The Munster PGA Winter Series gets underway this week with a visit for the first time to Dooks. The Glenbeigh course will hold the first event of the calendar on Monday next which is a pro-am. The event is sponsored by Ping and a large number of entrants is expected. Dooks’ resident professional Danny Sugrue will be hoping to take advantage of his extensive local knowledge, but Liam Higgins could also make that claim so it should be a very competitive event. It’s been a busy few weeks for the Munster PGA committee and Captain Stephen Hayes. They have been planning an extended series of eight events which will take place from October to March. As well as prizes form each competition, golfers will also be competing for the PGB Order of Merit.
The playing schedule reflects the lack of nationals events and a time of year where most Pro’s will have the opportunity to get out and play. “The Munster PGA is for any PGA Professionals working in or from the Munster Area.” explained Hayes. “It’s an opportunity for Golf Professionals to meet during the quiet months. It is very competitive and you need to shoot a low round to win each event. For some players they use it as way of keeping their games sharp over winter months so they will ready for the playing season, while some professionals use it as a way of exchanging views and ideas.” Kerry will host a second in November (Monday 7th) when Killarney hosts a pro only event and after that it’s on to Dromoland for a pro-am on Monday 21st. The final event before Christmas takes place at Castlemartyr Links on 5th December. “The Winter Series for 2016/2017 has been kindly sponsored again by Cork based Premium Golf Brands. We hope to have eight events over the winter months, weather permitting of course. Four of the events will be professional only events and four events will be pro-ams” added Hayes.
Stephen who is the PGA Professional in Douglas took over as Captain from Cobh’s David O’Sullivan who served as captain in 2015/16. The Munster PGA has gone from strength to strength in the recent past with more events and more entrants for the Winter Series. Around four years ago the committee put a lot of time and effort in to developing the winter series and each year since then the series have gone from strength to strength. Over the past two years the winter series events have attracted between 30 and 40 golfers for each event. Last year the schedule was disrupted by weather meaning that the players only got through a shortened schedule. The season ending Morgan O’Donovan Trophy was played for again in Monkstown and it was won by David Higgins for the second year in a row. Monkstown’s Cian McNamara won the Premium Golf Brands order of merit, thanks mostly to winning two of the events. McNamara beat David Higgins who won in 2015. With Higgins, McNamara, Davey Barry and David Ryan showing some very good form at present the first few events should be hotly contested. The showpiece event will again be the Bill Rushby Waterville Pro-Am. The event is going into its third year and there was a great purse on offer in 2015. The event is hosted by Liam and David Higgins and is always well attended by the Munster professionals. As well as having trade sponsors for most events, the overall series and Order of Merit is sponsored by Premium Golf Brands. PGB is the Cork based golf-wear company that started as Eurostyle and now carries several top class brands including Calvin Klein Golf, Cutter & Buck, Green Lamb and Dwyers & Co. The company can trace its roots in Cork back to almost 200 years and have been manufacturing golf wear for over 100 years.