As the Executive Council Members of the Otway Golf Club continue with the process of winding up their affairs, notification of closure has new been circulated.
The Executive Committee at Otway have said they were left with ‘no alternative’ but to close the club which was first registered with the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1893.
The Club held an EGM in December and an AGM in January
Club officials have said the reasons for closure related in the main to ‘issues of leasing arrangements’ and no solution had been found to overcome the difficulties that now exist.
A club spokesperson said they are being advised professsionally about preserving their their assets and realising their potential value on behalf of the Trustees.
And despite speculation that outstanding issues might be overcome and the club re-established under a new group, the Executive has emphasised this cannot happen.
A spokesperson said: “The Executive Council remains as the ‘unelected committee’ and in such circumstances nobody else can use the ‘Otway Club’ brand to register the course or to operate it has a club without our authorisation. We not visualise such an issue arising.”
The Executive Council in their letter of closure to the members noted: “We regret to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, Otway Golf Club is closing with immediate effect, with legal and accountancy advice being sought on how to deal with this complex process of winding up the affairs.
“The decision to close the Golf Club has not been taken lightly, but due to dwindling membership numbers, especially in recent weeks; the club would no longer be viable or sustainable going forward, without huge member support for fundraising processes and obtaining substantial sponsorships deals, which we feel, would not be easily achievable.
“However, based on the depleted membership numbers, and despite the proposed membership fee increase agreed at the recent AGM coupled with ongoing leasing difficulties, it has proven impossible to elect a Council to lead the club forward during these anxious times.
“Despite having had an EGM (07.12.2018) followed by the AGM on 18.01.2019, no resolution has been possible, even with the intervention of the GUI.
This impasse therefore leaves us with no alternative but to wind down the Club’s affairs and realise the assets on behalf of the Trustees.”
The decision to close the club has dismayed the community where the Otway GC was part of Rathmullan’s tourism brand and a magnet in attracting visitors and links golfers from all over the world for generations.
Derry politician Eamonn McCann said reports of the closure of the Otway Golf Club have bewildered and angered many who use the course.
He said: “The Otway Club should be seen not just as a sporting resource but as a piece of Donegal heritage.
“There are very few institutions well over 100 years old and still going strong, offering the same amenity as in the 19th century.”