Monkstown gets the all-clear to host popular Cope Foundation Golf Classic

Monkstown gets the all-clear to host popular Cope Foundation Golf Classic
At the launch of the annual Cope Foundation Golf Classic, sponsored by O'Flynn Exhams Solicitors, at Monkstown Golf Club are Micheal O'Mullain, Sean Abbott, chief executive at Cope Foundation, Brian Hurley and Shane Irwin from Monkstown Golf Club. Picture: Darragh Kane

THE Cope Foundation Golf Classic will go ahead this year, and it promises to be another great event for the Cork charity.

After successful events in Douglas Golf Club and Cork Golf Club, the popular classic now returns to Monkstown on Thursday and Friday, September 17-18.

Rescheduled from the regular August date due to Covid-19, the event will be run under the guidelines that will apply at the time, and the organising committee are now working on building the timesheet to ensure another successful event.

The event has been running for 24 years and has raised over €1.65m. It started in Rathsallagh in Wicklow and regularly had the sold-out signs up for the two-day event.

After Rathsallagh closed in 2015, the event moved to Cork, rotating between Monkstown, Douglas, and Cork. Last year’s event in Douglas was another great success, with close to €50,000 raised. As well as prizes for each shotgun start, the winner will also win the perpetual trophy.

This year, golfers are in with a chance of winning a Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid in the hole in one competition sponsored by Ireland’s Largest Mitsubishi dealer, Dan Seaman Forge Hill, Cork.

Cope Foundation chief executive Sean Abbott is a golfer himself and he is looking forward to the event in Monkstown — his home course.

“The annual Golf Classic continues to be one of the highlights of our fundraising year, and couldn’t be accomplished without our sponsors, donors and corporate supporters,” he said.

“The funds raised from this year’s Golf Classic will bring us closer to being able to purchase an independent living training facility. This facility will offer people supported by Cope Foundation the chance to experience and learn the skills needed to make their ambition of living independently a reality. Your support at this year’s Golf Classic will help us raise funds to purchase this facility.”

O’Flynn Exhams have been on board as the main sponsor of the classic from the outset back in the 1990s.

Speaking on their 24-year association with the Golf Classic, Micheál Ó Mulláin, partner at O’Flynn Exhams said: “O’Flynn Exhams is delighted to once again sponsor Cope Foundation’s annual Golf Classic fundraiser. The event is a well-established favourite in the Cork golf calendar and it raises much-needed funds for individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism, and their families.

“At O’Flynn Exhams, we are very proud to continue to support Cope Foundation’s annual Golf Classic and we are pleased to see the event rescheduled in light of the current situation. We hope that this year’s event will enable the organisation to further develop their vital services. The Golf Classic is always a great day out and we would encourage the business community in Cork to register teams and support this very worthy cause.”

Any interested in entering a team or supporting the classic can contact Cope Foundation or Monkstown Golf Club.

Cope Foundation also benefits each year from the Cope Alliance golf outings. The four Cork clubs also support Cope through the Cope Alliance. Cork, Monkstown, Muskerry, and Douglas provide their course for 11 events each year, four singles events for ladies and gents, a team event for ladies and gents, and a mixed event.

The countdown is now on to the annual Cope Foundation Golf Classic. Picture: Darragh Kane
The countdown is now on to the annual Cope Foundation Golf Classic. Picture: Darragh Kane

With no charge for the course and generous sponsors covering the prizes, this is another way that golfers in Cork support the charity.

Last year, that contribution amounted to over €38,000. Despite the current restrictions, there are nine events on the rescheduled 2020 calendar. The gents start on Muskerry on July 6 and the ladies are in action in Douglas on August 10.

The annual mixed event takes place in Douglas Golf Club in September.

Many charities and sports clubs have not been as lucky this year, with a large number of key fundraising classics cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions. The Mercy Hospital were forced to cancel their two-day classic in Fota Island in April, and Marymount Hospice were also forced to cancel their event which was scheduled for Cork in May.

The two-month closure of golf courses meant that many more events scheduled for April were cancelled. Although courses were open from May, playing restrictions and the continuing closure of clubhouses meant it wasn’t practical to run events.

Even with competitions returning from next week, clubs and courses are very limited as restrictions remain regarding tee times and socialising before and after rounds.

Golfers will see phase three of the return to golf come into effect next Monday. Competitions will be allowed for the first time since golfers were allowed back to play. While competitions are back, it will be another few weeks before many clubs decide on open events and scratch cups.

The initial 5km travel limit and limited tee times have meant that demand has exceeded demand for most clubs over the past few weeks.

Given that club members were deprived access to the course for nine weeks, course owners will be keen to prioritise members’ tee times. There are many reports of large numbers of new members joining clubs to over the recent weeks. Blarney Golf Resort took in over 100 members.

The initial fears that many members would cancel their memberships seem to have been an unnecessary worry and while some will no doubt cancel, many more new members have more than made up for the leavers.

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