Introducing… Golf Ireland’s first female President!

Castlerea Golf Club member Kay O’Loughlin recently succeeded outgoing President John White to become the first female President of Golf Ireland, the sport’s governing body ever since GUI and ILGU merged in 2020. Dan Dooner caught up with Kay earlier this week as she prepared for what promises to be a very busy year…


Tell us a bit about yourself…


I am originally from Clifden, the heart of Connemara in Co. Galway, but I have been living in Castlerea for the past 30 years, where I worked with the HSE. My husband Eamonn is from Grange in Co. Sligo. We have five children, who are all adults now, and five grandchildren.


When did your first become involved in golf and what attracted you to the sport?


My husband Eamonn introduced me to golf. Having played hockey in school, the transition was relatively easy…even though at times it was challenging and even frustrating! I got the golf bug and it was always fun.


When did you become a member of Castlerea Golf Club and what roles have you held?


I became a member of Castlerea Golf Club when we moved here in the spring of 1994 and I have served on various club committees over the years. I was Lady Captain in 2006 and Club Secretary in 2011.


When did you become involved as an official at national level?


In September 2011 I was asked by the Secretary of the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU) Connacht District if I would be willing to coordinate a regional training programme for girls in the northwest during the winter months. I carried out this role for three years while at the same time serving on the Connacht District Committee a Handicap Advisor. This role led me to becoming Connacht Chair of Handicapping from 2015 to 2020. I was also on the ILGU/GUI joint Connacht Course Rating Committee and the national committees of both from 2018 to 2020.

In 2017, I joined the first joint GUI and ILGU World Handicapping System, which is used as our handicap system today. This committee was one of the first sub-committees of Golf Ireland.

In November 2020, I was elected by Connacht clubs to the first Connacht Regional Executive Committee. I was then nominated the first female President of Golf Ireland.


How did it feel to be nominated first female President of Golf Ireland?


To be named the first female President of Golf Ireland is the honour of a lifetime and one I’m extremely proud of.


What message would you like to give to fellow female golfers?


I would say that one can take up the game of golf no matter what stage of life they are at. Volunteering is also very important as it helps your club to develop strong roots and allows it to pass the game on to the next generation. Golf is for everyone to enjoy. It’s a healthy pastime and can be played for life.


What are you hoping to achieve during your tenure?


I hope to visit as many host clubs and affiliated clubs as possible to thank them all for the work they do for the good of golf.