Ballyliffin Golf Club

Golden Jubilee Commerative Booklet 1947 - 1997

Problems a Plenty

It seems as if no sooner was one problem sorted out or something positive achieved when another problem arrived to test the resolve of those dedicated few. So it was again in 1973/'74. The second 9 holes of the 'new' course were opened in September 1973 to the obvious delight of all involved. Finally the club had 18 holes on its own property. This was a time to wallow in the euphoria of a major achievement, but alas it was short lived .

At the A.G.M. of Tuesday 26th February, 1974, grave disquiet was expressed by members regarding the dangers of erosion along the seaward boundary of the course. The feeling was that there was urgent need to inform Donegal County Council of these immediate and pressing concerns. This real threat to the Clubs property, and indeed to the future of golf in Ballyliffin was accentuated by the removal of the natural gravel barriers protecting the coastline. Thousands of tonnes of gravel were being removed weekly, leaving a sandy coastline to the mercy of the sea. A large tract of property was literally washed away while the Club and concerned environmentalists begged the Council to be responsible and pro-active. Thankfully, albeit slowly, the removal of seashore materials was prohibited by the Council thereby allowing the natural gravel barriers to be re-established.

In 1997 while this threat is not quite so immediate due to considerable coastal rejuvenation, it is nevertheless a potential problem that must be closely monitored to ensure that we will never again be subjected to the mercy of the sea!

First Bazaar - click on image to view a larger version

In general, the 1970's was an era of constant serious financial crises which inhibited growth and development of the Club. On 16th September; an E.G.M. was held to address the econcomic depression that had enveloped the Club.The Treasurer reported an overdraft of 10,010 plus interest due on shares of 1, 011. Special committees were formed to: 1. Run More Concerts; 2. Organise a Club draw and
3. Bazaars. Members of the Ladies Committee would be co-opted onto these committees. It was make or bust for the Club!

Six months later; at the A.G.M. of 17th February, 1978 the Treasurer reported that the Bazaar Raffle Committee, by raising 1,160 had effectively rescued the Club from a precarious financial position. However, he concluded by stating that, in order for the Club to maintain a reasonable financial position., in a cost cutting exercise, the course had to be reduced to 12 holes for a 1 year period. (This decision was subsequently, overturned at an E.G.M. on 28th April, 1978). There appeared to be no long-term solution to the Club's dire financial straits especially when., (apart from some County Council funding acquired through the offices of councillor Conal Doogan) no grants were forthcoming to alleviate the financial burdens young Club engaged in major development.

In the end, the answer, as always, came within. The "Spirit of Ballyliffin" persevered in the form of dedicated members who stood up and were counted. They would not, and did not, allow a defeatist attitude to prevail - to destroy the enterprise and dedication of our founder and subsequent members. Their dogged persistence driven by love of and loyalty to the Club eventually ensured that the ship was steered through troubled waters and by 1980 her position had stabilised and returned to an even keel.

Remarkably in spite of the trials and tribulations of the previous 10 years the Club was planning another chapter.

At the 1979/'80 A.G;.M. Mr. L. O'Doherty (Auditor) warned the members against the folly of retarding development for the sake of monetary considerations. I believe, Mr. Doherty was giving voice to a burning desire within the Club to improve and expand. At the A.G.M. of 24th February, 1980 members agreed that the time had come to make the Club more attractive for members and visitors alike, and accordingly the implementation of a development plan was agreed... the Club would build a new Clubhouse!

However, due to financial constraints development had to be postponed in 1981 .With expenditure estimated at 20,000 or 4, 500 per annum., it was impossible for the Club to make interest payments. Meanwhile, the existing Clubhouse was in urgent need of repair, with, not least, the Insurance Company expressing grave concerns about the decrepit state of the building. Money would have to be raised and quickly.


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