Rathbane Golf Club members concerned over course's future

Fintan Walsh and Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh and Nick Rabbitts

Rathbane Golf Club members concerned over course's future

Rathbane: concern over the Limerick course’s future

LOYAL members of Rathbane Golf Club have expressed major concerns over its future and have called for new management to take over the course “as a matter of urgency”.

On Tuesday night, club members met with Limerick City and County Council director of service, Seamus O’Connor, to express their concerns over the club’s management.

Mack Trading is currently running the course until new management is put in place, after it previously sought to withdraw from the management in late 2014.

According to a spokesperson for the council, a tender process for the club’s new management is “almost complete”.

It is understood that approximately €500,000 has been set aside in the council’s December 2016 budget, in order to restore the course to its former glory.

Metropolitan district mayor, Cllr Jerry O’Dea, who arranged the meeting with the members, described the course as “really under standard”.

“The fairways are not being cut, bunkers are not being cleaned. In terms of value for money, it is not offering this to members. The old golf course was set up by the old Limerick Corporation and was very much a flagship, a pride and joy.

“There was a fantastic community of golfers up there, a fantastic group of people. After the merger [City Council and County Council] came, it just seems to have lost its way,” he said.

He added that the main problem is the delay in investments.

“The course is continually deteriorating due to a lack of investment and lack of a tender process being completed. Members are just exasperated at this stage. Last March, they were told the process was nearing conclusion, and we are in the summer, the peak golfing season, and it is still in a terrible state of repair. The council has committed the money, but it is just not happening quickly enough.”

One member of the club, which was established by the old City Council in 1998, wrote a letter to a number of councillors expressing concern the “unplayable” condition of the course.

The person said that members were expecting to see new management in December 2015.

“It is now May and we are still no further ahead.

“I stayed on this year on the promise that the council would not let us suffer like last year, but this year is worse. I have paid my fees but I don’t know where my fees are going. They are not being used to maintain the course,” the private letter, received by the Limerick Leader, stated.

The letter, addressed to all local elected representatives, stated that they are asking for support and help in relation to the matter.

“We as members are working very hard to keep this great club open. Our Ladies Captain and Men’s Captain have put a lot of their time trying to get the council to take responsibility but have been met with a brick wall.

Fine Gael Cllr Daniel Butler said that the club serves a broad range of people who play golf in Limerick, and that he would like to see the facility kept open.

“They want new management to come in, they want experts that know what they are doing, and to manage, run and maintain the course. And the members are saying that, with the membership fees that they are paying, they are expecting a reasonable return for that. And I don’t think that they are asking for much.”

He added that it is a “big part” of the local community, and that it is “important that we maintain it in a responsible manner and for the needs of the public”.