Ballyneety Golf Club, formerly Limerick County Golf & Country Club, was awarded the prestigious honour of Munster Golf Club of the Year for 2014 by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) on Tuesday last, 25th November. This is a far cry from only 4 years ago when the club went into liquidation and seemed doomed for permanent closure. One of the new club’s founders, Liam Lawlor commented recently on the award:
“Everyone is delighted. It was unexpected really because 2014 was our first year open with the full course in operation. We are all absolutely thrilled that the course has returned back better than ever. The former members were despondent when it closed and now that we have reopened it is a dream come true. The response from the community and members has been magnificent.”
Ballyneety Golf Club is based on the former site of the Limerick County Golf & Country Club and also boasts an excellent driving range facility to go along with its 18-hole golf course and clubhouse bar & restaurant. It is testament to work of previous members of Limerick County who, led by Liam Lawlor, Minie O’Brien & PGA Professional Donal McSweeney (all pictured right), garnered the support of the local community and also sought outside investment to establish the new golf club in 2012. Even though the golf course was only partially open at that stage, they had 300 members paying fees for 2013. Now they have over 600 members which is a fantastic achievement in the face of an industry that is struggling to maintain members on a national level.
There are also ambitious plans to build on the revival of the facility by using part of the 183 acre site for a recreational park to include a walking & nature trail, archery, mini-golf, Astroturf pitches, handball alleys, camping facilities, a crèche and a playground. The Ballyneety Members Golf Club Project is now working with local Philanthropist and former CEO of Kentz Corporation, Hugh O’Donnell, and Limerick City & County Council to make this expansion a reality. The plan is that the “redeveloped project will eventually be owned and operated by the members. The Ballyneety Golf Club facility currently employs 36 people and the recreational park project has the capability of increasing this figure to over 50 positions” which is great news for the local economy.
The 18-hole course was designed by 2014 Ryder Cup Vice-Captain, Des Smyth, and Irish Amateur International, Declan Brannigan. It was opened back in 1994 and went into liquidation in 2010, having re-opened in 2012 it has enjoyed great development culminating in their recent award as Munster Golf Club of the Year 2014. Fair play and congrats to all at Ballyneety Golf Club!