Castletroy Golf Club Lady Captain Shirley Real and Captain Denis O'Sullivan
LOOKING out over the first Tee and 18th green to the right at Castletroy Golf Club, the vast expanse of manicured, lush green fairways and the immaculate putting green catch your eye.
It's May, spring has sprung and the golfing season is in full swing. This is the most magnificent time of the year for club golfers.
Men's Captain Denis O’Sullivan and Lady Captain Shirley Real are understandably proud of what Castletroy Golf Club has to offer golfers at all levels, members and visitors alike.
While the renowned course which opened in 1937, is the jewel in the crown at Castletroy, there’s also the complete range of services provided by club professional Gary Howie at the recently relocated pro shop as well as the impressive catering and bar facilities on offer at the Limerick sporting institution.
Denis O’Sullivan explains: “Over the past year we have made a significant investment in alterations to our clubhouse. We have the new Pro shop overlooking the first tee box and have upgraded and relocated our administration offices. New equipment has been added to our kitchen and additional lockers have been provided for our members in the changing rooms.
“We are delighted to have Gary Howie here as our Golf Professional. He is making a huge difference with the service he provides to our members, both on the course and in the wide range of golf equipment and clothing in his shop. He is, I believe, going to be hugely influential with the development of our junior golfers.
“We have 140 Juniors in the club and we offer them coaching and mentoring to develop them as best we can to assist them become excellent golfers and long term members of Castletroy.
“We are also delighted to have Gihan Kumarasinghe providing our new catering service in “Gihan’s Eatery” which is open to the public. Gihan has settled in well and is fast becoming hugely popular with our members and guests alike. He offers a wide range of dishes to suit all tastes at very affordable prices.
"Bernie Scully, our bar manager and Joan Commons, who runs the office, are highly valued long-standing members of staff.
"We are truly blessed to have the tract of land that is our golf course. Its located close to the city centre with good road access from all directions. We try to continuously improve our course for our members and visitors, and we are very fortunate to have Aidan Hiney as our Course Superintendent. Aidan and his team have made huge improvements to our course over the past number of years.
“We see ourselves as being an integral part of the local community and have a number of initiatives aimed at introducing new members to Castletroy.
“We have in place a graduated pricing structure for members up to the age of 30. Our junior category is up to 18, our young adults from 18 to 23 and our intermediate category from 24 to 29. All these groups are offered a discount on the full membership subscriptions which apply to people aged 30 and over. This initiative has seen a huge increase in the numbers of young people joining.
“We are very conscious of the changing social environment of today. This summer we are introducing early morning weekend starts from 7am on June 1. We will have 9-hole competitions for men and ladies which will enable people with young kids to come play golf at 7am and be finished by 9am.
“We hope this will allow more young parents continue to play golf and be members of our club. I wish to acknowledge our very generous sponsors, many of whom have supported us for years. They make a huge contribution to the costs of running our competitions.
Lady Captain Shirley Real explained the initiatives the club have introduced to help increase the number of females, both girls and women, playing golf in Castletroy.
“From the junior girl’s point of view, we have the Girls for Golf for Life programme running here for two years now. This programme is instrumental in getting young girls started in golf.
“At present we have a group of over 20 between eight and 12. It is great to see them all settling in and out on the course. It is important to start the girls at a young age.
“We also run the Get into Golf for Women initiative. It is an incentive for women to get into golf. Every 2 years we take in 30 women, take them under our wing and run the whole programme set out by the CGI (Confederation of Golf in Ireland)
“We try and incentives them to join, to show them what we have from the point of view of the golf course, but also the social aspect of being a member of Castletroy. We have been quite successful in attracting new female members through these initiatives. One of our strengths is our ability to retain members and welcome new players.”
Denis O'Sullivan added: “In Castletroy we are very fortunate to have a great group of men and women who volunteer their services to become members of the various Committees and sub committees that allow the club to function effectively for our members old and young.
“We have people doing everything from putting plants in flower pots to walking the course watching over our junior members. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our club.”