Gents Notes w/e Sun 28th Feb 2021

One Year of Covid-19
As we mark one year since the discovery of the first case of covid 19 in Ireland I think it’s appropriate that we pause to remember all those who passed away during the pandemic. We also say a very special Thank You to all the frontline workers who put their own lives at risk to protect us during the past twelve months. As we eagerly await the imminent reopening of West Waterford golf club maybe we could be a little more patient and appreciate the fact that we are still around to experience the joys of another springtime.

Lots to Build On for Seamus Power
Seamus Power suffered final day heartbreak as his putter went cold and he missed a golden opportunity to challenge for his maiden PGA Tour win in the Puerto Rico Open at the weekend. Lying solo tenth, just four shots off the lead following round 3, the West Waterford man couldn’t give himself an early 34th birthday present as he had 32 putts in a level par 72 to finish 22nd on 10-under. He was nine shots behind South African Branden Grace, who finished eagle-birdie to shoot 66 and win his second PGA Tour title by a single shot.

“It was a good week overall, but I didn’t take advantage of the back nine today, and that was kind of heartbreaking,” Power said. “Overall, it was a pretty solid week but just a disappointing finish.” It was Power’s best finish since he tied for ninth in the Barracuda Championship last August. But he missed out on a top-10 finish that would have guaranteed him a spot in the Honda Classic later this month. Seamus birdied the par-five second but bogeyed the seventh and ninth to turn in one-over before making his only other birdie of the day at the 13th.
“Overall, it was all pretty good, but it was just one of those days where I didn’t quite come together,” he added. “Somehow, I had horrible just misses on three or four holes on the back which I really needed. Nothing was bad. Everything was decent. “I am sure I will take the positives, but obviously at the moment, you’re kind of frustrated after just getting off the course. But when I look back at, which I am sure I will, there was lots of good stuff and lots to build on.”

Golf Ireland Update
Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly issued an update to all golf clubs on Thursday February 25th 2021. The full document can be read on www.golfireland.ie
The following are some of the main points of the update.
You will also be aware of the recent government decisions to maintain current COVID-19 restrictions. We understand the frustration and the difficult situation that many clubs are currently in with the courses remaining closed. I want to assure you all that we are engaging intensively with the relevant government departments and agencies in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to highlight the safety and health benefits of golf. All of you did a great job last year in keeping golf safe at club level. That strong track record is really standing to us now as we make the case for golf to be one of the first sports to restart as soon as the public health situation allows. Last month, Golf Ireland made a detailed written submission to the Irish Government on how golf can be safely resumed under the various levels of its Living with Covid Plan and a similar submission was made to the Northern Ireland Executive. We will continue to work closely with the public authorities to ensure that our sport is up and running again as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, there has been a greatly encouraging response from golf clubs to the opening of entries for the 2021 Inter-Club competitions. Over 370 clubs have entered these competitions, and at the end of this month the Regions will conduct the draws for the competitions, which will then be published on the week ending Friday 19 March. As things stand, we anticipate the deadline for completion of first round matches in most events to be set no earlier than mid-May, again depending on when matches will be allowed to commence due to public health restrictions. With regard to the four All-Ireland inter-club competitions that were suspended in 2020 at the semi-final stage due to public health restrictions, it remains Golf Ireland’s intention to conclude these before the clubs involved commence their participation in this year’s matches. 

When will Golf Clubs Reopen
As it looks at the moment it is unlikely that golf clubs will not reopen before April 5th. It’s good to see that at least someone is making the case for a return to golf sooner than that date. Speaking on Newstalk during the week Fine Gael Senator Sean Kyne said people can swim and play golf while observing social distancing. He said “ it is important to offer people hope wherever it can be done safely and rejected claims that he was simply voicing support for middle class pursuits. It is not about opening restaurants or clubhouses or anything like that. It is about allowing people to drive into the car park, change into their golf shoes and play at an allocated time.” “I think it makes perfect sense because it is about mental health, it is about getting out in the fresh air and doing things.” Of course there are many others who will have differing opinions and they are quite entitled to them. Golfers have shown that they can adhere to Covid 19 restrictions and participate in a manner that takes their own safety and the safety of others very seriously.

Reasons to be Cheerful
The past weekend has given us a taste of the weather we can expect in the coming weeks. Our greenkeeper has the course in tip top condition and cutting of fairways and rough begins in earnest this week. You can be assured that the course will be ready when you are and it’s only a matter of weeks before we are back enjoying the joys of Spring at West Waterford golf club. By the end of March sunset will be 7.37pm. April : 8.30 pm, May: 9.17 pm, June: 9.34 pm. There are brighter days ahead and they are getting closer by the week.

Stay Safe and Talk to Someone
It looks like it will be a while before we are back playing golf. In the meantime we would ask you to comply with Covid guidelines and minimize your contacts. You might however consider calling a friend or acquaintance for a chat. Apart from the golf, people are also missing the social side of club membership. So make that call and it could mean a lot to someone who is feeling lonely at this time. Spring is in the air and with the vaccine on the way we can cautiously look forward to an end to the pandemic.