Ivan Morris Column - Ballyneety’s revival a boost to Limerick golf

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris
In his weekly golf column for the Limerick Leader, Ivan Morris reckons the return of Ballyneety Golf Club is brilliant news for local golfers.

In his weekly golf column for the Limerick Leader, Ivan Morris reckons the return of Ballyneety Golf Club is brilliant news for local golfers.

My curiosity got the better of me this week and I swung by the ‘new’ Ballyneety Golf Club and walked some of the holes. It’s all looking good.

I also took a quick look inside the clubhouse, which is now open with full facilities available including a beautiful, new restaurant called Vines Grill and Wine Bar.

So, if you are in the area, call in for a quick look around, enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat. Satisfied with what I saw, I went to work – searching for the perfect swing - at the driving range because by early next spring the course will be ready to open for play by all-comers and I want to be ready too!

For now, only the 480 fully paid up members can play, which is fair enough. It was they who ponied up the dosh! Meanwhile, the phoenix will bed in over the winter months and plume her feathers.

Already, the fairways are perfectly playable but the greens are still on the wooly side but I see no reason why they can’t be brought back to the high standard of before.

All concerned can feel very proud that after 18-months of worry and hard work involving countless early mornings and late nights that their golf course is almost ready to play again.

Little does the average golfer realize, how badly off comparatively speaking we are for golf facilities in County Limerick.

Including Ballyneety, we have only seven courses registered with the GUI in the county – Adare Resort, Adare Manor, Ballyneety, Castletroy, Limerick, Newcastlewest and Rathbane – whereas, County Clare has (10), Waterford (11), Cork (30), Kerry (19), Tipperary (10) even nearby Offaly, one of the smallest of the 32 counties, has six golf courses.

Some courses in Clare, Cork, Waterford and Kerry enjoy 27 and 36-hole facilities.

Not one Club in Limerick has more than 18 holes.

September 14 is the big day, when all of the dedication of the owners, staff and members will finally begin to see the start of a new beginning.

The Clubs’ officers realize that it would be unfair to ask the members to wait another six-months while the course beds down.

Besides, some, controlled, foot fall throughout the winter will be good for the fairways and greens and the course will be all the better for it when opens in earnest in the spring.

The restoration of Ballyneety is a much-needed boost for golf in Limerick. It’s a development that deserves support.

If every golfer in County Limerick made it an early new year resolution for 2014 to make the small, effort to play there just once next year, it would go a long way towards securing its future.

In an ideal world, Ballyneety will need 700-members to be fully viable.

With only 70 lady members at the moment, there is certainly room for more from the distaff side! I keep saying golf is the ideal woman’s game.

So many aspects of golf are a good fit for ladies with the slightest sporting bent.

Donal McSweeney, Director of Golf, would like to begin receiving society bookings for 2014.

He is offering any society a free, rekke fourball from October onwards by appointment. Just phone him at the golf club to make the arrangements.

The annual sub to join is €700 per annum but if anyone wants to join now until the end of 2014, a special rate of €775 applies, which includes the GUI levy and is payable by direct debit increments.

The club intends to have teams competing in the various cups and shields next year.

All golfers enjoy and appreciate variety.

If they didn’t, they would hardly play such an unpredictable and frustrating game during which every day, every golf course, every hole and every shot is different.

Even those who are not particularly analytical or adventurous sense the difference in playing over new terrain and taking on slightly different challenges in new surroundings.

If golf were no more than a walk in the park, would you go for those walks in the same park day after day?

I enjoy playing my home course but I appreciate it most when I return home after playing away in new surroundings.