‘Last ditch effort’ to re-open Ballyneety golf club

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

AFTER months of intense speculation, a ‘last ditch effort’ by the former members of Limerick County Golf Club in Ballyneety could see golf returned to the course in 2013.

AFTER months of intense speculation, a ‘last ditch effort’ by the former members of Limerick County Golf Club in Ballyneety could see golf returned to the course in 2013.

The course, which incorporates over 185 acres of land in Ballyneety and closed in early 2011 after the company behind it went into liquidation, could re-open by April 2013 if a plan - put together by former members in recent days - comes to fruition.

The Limerick Leader has learned that a meeting of former captains took place this week and that a public information meeting, with a view to inviting old and prospective new members to get behind the formation of a ‘Ballyneety Members Golf Club’, will take place in the South Court Hotel on Monday July 30 at 8pm.

Funding to purchase the club and refurbish it has been secured from investors, but the plan is heavily dependant on members supporting the project to ensure its success, according to former Ballyneety club professional Donal McSweeney, who is acting as a facilitator of the deal between the potential investors and members.

“The public meeting of old and potentially new members is to gauge the interest out there and see if there is enough interest in re-opening the club,” said McSweeney.

A steering committee of former members has been set up to work on the deal, and an ‘exclusivity agreement’ signed with liquidator Gearoid Costelloe, the Leader has established.

The costs of refurbishing the course and former clubhouse have been included in the funding secured for the project and the members will be presented with reports from an engineer and agronomist in relation to restoring the club to its former glory.

However the deal is dependant on a minimum of 350 members signing up and paying fees.

“This drive is from the members, for the members. The steering committee see this as a last ditch effort to play golf in Ballyneety,” explained McSweeney.

The Des Smyth-designed course was opened to much fanfare by then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in 1994 but the company running it - Limerick County Golf and Country Club Limited - was wound up in February 2011 with more than €2.5 million in debts.