Date posted: 5th March 2021

Dear Members,


2020 certainly has been a year of ‘firsts’ for the Club – a year we will never forget due to the extraordinary impact of the Covid-19 epidemic.   Having had no opportunity to represent the Club in true Killiney fashion and carry out their normal functions, Council offered our Captains Brendan Seaver and Diane Browne, Vice Captains George O’Connell and Irene Campbell and Honorary President Valerie Hand a year’s extension to their tenure.  On behalf of all the members we would like to thank them for accepting that invitation and congratulate them all for their continued hard work which is much appreciated.  We hope that some normality will resume shortly so that they can enjoy what remains of their term.

After 28 years of loyal service, we said a sad farewell to our Chef Mark Clarke who retired in August, but we were delighted that his brother Alan accepted our offer to take over the catering and continue to offer our members the finest quality fare.  Alan has not had much opportunity to enjoy the run of his kitchen yet, but his Friday Takeaway Service is proving to be a great success and much appreciated and supported by our members.  

With Golf Ireland now established, we are proud that our very own Brenda Sheehan has been nominated to be Chair of Leinster Championships and we wish her well.

35 applications were received for membership for 2021 of which 17 were accepted as full members (6 men and 11 ladies).  This year, due to a heavy level of demand for membership, the entrance fee was increased to €13,000 for the first time in a number of years.  Our new members have already been welcomed by our Captains and Chairperson Jim Mountjoy to the club via Zoom and we look forward to meeting them all in person for a traditional Killiney welcome once restrictions lift.

Despite the pandemic the club finances are in good general health.  The club applied for both Wage Subsidy Schemes and these grants were instrumental in retaining and paying our staff throughout the pandemic.  Capital expenditure for 2020 amounted to €130,000 and Council have agreed an ambitious capital expenditure plan of €275,0000 this year to include a refurbishment of the clubhouse interior, the re-development of the practice ground and some shade for the patio area.  Subject to finances remaining on track, further works to the changing areas and outdoor patio will follow in 2022.  A full finance report will be presented by Honorary Treasurer Sean Hayes at the AGM.

The year kicked off with the opening of the 5th/14th holes after the bunker upgrades carried out over the winter of 2019/2020. Unfortunately, then arrived COVID-19 and the first of the course closures.   April and May, were exceptionally dry months, and the benefit of our extra water storage (pond) was utilised to the full.

Over the Summer golf returned and during this period the course experienced a huge increase in the number of rounds per week, as people flocked to golf to fill their free time. The weather was kind to us as we had a consistent supply of rain which benefitted growth allowing the course to cope with the increased activity.

In early Autumn, the first application of a soil conditioner was applied. This was designed to reduce worm casting and had the added benefit of releasing trapped nutrients in the soil.  The result was fairways in good playable condition deep into the Autumn relative to other years.  At the behest of our agronomist, a second application was applied in December to help the fairways recover quickly in Spring.

Again, golf ceased in November and apart from a few weeks in December there has been no golf since then.  During this time, our greens staff have been busy carrying out major maintenance works that would normally disrupt play. Our greens are recovering well having been hollow cored, scarified and vertidrained and will be in great condition when play resumes. The fairways have been solid tinned and sanded.   The collar on the 9th green has been replaced similar to those on the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th holes.  We undertook some trimming of trees on the left of the 11th from the tee to the drain and the removal of trees to the right of the second tee freeing up space to increase this tee in the future.   The shrubs around the 1st tee have been removed.   This is to allow a better air flow over this tee to help reduce the disease pressure on this tee.

During the year the Council agreed to the purchase of a new fairway mower at a cost of €45,000 plus VAT.

The Council in conjunction with the Course Development Committee and the Finance Committee, have given the go ahead to redevelop the practice ground (as per the development plan approved in 2015) at a cost of €135,000.   This involves almost doubling the size of the putting green, moving the practice nets, developing a new chipping/pitching green and a new practice tee with a number of target greens.   This work has now commenced and it is hoped the practice green will be in play in June.   The rest of the practice area will most likely be unavailable until the Autumn.

A detailed survey was carried out in the clubhouse in July to establish if any significant structural works were required.  The survey confirmed that no major works are expected.

Together with her House Committee, House Convenor Gillian Bolton, produced an ambitious ten-year Clubhouse Development plan to modernise the clubhouse and upgrade the facilities both inside and out.  The majority of the proposed works were approved by Council to get underway immediately as opposed to on a phased basis.  Members had the opportunity to view proposed concepts and provide feedback on the upgrade of the entrance hallway, members’ lounge and dining room with CGI’s and mood boards on display in the clubhouse together with a video presentation presented by Avril Allen and circulated to all.  Works are due to start shortly with the painting of the interior and the carpet and furniture will follow as restrictions lift.

For the outdoor patio area one umbrella will be delivered shortly and an awning system for the side of the clubhouse is being investigated.  As a temporary measure, a canopy system providing cover for outdoor dining is in place to the front of the clubhouse. 

Council formed four new sub-committees; the Covid-19 Committee, the House Committee, the Gardening Committee and the Catering Committee together with two new taskforce working groups.

Covid 19 Committee - was formed to deal promptly with matters arising from the pandemic with Chairperson, Jim Mountjoy, Honorary Secretary Roisin McCarron and Secretary Manager, Niall Keyes.  Throughout the year the committee interpreted, oversaw, implemented, and communicated the necessary Government protocols for the safety of all our members and ensured that all Health and Safety guidelines were adhered to.   For the first time in our history the course and the clubhouse had to close for two extended periods in March and once again in December. 

House Committee – a house sub-committee was formed with Gillian Bolton House Convenor, Avril Allen, and Donn O’Shaughnessy to oversee and implement the program of works set out in the Clubhouse Development Plan.

Gardening Committee - to add colour and definition to the course, a Gardening Committee was formed by Charlie Barry with a team of hardworking volunteers including Karl Unger, Miriam McCullagh, George O’Connell, Gordon Horsfield, Susan Bourke, Mary Gibson, Deirdre McDonagh, and Declan Ryan.  A budget was approved by Council and a program of seeding and planting agreed and overseen by our Course Convenor Paddy May.  Works completed included extensive clearing of the area behind the 2nd green and to the right of the men’s 3rd/ladies’ 12th tee.  Members generously contributed over 2,000 bulbs all of which have now been planted in various locations around the course, the evidence of which is starting to show as shoots begin to appear.

Catering Committee - a catering sub-committee with Niall Keyes, Frank Fitzgerald and Miriam McCullagh has been set up to support our new Head Chef Alan Clarke and provide members’ feedback and menu suggestions on an informal basis.  Alas this committee has yet to meet given the restrictions but will do so later in the year once the kitchen is up and running at a reasonable capacity.

In addition to these four new sub-committees, Council also set up two new working groups, one to revise and update the Club Constitution and one to review the usage of the course. 

Rules Taskforce – Declan Smith and Mary Casey together with Niall Keyes and Jim Mountjoy have now finalised the revised constitution which has been presented to members at a Zoom information evening last Wednesday.  After this consultation with members, the final document will be put to the AGM for approval on March 24th.

Course Usage Committee - a two-person taskforce, of Brenda Sheehan and Paul Kirwan, was established by the Council Chair in the third quarter of 2020 to review timesheet usage.  As a result of that review the Council has tasked the Men’s and Ladies’ golfing committees to review weekly competitions and how they are run.  Stage one is looking at Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nine and eighteen hole competitions. The objective is to ensure that all full members have equal opportunity to book and participate in competition golf regardless of gender in line with Golf Ireland recommendations.  To this end a competition sub-committee has been set up jointly by both committees and is currently devising a plan to implement the stated objectives.  There are quite a number of considerations to be considered to fairly accommodate all stakeholders.  The Council is committed to having a plan in place to be implemented after the course re-opens and Covid restrictions have been fully lifted.

Established Council Sub-Committees - Our thanks to the three main Council sub-committees for their continued work; Finance chaired by David Ringrose, Communications chaired by Clodagh Hughes and Membership chaired by Carolyn McGovern.  With the Constitution now completed, a new Strategic Committee will be formed under the Chairmanship of John Waldron with revised terms of reference and the membership still to be decided on.   The Web Committee has now emerged as a sub-committee of Communications.   On the Boundary Committee, Pat Walsh and Johnny Connaughton continued with their good work and welcomed Dave Allen as a new member.

The Annual General Meeting of the Club this year will take place a little later than usual on March 24th.   As with almost all of our meetings at present, the AGM will be via Zoom.  The agenda will be circulated shortly and will contain the usual items plus the new changes to the club rules.  The election of new officers this year will fill three positions as Roisin Mc Carron, Honorary Secretary, Sean Hayes, Honorary Treasurer and Paddy May, Course Convenor will all be stepping down.  The Chairperson would like to sincerely thank all three for their service to the Club which has, in every case, been exemplary.  All other members who have served on various committees, sub committees and on both of our taskforces have also done trojan work, also to an exemplary standard and the Chairperson would also like to extend his sincere thanks to them too.

At the time of writing this report there has been no indication from the Government as to when the playing of golf will resume.  However, we are now in Spring and the Covid numbers are continually decreasing so we are hopeful that our game will resume very soon.

Yours sincerely,

Roisin McCarron
Honorary Secretary