End of a Pitch & Putt era as secretary steps down after 19 years

End of a Pitch & Putt era as secretary steps down after 19 years
Incoming Chairman John Byron makes a presentation to Mark Keohane at Cork County Board Convention when Mark stepped down as Chairman. Mark is expected to be re-elected National Vice President at Convention on Saturday.

THE annual Convention of Pitch and Putt Ireland will take place at the Templemore Arms Hotel, Templemore, Co. Tipperary on Saturday 22nd February, commencing at 10.30 a.m. sharp.

Long serving Pitch and Putt Ireland Honorary Secretary Michael Murphy (Royal Meath) is not seeking re-election this year. 

It will be the end of an era as Michael, who originally represented the Old County club in Dublin, has been National Secretary for nineteen years.

Cork administrators Mark Keohane (Rocklodge) and Stephen Enneguess (Lakewood) are expected to be re-elected as Vice President and as Development and Marketing Officer respectively.

Mark is nominated as Munster/Connacht Competitions Coordinator but is more likely to retain his Vice Presidency position, for which he is unopposed. Current Cork County Board Vice Chairman Stephen Enneguess is unchallenged for his Development and Marketing Officer role.

Michael Murphy was involved administratively with Old County for many years, helping to save the club from extinction in the 1990s. 

He was Vice President of Leinster Council from 1999 to 2001 before succeeding Peg Smith as National Secretary at the 42nd Annual Convention at Killarney’s Gleneagle Hotel in December 2001.

Alan Hanlon (Collinstown) is likely to be elected in succession to Michael Murphy as Hon. Secretary. 

A Dublin native, but resident in the midlands for many years, Hanlon won the 1985 Leinster Strokeplay championship and reached the 2000 provincial Matchplay final. Twice an All-Ireland Matchplay semi-finalist, Alan Hanlon was Pitch and Putt Ireland P.R.O. in 2007 and 2008.

Twelve motions and eight recommendations have been tabled for discussion on Saturday.

St. Anne’s have proposed a motion to add the following to the playing rules: Rule 8.3a - A ball must not be removed from the hole while the flagstick is in the hole. If the ball is extracted from the hole during the extraction of the flagstick the ball shall be played as it lies. Removal of the ball while the flagstick is in place shall incur the standard penalty.

St. Anne’s have also submitted a motion requiring that any member of the NEC may not hold a professional capacity within the organisation.

Some thought-provoking recommendations presented by the Douglas club include:

That the NEC consider introducing a motion at Convention 2021 proposing a reduction in the number of NEC Officers to a maximum of 7.

That where on course scoring is being provided at any National or Provincial event the personnel be provided either by the Host Club members or individuals arranged by the Club.

That at all non-adult National or Provincial events a nominated NEC official or an official nominated by the Presiding NEC Officer be appointed to check for and arrange correction of any material errors on that card prior to that card being returned. 

Once this official has passed the card, the card must be accepted, notwithstanding any such errors that may not have been detected.

The only exception to this being where a lower score has been entered on the card and such error is discovered only after the card has been returned.

A St. Anne’s recommendation is that under the Handicap System, any player who fails to return a card for scrutiny will be cut 0.1 for each instance.

During Convention, Kildare legend Andy Dempsey (Ryston) will be inducted into the Pitch and Putt Ireland Hall of Fame in recognition of his services to the sport. 

All Ireland Strokeplay champion in 1973 (the year he also reached the National Matchplay decider), Dempsey was a five-time Leinster Strokeplay champion. 

He represented Ireland in the historic 1981-84 series of international matches against England.

Ireland’s No. 1 ranked Pitch and Putt players, Chrissie Byrne (Ryston, Newbridge) and Damien Fleming (Deerpark, Killarney) will receive awards during Convention. 

Chrissie Byrne tops the rankings for the seventh time while it will be a first award for Kerry native Tower, Co. Cork resident (and Rocklodge associate member) Damien Fleming, who is the reigning National Matchplay champion.

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