Higgins & Sugrue claim Fota Island win, Munster PGA Winter Series

Munster PGA Fota Island Nov 2018

Munster PGA Captain Padraig Dooley pictured with Cian McNamara and Brian, Liam and David Higgins prior to the Munster PGA event in Fota Island on Monday. Picture: Niall O’Shea

The Munster PGA got their Winter Series off to a great start on Monday with a very successful competition in Fota Island.  Close to thirty club professionals turned out for the first event of the series, one of four events planned to take place before Christmas.  Fota Island was the venue for the first outing, with the three time Irish Open venue hosting the popular fourball as usual.  Comeptition was close, that was until the card from David Higgins and  Dan Sugrue came in with the Kerry pair claiming first place.  Higgins is a regular winner in the series but it was the first win in a while for Sugrue.  The Dooks based Professional was in hospital following a very serious operation just 11 months ago, but it was like old times on Monday when the Kerry native came home in first place.  Sugrue had five birdies, including three in a row from the 5th to the 7th.  Sugrue’s -5 was Continue reading

Paudie on course in Castlemartyr

Castlemartyr_Paudie O'Sullivan_Aug 218It’s just a year since greenkeeper Paudie O’Sullivan was appointed as Head Superintendent at Castlemartyr.  Now in his third decade as a greenkeeper, the Little Island man has had a busy year at the prestigious East Cork golf resort.  “It has been a whirlwind twelve months, to get the Head Superintendent job at Castlemartyr was a fantastic step in my career” added Paudie.  “Everyday is a learning day in Castlemartyr as you never know what each day will bring.  In the twelve months since being given the Head Superintendent position, we have been through storm Ophelia in October, from November to February we had over 500mm of rainfall, and in March we were covered in snow and closed for 12 consecutive days.  Any then this summer we went through the driest summer I have incurred.”  That dry spell in July was O’Sullivan’s biggest task in a challenging year.  Weeks went by without any meaningful rain, which isn’t ideal when your trying to maintain over 100 acres of cultivated grass.  “Looking back now on the summer, Castlemartyr has come out quite well” explained the man in charge.  “One or two areas needed overseeding due to Continue reading

Cork Pro’s fundraise for Colleague

Fundraising Card Ian st John-1A large number of PGA Professionals in Cork have embarked on an ambitions fundraising drive to help Tramore native Ian St John as he battles to recover from a devastating illness.  Led by Cian McNamara, eight Cork based professionals have committed to raising €4,000 as part of a €40,000 nationwide fundraising campaign.  The project is aiming to collect €20 each from golfers, pro’s and supporters with the aim of collecting €4,000 in each of the ten selected regions.  The funds are being raised to purchase a piece of specialised equipment to help Ian’s recovery.

While all Munster PGA’s are involed in the campaign, the eight Cork Pro’s designated are Liam Burns, Peter Hickey, Ger Broderick, Paddy O’Boyle, Stephen Hayes, Alan Gleeson, David O’Sullivan, and Cian McNamara.  Each of the eight have sponsorship cards, and all Cork (and Munster) based PGA professionals have more details on the campaign.  The campaign will run for another three weeks.

More details on the fundraising campaign are included Continue reading

Douglas advertise for new GM

Douglas Golf Club is now open for applications for a new General Manager, as Conor O’Brien will retire from the post in the coming months.  Founded in 1909, and now boasting a large membership, the club is in the middle of an ambitious development plan which includes enhanced practice facilities, a new six hole short game course, and eventually the redevelopment of the famous clubhouse.  Further details are available below.

Douglas GC_Ad_Online Ad_261018--

Hilary says goodbye to Monkstown

Hilary Madden Monkstown Golf Club

Hilary Madden pictured with Martin Travers and Cian McNamara

Monkstown’s Hilary Madden will retire this week after 16 years as general manager in the golf club.  It’s been a very eventful time for golf clubs in Ireland, with big changes happening in those two decades.  In 2002, when Hilary took on the role in Monkstown golf in Ireland was very different.  There were waiting lists and large entry fees for anyone wanting to join, that period also marked a big increase in the number of courses.  Like many other courses, Monkstown had impressive development plans at the time which included an impressive new clubhouse, a new maintenance and greenkeeper compound.  Work on the course which drainage and bunker redevelopment, and it fell to the manager to oversee the plans which was set to reposition Monkstown back to the top table.  Luckily for Monkstown the work was completed by time the downturn came, but they still had to finance the projects which was a challenge for the club.  “As common with most clubs in Ireland the economic depression from 2008 to 2014 resulted Continue reading

Super Summer for Sean

Sean Reddy Douglas Minor MatchplayCupSean Reddy is one of Cork’s emerging young golfers who continues to work on his game and improve, and the 2018 season was an important one for the 11 year golf nut.  Having started playing golf many years ago, Sean joined Douglas Golf Club at the start of the season and quickly became a regular on the course.  The young golfer rounded off his season when he got his hands on some important silverware last month, he won the Minor Matchplay Cup in Douglas in September.  Any the way he won was pretty impressive.  Playing in a matchplay competition, he won the 18th with a birdie to force the match onto the 19th hole.  And on the testing par four he won the match with a par.  Sean was a busy boy all Summer, playing competitions and practicing.  Like most young golfers, the summer holidays meant more time on the course and he put himself to good use picking up the club almost every day.  “All summer I played most days in Douglas and then other days I practiced in the Academy in Fota Island” said Sean, “I was usually playing or practicing everyday.  I got to play Hollywood in Belfast, Rory Milroy’s home course, it was incredible to play there.  My favourite also was the K Club, last time I was there on a Sunday was to watch Rory win the Irish Open in 2016.”  Unlike many other golfers of his age, Sean doesn’t just practice for fun, he does it to improve.  And he spent the summer working on a few important areas.  I worked on my swing path and alignment mostly, trying to keep my swing consistent on every shot” explained Reddy,  “I know my swing speed and distance will come as I get older, I am not 12 until next year and I want my swing to be perfect now so when I am older it hopefully will be always be consistent as I swing faster.  I worked on many speed and strength drills with Peter for most of the summer.”  Now playing off an official GUI handicap, Sean has seen this tumble as he played in Douglas over the Summer.  He dropped ten shots and he’s now playing off 14 – a very impressive mark for an eleven year old.  “In February had a handicap of 24” explained Sean, “I am now down to 14 since Continue reading

Second win for Sugrue in Fermoy

James Sugrue_22

James Sugrue (Mallow) teeing off in the third round of the South of Ireland in July.  Picture: Niall O’Shea

There was a nice symmetry to James Sugrue’s golfing summer.  On Sunday last he won the John Whyte Fermoy Senior Scratch Cup to close out the season, that followed his win in Fota Island at the start of the season when he won the very first Senior Scratch Cup to be played in Cork.  The two wins may be highlights, but to be fair the Mallow golfer has had a very impressive summer of golf which was recognised last month with his selection to the Irish team.  Sugrue joined the Irish Mens panel this year and represented the Irish selection at the South African and Spanish Amateurs in the early season.  His full cap finally came when he was selected to play for the Home Internationals which took place last week.  Capped on multiple occasions in Boy’s golf, this was a big step up for Sugrue but one he took in his stride.  The easy going 20 year old went on to win four matches as Ireland finished as runners-up in the four team tournament.  “There was actually no real difference, I didn’t Continue reading

North Carolina now home for Aaron O’Callaghan

Aaron O'Callaghan who recently beacme Associate Head Coach in Wake Forest.After over a decade in the America, Aaron O’Callaghan Made another big career over the summer, taking up the position of Associate Head Coach at Wake Forest.  After four years with the Cardinals at University of Louisville, the Douglas native headed for North Carolina to coach with Wake Forest.  The Deacons are ranked as a top 25 college in the NCAA Division One golf rankings, playing in the top level of college golf.  Head Coach Jerry Hass, brother of tour star Jay Haas, has led the Deacons golf programme for over two decades.  He joined Wake Forest 20 years ago and rebuilt the golf programme, winning 15 conference titles and 15 individual wins over that period.  The ranking and legacy of success at Wake Forest makes O’Callaghan’s move a great career choice, and with a strong player roster hopes are high that Aaron can add to the results that have repositioned Wake Forest.  “Dan Walters [Associate Coach in Wake Forest] had a business opportunity that was going to take them out of college coaching” explained O’Callaghan, who initially qualified as a PGA Professional after college.  “As a result both he and Head Coach Jerry Haas reached out to me to see if I was interested in the position. I have had a relationship with Coach Haas over the last four years since I’ve been in college golf.  I have always respected and admired him.”  Haas is a former tour pro, and brother of Jay Haas.  Ireland’s Paul Mc Bride recently graduated from Wake Forest and soon after turned pro, he’ll be one of several Irish golfers to tee it up at the European Tour Qualifying School later this month.  Alex Fitzpatrick, brother of tour star Matt Fitzpatrick is currently in his second year with the Deacons.

Aaron hit the ground running when he joined Wake Forest a few week ago, with several scouting trips in addition to several other pre-season duties.  “Yes, I have been very busy since I started on July 1st.  I have been to Baltusrol, Valhalla, and Pebble Beach for recruiting, just to name a few.  At Wake Forest we are recruiting the very best junior players in the world.  My role will include structuring practice, scheduling, operations of the program, playing with and instructing the team, recruiting, and connecting with donors.”  Last week the Deacons played in their first event of the season in Louisville, starting brightly with a record setting opening team score of 268, certainly a Continue reading

Another Lee Valley win for Gary

Gary O'Flaherty Munster Mid Am 2018_3It was win number four for Gary O’Flaherty in Lee Valley when he won the Munster Mid-Amateur title on Sunday.  His season started with a win in the Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup in April, and he closed out on Sunday with another win on the championship course in Ovens.  Back in April O’Flaherty maintained his overnight lead to win his third Lee Valley title, this time he overturned a three-shot deficit to win on the final green in a tense finish.  Although the weather was much better than the wet conditions on Saturday, there was a stiff breeze blowing through Lee Valley which tested many of the golfers.  O’Flaherty played some very tidy golf, his only bogey of the day came at the 7th and his birdie on the 9th got him back to level for the round.  He birdied the par five 15th to get into the red, and he narrowly missed good birdie opportunities on the 16th and 17th.  Standing on the 18th, Gary was one Continue reading