Author: Kenny Lee

Urgent Update from GUI – Golf Club Closures in N.Ireland

The following is a joint statement from the GUI and ILGU in relation to the current coronavirus pandemic, issued at 11.10am this morning.

Golf in Northern Ireland:

In its latest measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the UK Government has announced that everyone in the UK must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances. The new measures state that people in the UK may only leave home:

  • to go to work (if you are a key worker)
  • to infrequently shop for groceries, medicine and other essentials
  • to exercise outside once a day
  • to provide care or help a vulnerable person
  • for any medical need

While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message is clear. People must stay at home to help to contain the spread of COVID-19.

With this in mind, it is the view of the GUI and ILGU that all golf clubs in Northern Ireland must close their facilities with immediate effect.

Such closures will have a significant impact on golf clubs and we continue to consult with industry partners to provide clubs with all information and support possible during this time of deep uncertainty.

We know that these decisions are difficult ones to make, but right now, it is our shared responsibility to prioritise the health of our local communities by working together to follow the UK Government guidelines. In doing so, this will ensure that we get the opportunity to play the game that we all love as soon as it is safe to do so.

For security and essential maintenance purposes, greenkeeping staff can still attend work. All work must be carried out in strict accordance with government guidelines on social (physical) distancing. Clubs should divide course staff into two teams where possible and if one becomes unavailable, the other team will still be okay to work.

Golf in the Republic of Ireland:

The GUI and ILGU have consistently reflected the advice of expert medical professionals in advising our member clubs.

It is anticipated that an update on the period of restriction will be made soon by the Irish Government, after which we will issue an updated statement in relation to golf in the Republic of Ireland.

You will appreciate that this is a very fluid situation with new developments almost daily. We will continue to liaise with the appropriate authorities, and will ensure that our clubs are kept informed as to recommended best practice at all times.


Alan Kelly

Communications & Academy Manager

Golfing Union of Ireland

Update on Course Closure

From the notice below from ANBC, it would appear that the golf course is available for members to use but that the clubhouse and all facilities including toilets and handwashing etc. will be closed.

It is especially important that any member who decides to go unto the course should adhere to Government and Public Health Agency guidelines regarding social distancing etc. and also to those issued by the GUI/ILGU regarding best behaviour on golf courses during this pandemic.

Keep safe everyone,


(Kenny Lee, Honorary Secretary)

Leisure Centre Closures

Notification for MORE Members – Update as of 1PM 19th March

Following the latest expert advice from the Government, Public Health Agency and Department for Health regarding increasing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s leisure, sports and cultural buildings are closed until further notice.

Monthly MORE membership fees (including adult, family, concession, corporate and staff memberships) will not be charged and direct debits will be frozen from 1st April 2020 until further notice.

Some of our MORE members may have received a pre-scheduled email advising that our leisure centres are still open, please disregard this information.
We apologise for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.

As with the Council’s other parks and open spaces, golf courses and the Antrim Stadium can be used. The buildings are closed and users should adhere to Public Health Agency advice about social distancing, handwashing etc. Please note, Play Parks will be closed from Friday (20 March) evening onwards.

For more information, including answers to our frequently asked questions, please visit


Allen Park Closure

Information from Craig Fullerton at 7.01pm (Wednesday, 18th March)

Allen Park is closed until further notice.

The Council has made the decision to close all leisure services and therefore the golf course will be closed until further notice.

If you have a locker and need items from it, please collect them before 10.30pm this evening (Wednesday), as you will not be able to access them after tonight until we reopen. We will continue to update our members when the course will reopen.

If anyone has any questions please contact the Centre.

Kenny Lee

Statement from GUI/ILGU regarding Golf Clubs and Coronavirus/Covid-19

Joint statement from GUI & ILGU in relation to coronavirus / COVID-19

In light of the period of restriction announced today by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in relation to the outbreak of COVID-19, the GUI and ILGU have issued the following guidance for clubs:

The Unions recognise the need for adherence to the revised guidelines as issued by the HSE today (12th March 2020) and encourage golf clubs to observe them fully.

The restrictions (from 6pm today until Sunday 29th March) do not prevent club competitions or casual rounds of golf taking place, however we need to be cogniscant of the social nature of our game and how this element of it is impacted.

Golf is a great sport for people generally to get out and about, exercise and enjoy fresh air. It is played in an outdoor setting where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low.

All golf clubs should, at this time, aim to keep their members and staff safe and well. 

As such, everyone should be keenly aware of the vulnerabilities golf clubs will face:

-The older age profile of golf club memberships than of the general population must be borne in mind

-Groups having close and prolonged contact should be avoided.

-The social aspect of golf clubs should be curtailed, including limiting the potential for the following types of social interaction in accordance with the guidelines as issued today.

-Siren starts with people congregating before and after are discouraged for the time being.

-Prolonged near contact as may happen during Bridge nights, Choir practices and other clubhouse-based activities is to be avoided.

-Visitors either require some form of screening or should be discouraged for the time being.

-Society bookings where food and social interaction is involved afterwards should be limited in accordance with the latest guidance issued by

-Common courtesies – handshakes and other embraces associated with the etiquette of the game – should be avoided and participants may bump elbows or fists as an alternative.

-Social meals for groups in the clubhouse, including at inter-club matches, should be avoided

Golf Clubs should observe the need for the following:

-Increase social distancing through greater space between seating in the clubhouse

-Availability of hand sanitisers

-Regular changing of towels

-Ask members not to come into the clubhouse with colds or any symptoms of COVID-19

-Regular cleaning of surfaces including door handles – hourly in public places

All golf clubs should note, act upon and continually monitor the advice and guidance issued by the Health Service Executive (Republic of Ireland) and the National Health Service and Public Health (Northern Ireland) in relation to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is important that we all work together, following the advice of experts, in controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection.

This is a very fluid situation and we ask clubs to monitor the latest advice regularly.



A further statement in relation to GUI & ILGU events and meetings will be issued in due course.

Alan Kelly

Communications & Academy Manager

Golfing Union of Ireland

Info re Championship and Inter-Club matches

Ladies & Gentlemen

We are almost at the start of the new season, Championship and Inter-Club matches will start to become the focus for some in your club. To assist them in finding out the information they require, in the most straightforward manner possible, please circulate the following links to your members;
GUI Inter-Club Competitions – Ulster

Once a tournament has been selected from the schedule, go to the Info Tab for information on the Qualifying Draw, Regulations, Qualifying Scores etc. and the Matchplay Tab for all matchplay scores & neutral venues

GUI Adult Championships

GUI Junior Championships

 Seniors (50+) Championships

Mid-Amateur (30+) Championships

Many thanks for your help in this matter

Kind Regards
Kevin Stevens
Executive Officer
Golfing Union of Ireland (Ulster Branch)
Unit 5 Forestgrove Business Park
Newtownbreda Road
Belfast BT8 6AW

GUI Statement on CoronaVirus (Covid-19) outbreak

Statement – Issued on Monday 9th March at 4pm

The Golfing Union of Ireland, Irish Ladies Golf Union and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland ask that all golf clubs note, act upon and continually monitor the advice and guidance issued by the Health Service Executive (Republic of Ireland) and the National Health Service (Northern Ireland) in relation to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is important that we all work together, following the advice of experts, in controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection.

HSE: ​



Alan Kelly

Communications & Academy Manager

Golfing Union of Ireland

Golf Ireland Update

To: Club Communication Officers

FAO: Honorary Secretaries, Club Committees & Officers

At the recent Annual General Meetings of the GUI and ILGU, delegates were presented an update on the Transition to Golf Ireland. The slides, presented by Chair Tim O’Connor and CEO Mark Kennelly, are now available for Clubs to share with their members.

The decision by GUI and ILGU delegates to create Golf Ireland at meetings in 2019, has heralded a brand new and exciting chapter in the sport, and in the year since then a huge programme of work has been underway to ensure that the new body is ready to “go live”, as planned, in January 2021. However, prior to that date, all clubs will become members of Golf Ireland on October 9th 2020 which facilitates the first Regional appointments.

All work is being carried out under the direction of a Transition Board. That Board comprises four nominees of the GUI and four of the ILGU, with O’Connor as the Independent Chair. Their task is to build the structures and complete the preparatory work needed to ensure that Golf Ireland is fully up and running, ready to take over the organisation of golf on the island from next January. The Board were appointed in February 2019 and have been meeting monthly since then.

One of the most significant steps taken to date has been the appointment of Mark Kennelly as the first Chief Executive Officer of Golf Ireland. Prior to taking up the role in mid-December 2019, Mark began engaging with Golf Ireland from mid-October as CEO Designate on a part-time basis, to facilitate his preparations. Mark was Chief of Staff at the Department of the Taoiseach, during the term of Enda Kenny, from 2011 to 2017. He is a member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club in Co. Kerry.

Various Sub Committees of the Transition Board were set up and cover a number of areas as outlined in the attached presentation. As work continues, the Transition Board are seeking to ensure the very best communication and consultation with the GUI, ILGU and our members with the ultimate task to deliver faithfully the comprehensive Proposal approved by both Unions in January 2019.

Another significant step in the journey took place earlier this week as the brand of Golf Ireland was released. The new logo, and a fresh colour palette, represent the unity and inclusive nature of the new organisation. The launch video of the new brand can be viewed HERE.

While the Transition Period is underway, it is important to reiterate – and this applies throughout the remaining months of 2020 – that the GUI and ILGU will continue to operate as normal. The Confederation of Golf will also be transferring to Golf Ireland as golf club development and club services continue to be a crucial offering of the new body.

As a group, the Transition Board are building on the legacy delivered by the GUI and ILGU over the past 130 years. Over a year into the Transition Period, there is a strong sense of common purpose and a shared determination that together we can and must make the most of this exciting opportunity for golf on the island of Ireland, and deliver on its potential to the full.



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