2021 will be a historic year in more ways than one for Kilkee Golf Club with the club celebrating its 125th anniversary over the coming 12 months.
It will also be historic as the milestone is marked by the first appointment of a Lady President at the club, as former Ladies secretary and captain Grainne Mulryan was chosen for the role.
A member at Kilkee Golf Club since 2008, the Limerick native is now resident in Kilkee and is looking forward to a positive year ahead.
“It is a huge honour for me to be chosen and I think it is a real indication of the way we are progressing. It is encouraging to see a Lady President being appointed for the first time in 125 years, and I have to say I am really overwhelmed with the support I have got from the members and from the local community here in Kilkee” she said.
That progression towards gender balance is clear to see at Kilkee Golf Club, with four ladies on the management committee for 2021, while almost 200 of the clubs overall membership of 450 are female. Full membership has also been introduced for all members in order to facilitate the potential pathway to the management committee.
Since making the permanent move to Kilkee a year ago, Grainne feels it has helped her to become more involved in the local community.
“I meet up with a group for a swim here in Kilkee each morning and it is great to have that outlet and camraderie. It is great to clear the head and it has also allowed me to make so many new friends around the town. I have been coming here for years but it is only when you are here on a full time basis that you really get to know people” she said.
A self declared late starter to golf, Grainne describes herself as being something of “an average golfer”, but she is insistent that the game should not be beyond reach for those who want to take it up.
“We have seen the membership grow over the last few years, and we have had 75 new members join up over the last 12 months. 30 of those were local memberships which was a real positive, and that will hopefully continue to grow. There are so many benefits to playing golf, and it can be played on so many levels whether that it is in competition or just for those who want to get out for a few hours. I want to see golf there for everyone. It is enjoyable for everyone and there are so many benefits to being out exercising in the fresh air, both from a mental and psychical health point of view. You can go out and hit the ball around the course, so you get to leave all troubles behind you and focus on the ball for a few hours. One of my main goals is the promotion of golf to all, particularly to the locals. It should not really matter what level you are at, I feel that the participation in golf is really the important thing” she outlined.
That promotion commenced last year with a programme in conjunction with St Joseph’s Community College in Kilkee, which saw an eight week introduction to golf project offered to first year students as part of their PE curriculum. The outbreak of Covid-19 brought that to a halt, but it is hoped that when restrictions allow, that will recommence over the coming months.
Work was also paused on a new €270,000 development at the club which will see a six hole course designed for juniors, beginners, or those who want to have a quick round without taking on the full 18 of the main course. It is envisaged that the work will continue when guidelines allow in the months ahead, which will also include an upgrade of the main course along with the clubhouse.