With two of the four majors already in the bag for 2019 it’s time for another update to members in newsletter number 4.
The first major of the year was played in perfect conditions with the sun shining from start to finish. President Tom picked up a tan just watching as Patrick Maguire earned a one shot victory over Padraig Gorman. There were a few hard luck stories but such is golf. Well done to all who assisted in any way. Peadar and his team made sure all ran like clockwork while the ladies did sterling work in the kitchen over a very long day. Prizes were presented that night at Lisgrey House where everyone was well looked after by Philip and his staff. It was indeed a fabulous day to be around Virginia Golf Club. Well done to all.
Lady Captain’s Day
Hot on the heels of Tom’s day we had the first major for the ladies. Less sunshine and a few showers didn’t detract from the wonderful atmosphere around the clubhouse and some superb golf on the course, well done to all who played and congratulations to all prize-winners. An opening birdie kicked off a spectacular round which included 7 pars and a finishing score of 64 by worthy overall winner Aoife Galligan. Aoife admitted to having given up on being in contention for first prize at the majors so it was delightful to see such a low handicapper taking the top honour, well done Aoife. As always the ladies outdid themselves on the day with some fabulous baked goods to feast on and lots of help was provided in the kitchen to keep up a steady supply of sandwiches, tea and coffee, fair play ladies. For the evening we were very well looked after in the Show Centre with Pat, Catherine, Marian and their teams putting a huge amount of effort into making sure we were comfortable and well fed; even adding some golf related touches to the décor. From start to finish it was a truly memorable day; every good wish, card, gift and message, whether delivered in person or sent by those unable to play on the day, will hold a treasured place in the Lady Captaincy memory bank.
A massive thank you to all who contributed to the two charities, Breast Cancer Research and SOSAD. Including a contribution from both captains in lieu of memento gifts on their days the total amount collected was €1,005, thank you all so much.
Declan, Veronica and the 75th sub-committee continue to work on this challenging project and have asked for members to continue to send them material which might be of interest to them. In particular, they need more photographs. Maybe members would be able to pass on to them their recollection of special club occasions and other such memories.
The importance of social golf is underlined by the big numbers availing of the slightly less competitive varied formats during the week. The seniors continue to astound with huge numbers playing on a Tuesday morning. A recent highlight was the now annual dawn scramble where 25 hardy souls set out at 4.30 in the morning and managed to raise €380 for Virginia Cancer Care as a result. Great credit here to Isobel and John especially for their dedication. The Friday scrambles are also doing really well with an average of 28 players competing every second Friday over the summer with the exception of the most recent fixture which succumbed to the weather. The Wednesday mixed singles competition is holding up well despite losing 2 evenings to rain. As we head into August the quality of the light will become an issue. The message is to get out there and play while the opportunity is there.
At this point, we have 53 new members for the year to date. That’s made up of 34 men and 19 ladies. We are really pleased with these figures as it confirms that joining Virginia Golf Club remains an attractive proposition. One of our objectives at the start of the year was to put together an introductory pack for new members. That is now in place and contains everything we believe a new member needs to know about the club and the relevant contact details if more information is required. Following on from the leaflet drop and the open day at Supervalu shopping centre, we wish to acknowledge the efforts of the membership sub-committee and those who played a part in any way.
Junior / Juvenile Golf
The summer programme for the junior and juvenile golfers is now well under way and the significant commitment of the volunteers involved is very much appreciated. With Bill Noble moving to his new role in Dublin a new coach was required for the lessons and John Clarke has managed to acquire the services of Darren Moore from Headfort Golf Club. Last week the juniors competed for Lady Captain’s Prize with Jake Norris taking 1st prize and Conor McEvoy 2nd, well done to all who played.
A total of 48 teams took part in this year’s June Bank Holiday weekend classic. Together with sponsorship, raffles and donations from individual members this event raised a total of €6,310. This is a considerable amount for a club of our size and hugely important to our financial wellbeing. The weekend weather was mostly good although Friday afternoon players mightn’t see it that way. Many thanks to Peter Kermath and his committee for their efforts in organising another successful classic. Thanks also to the many members who coaxed members from other clubs to Virginia that weekend. Indeed, we are grateful to so many members who donated money or prizes and to those who helped out in the kitchen or selling tickets or who assisted in any way.
Following overwhelming support in the survey with regard to considering an alternative management structure for the club, the joint committee are now reviewing a governance health check report which was prepared for us by Rory Leonard from CGI. Rory will present the findings to a meeting of the joint committee in September to enable a robust Q&A to take place and next steps to be formulated.
The course is in great condition right now and is a credit to the efforts of Brían and Peter. The first green is much improved but will need careful management over the winter months and beyond. We continue to take stock of what members have told us through the recent survey and we are currently drawing up plans to tackle the issues which are of most importance to the membership and which bring us the greatest benefit.
If you feel the need for a little refreshment before or after your game you can now help yourself to complimentary tea or coffee at the clubhouse. You will find everything you need in the kitchen and we just ask that you clean up after yourself. Taking on board some feedback from the survey there are a number of other initiatives being considered in relation to the clubhouse which will be reported on in due course. One important task is getting the clubhouse painted – if you are willing to help out we are seeking volunteers to assist so please contact either of us or Peter Callaghan.
Green Fees / Course Rangers
We would be delighted to welcome more volunteers to the group of course rangers to help collect green fee income over the remainder of the summer. Even if you can spare an hour here and there that would be very helpful so please contact either of us and we will add you to the WhatsApp group. We now have clubs available for hire which improves our available offering to visitors and hopefully will facilitate additional green fees. If there is a course ranger on duty when you arrive to play please do remember to identify yourself as a paid up member by showing your 2019 membership sticker.
Dates for your diary
A few dates to note for over the next few weeks:
Friday August 2nd – 9 hole mixed scramble
Bank Holiday Monday, August 5th from 11am – 18 hole singles stableford competition - ladies and gents
Thursday August 8th – Lady President Maureen Donohoe’s Prize with 9 hole men’s competition at 6.45pm
Sunday August 18th – Captain Pat Murphy’s Prize Day 1
Thursday August 22nd – Captain Pat Murphy’s Prize to ladies
Sunday August 25th – Captain Pat Murphy’s Prize Day 2
Representing Virginia Golf Club is always an honour and to bring home a senior Hilton Shield is indeed something to be very proud of; well done to Pauline and her team on a great achievement. With the higher score from the qualifying competition giving them the choice, Mannan Castle decided to play the first matchplay round in Virginia, a gamble that turned out to go against them with the Virginia ladies taking all five matches and a significant hole advantage to boot. The Mannan ladies don’t go down without a fight though so even getting a half on their turf was going to challenge the grit of the Virginia team but all ladies battled hard and did the job. Well done ladies.
Our next ladies Open is on Thursday August 1st and is a 3 lady waltz, a really enjoyable format to play. Please do encourage golfers from other clubs to come along. The timesheet is in the clubhouse and Angela will be happy to put names down if you want to give her a call on 087-9137781.
On Thursday next, July 25th, we have the annual Granard Foursomes qualifier with proceeds in aid of the National Council for the Blind Ireland. A very worthy cause so please do lend your support if you can. Arrange partners and opposition – the timesheet is in the clubhouse or you can contact Pauline Hutchinson on 086-0843948.
Get Into Golf
The 2019 GIG programme was hugely successful and 12 participants have taken up membership for the remainder of the year – welcome to the club ladies. It takes a lot of time and commitment to run this programme so massive thanks is due to Lady Vice Captain Veronica and all the ladies who helped out again this year. Starting to play in competitions can be quite daunting but we did run a Lady Captain’s competition for GIG participants this year with top honours going to Sheila Plunkett from the 2018 cohort and Eimear County from this years group, well done ladies.
The men’s match-play events are progressing well with matches taking place on a regular basis and mostly in good time. That makes for a lot less trouble for our very hardworking competition secretary. We are very grateful for your co-operation.
Vice Captain Declan’s team continue to do well. An 11.5 to 4.5 home victory over Belturbet really sets the team up with a great opportunity to progress to the semi-finals. Declan himself teamed up with the very consistent Padraig Gorman to take all 4 points. Stephen Smith and Peter Gill were strong as ever in the opening match taking 3 points while Paul Bates and Liam Murphy did well to win the back 9 and take a point. Arthur Tormay and debutant Alan Rock took a very impressive 3.5 points in the last match. Our next match is away to Cavan in early August. Let’s hope we can continue the good run.
Golfer of the month
John Kelly came up trumps again in May making it two in a row. That’s quite an achievement. Martin Sherry and David Beattie continued their consistently good golf and shared the June prize. Martin in particular has had an outstanding year as he joins the ranks of the single figure handicappers at the club. Well done to all 3 winners.
Please feel free to chat to us any time, we are very happy to hear your views and suggestions.
Captain Pat and Lady Captain Regina