Person of the Month award for Ballyneety Golf Club

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Alan English, Limerick Leader editor, presenting the Limerick Person of the Month award to the Ballyneety Golf Club committee represented by Liam Lawlor, Minie O'Brien and Donal McSweeney. Also pictured are Ray Ryan, of media agency Southern and Ivan Tuohy, Clarion Hotel. Picture: Adrian Butler
The successful efforts of the committee behind Ballyneety Golf Club in bringing the facility back to life as a thriving golf and community amenity has been recognised with a Limerick Person of the Month award.

The successful efforts of the committee behind Ballyneety Golf Club in bringing the facility back to life as a thriving golf and community amenity has been recognised with a Limerick Person of the Month award.

The award was presented to committee members Liam Lawlor, Donal McSweeney and Minie O’Brien at a special ceremony in the Clarion Hotel recently.

Originally opened in 1994 as a privately operated golf club, the 18-hole course went into liquidation in February 2011.

The following year, the three men came together to see what could be done to restore what was in danger of becoming a derelict facility.

They devised a plan to purchase the 183-acre site and the original team gathered around them a group of committed individuals to drive the project forward. The steering group was made up of former members, residents representatives (persons living on the golf course) and professionals with relevant expertise such as legal, engineering, financial and planning services. The support of former captains and presidents, members and residents of Ballyneety village was pledged and an intensive phone, text and e-mail campaign was undertaken to grow support for the project.

An information meeting was held in a local hotel to gauge the level of interest in re-forming the golf club. The response was overwhelming and in excess of 250 persons turned out to lend support to the venture.

Since then, membership has grown to over 600 and that original vision is well on its way to becoming a reality.

A key element of the club’s strategy has been to include the local community in its development plans. Last year, plans were unveiled to develop 80 acres of the site for use as a community/recreational amenity with facilities such as a walking trail, crazy golf course, camping facilities, a creche and a playground.

According to club manager Liam Lawlor, the support of the members and the local community has been invaluable. “It was the vision of a few but it was the support of many has really brought it back to life,” he said.

He added that the committee was “delighted” to accept the Person of the Month award on behalf of all those supporters.

The three sponsors of the award were represented at the presentation by Alan English, editor of the Limerick Leader, Ivan Tuohy, manager of the Clarion Hotel and Ray Ryan of Southern.