“We were crying out for a long time for something like that. We needed to back up a Golf Ireland objective for clubs seeking the provision of full coaching facilities for young people,” said Pat.
“The facility we now have, combined with the professional coaching on offer in Clonmel, is encouraging more and more young people from aged 8 to 18 and we are absolutely thrilled about it,” said Pat.
“Young players want for nothing at the club. The academy is a great addition for the players and it allows us as coaches, together with the officers of the club, to plan ahead.
“The course is high quality and the membership is rising and we are planning to be even stronger again next year. There is a great buzz around the place,” said coach David Barry.
Con Hogan said that there was ongoing investment in the club.
He explained that a lot of the cost involved in the provision of the academy was provided by the club.
The club, he said, had applied for lottery funding and they were hopeful of being successful in that application process.
Con Hogan said that the new facilities were crucial to the long term future of the club.
He paid tribute to all the members who supported the long term project over the years and said all of the work put in by so many had paid rich dividends.
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