‘Deal done’ on sale of Ballyneety golf lands

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

A DEAL has been agreed to purchase the lands that housed the former Limerick County Golf Club in Ballyneety and it is set to be re-opened as a members’ club early next year.

A DEAL has been agreed to purchase the lands that housed the former Limerick County Golf Club in Ballyneety and it is set to be re-opened as a members’ club early next year.

The deal, worth in excess of €1m, will result in the creation of 25-30 jobs, with 500 golfers already signed up in anticipation of the club re-opening.

Meetings between prospective members and the steering committee, made up of former members and captains of the club seeking to reopen it have been held in recent months, but the plan had been delayed while a deal was agreed with liquidator Gearoid Costelloe and AIB.

The contracts for the deal are to be signed in the coming weeks, but the agreement is in place.

Some work has already taken place on the land, which incorporates over 185 acres, but work will start in earnest now that a purchase price has been agreed.

Funding for the project is coming from a wealth fund management company in Cork who have raised funds from investors that will be repaid within a set time-frame and who expect the club to become self-sufficient in several years.

Former captain of the club Liam Lawlor – previously the principal of Catherine McAuley school – and Donal McSweeney, PGA professional and former club pro in the club, are among those leading the drive to re-open the course as a members’ club.

“This will be a great facility for Ballyneety and for Limerick,” said Mr McSweeney this week as news of the deal emerged.

“The course will open in March on temporary greens, with full greens to open as soon as they are ready and a course opening in August,” he explained.

The committee are now seeking members urgently to get behind the move to open the course.

“The driving range will open in the spring. Due to 2013 being a work in progress year, there is a special offer on membership of €300 for the year if payment is received now,” explained the committee.

A limited number of 15-year memberships worth €5,000 are also available, and several people have already availed of that option.

“We are looking for new members, so if anyone wishes to join, please contact us,” added Mr McSweeney.

The course closed in early 2011 after the company behind it went into liquidation. While the lands have been allowed to grow since the closure, the steering committee are strongly confident of their ability to return it to its former glory.

Extensive financial costings in relation to purchasing and restoring the course have been done and funding secured to do this.

“Nobody is underestimating the challenge,” said Mr Lawlor. “We do need the support and at the end of the day it is a Limerick venture. We really need that commitment from people and we need it early.”