'I like to be involved'

​​​Tullamore's Aidan Marsden is Convenor of the GUI's Rules and Competitions Committee, and has travelled a well-worn path in golf administration from club to province and beyond.

  • 04 December 2017

Picture: Tullamore's Aidan Marsden on duty at the Men's Interprovincial Championship - Cashman Photography

Tuesday 5th December marks International Day of the Volunteer. Golf in Ireland would not thrive without the dedication and committment of volunteers across the island who give of their time freely to grow, develop and bring to life the sport that we all love. The Golfing Union of Ireland thanks all those that volunteer in golf and to mark the occasion, each day this week we will take a look at some volunteers that work with their club and the GUI.​

Like all volunteers in the GUI, Aidan Marsden brings many skills. A career as a civil servant within the Department of Education exposed him to strategic planning and large-scale administration, and those experiences have been brought to bear through his various voluntary roles within golf.

For Marsden, it began at Tullamore Golf Club in the late 1980s when he took up a position on the club's council. It was a role he relished and in time he served as treasurer, secretary and captain. As his children developed a love for the game, he was drawn into the world of junior golf. The youngest, Eoin, played for Leinster and Una twice represented Ireland at the Home Internationals. In 2017, she managed the Tullamore team that captured the Irish Mixed Foursomes title.

Golf has been good for the Marsdens and Aidan is happy give back to the game.

"Golf has given me a lot," he reflects. "It's given me a lot of enjoyment. Even watching the kids playing, I was off at all junior tournaments so that was an interest as well."

During his time serving on Leinster Branch, Marsden became heavily involved in junior golf, and captained the province's interprovincial team, encountering future stars like Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan along the way.

"When I was involved in boys golf, I really loved watching match play. I think it's a great format," Marsden enthuses. "I loved watching the final rounds of tournaments."

During his time within Leinster Branch, Marsden has been Junior Convenor and has also served on the GUI's Junior Committee. Earlier this year he took over as Convenor of Rules and Competitions - one of the GUI's busiest committees.

 "I wouldn't be one to shy away from work," Marsden explains. "I like to be involved."

Chairing meetings, directing discussions and pushing for progress require time and patience. And an appetite for it all.

"I was interested in administration anyway," says Marsden reflecting on his first foray into voluntary work. "People ask you to go forward for these things. If you're interested, you'll stay, and if you're not, you'll leave."

A matter-of-fact approach pays dividends in golf, especially when it comes to the rules, another subject in which Marsden has developed expertise.

"In 2010, I did the R&A Rules School. Prior to that I would have refereed at Cups and Shields events in Leinster. I'm also on the GUI's Championship Committee so I'd referee four or five events a year," he says.

In 2017, Marsden has been on duty at the Men's Interprovincial Championship in Carlow and the Seniors Home Internationals in Rosslare. Tournament days are long, 12 hours typically, but Marsden is not perturbed.

"People don't realise you're there from 7am to 7pm," he says. "When you've nothing else to do, it's not hard. I've no other real commitments. It's an interest for me. You need a passion and interest. I don't get playing club golf at weekends in the summer months, that's where I miss out. You have to be prepared to sacrifice that but when you're retired you can play golf during the week."

At 70 years of age, Marsden is more than content to let his own game suffer.

"It's very enjoyable being out on the golf course watching good golf. What could be better on a nice day?"

*​​Have you ever wondered what the GUI does? Find out all you need to know by reading, The GUI: What We Do - Click Here​