A Co. Longford Golf Club member since 1970, Vonnie Noonan is the epitome of a club golfer who gives willingly of her free time, all dedicated towards the progression of golf.
‘Socialising of course’, she laughed, when asked why she took up golf. ‘'Well I always liked the idea of golf and I had three children at the time and heard it was a good social outlet.'' Vonnie’s husband Liam is also a longstanding member in Co. Longford, since 1959.
Her passion for the administration of golf came quite early as she became involved in handicapping and rules in her club in the late 1980’s.
''Once my five children had gone to college I had more time to dedicate to golf.’'
She wanted to give more to the game in the early 2000’s and joined the Connacht Executive in 2004. '‘The ILGU were looking for Rules Officials so I qualified as a Rules Official in St. Andrews in 2007.''
Vonnie went on to become the Chair of Rules in Connacht and shortly after that was asked to be National Chair of Rules in 2009, where she stayed for five years. As a dedicated Board member of the ILGU from 2010-2014 and overseeing the National Rules Committee, Vonnie had a clear vision in mind,
'‘I wanted to build on existing processes, to encourage Irish Rules Officials to share their skills, and to aspire to working abroad on a world stage. My thinking was that officiating at overseas events would increase their experience and expertise, and that this in turn would benefit us in Ireland. I wanted to raise the profile of Irish Rules Officials and now I know we have some of the best in the world.''
Vonnie does not associate herself as a ‘competitive’ golfer but nearly forgot to mention her Lady Captains prize win in the late 1970’s – not one to be snubbed! Speaking about what she wants from her two year tenure, she views it as ‘An ambassadorial role, which I am privileged to accept and cannot wait to begin’.
Vonnie and husband Liam celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year and when asked if he is prepared for her busy two years being away from home, she said ‘As both of us have played golf all our married life, he understands the scene and what is involved and is just as excited about it all as I am’.
There are undoubtedly exciting times ahead for Golf in Ireland and the new President Elect is, in her own words ‘Looking forward to the changes, especially surrounding the potential of One Governing Body, as long as tradition and change can sit comfortably alongside each other.’