There aren’t too many PGA Professionals that focus on a single area of golf, but while most specialise around teaching or playing or retailing, John Dooley has added another aspect. The Riverstown based pro has a busy teaching base in Drive Golf Performance but he also manages a bespoke golf tour business. After spending nearly a decade at Doonbeg, John saw a gap in the market. The experiences in Doonbeg led to John setting up Concierge Golf, a business which he describes as “combining coaching golf and managing golf tours into Ireland & Scotland.” The managing is the key part as John can help with everything from transport to dining. “Concierge Golf Ireland offers to manage golf holidays to Ireland & Scotland to golfers that would like more than just a booked golf tour” explained John. “To that point, we offer to book and manage tee times, various transporting types, standards of accommodation, where to go and what to do, along with any type of entertainment and setting up the dining experiences. There is a lot of time spent working on our customer’s golf tours, the workload per golf tour is quite significant mainly due to the details required by the customers. However, I really become energized for customers when they comment on how much they have enjoyed their Irish or Scottish golfing experiences.” The Concierge golf service is obviously targeted at a certain segment of the golf market but it a growing market and John will manage well over a dozen bespoke tours to Ireland and Scotland this year.
When he’s not hands on with the tours, John spends much of his time coaching. Working alongside his brother Padraig, the Dooley’s have built a strong base from their location in Glanmire. Drive Golf Performance offers a wide range of coaching options. Using their 300 yard range and short game area which includes a chipping/putting green with bunker, John has the ideal base to operate from.
Although he only took up golf at 14, he progressed rapidly and made the decision to turn pro at the age of 19. He trained under two excellent teachers, Brendan McGovern in Headfort and latterly under Ted Higgins Snr in Faithlegg. “I offer golfers a range of golf coaching solutions” explained Dooley. “From using the Trackman radar for golf club fittings or measuring specific golf swing movements. Also, I use video software to coach golfers. I find video coaching to be the best method for golfers to see and understand what we are working on together. Most golfers are familiar and prefer the standard thirty minute golf lesson. However, I find that golfers golf games significantly better from at least three thirty minute golf lessons.” Recently John introduced an innovative new one hour golf lesson. While he doesn’t see it replacing the more traditional multi-session approach, he does see the hour-long session as a way to provide a complete “tune-up” for golfers. Although John admits it’s not for everyone, he does see merit in the new option. “The tune-up involves spending 15 minutes working on each golf segment – golf swing, pitching, chipping and putting. The goal is to find small golf swing adjustments that are easy to add and that will make a difference to the golfer’s overall game. Then I might suggest adding one or two swing’s drills to work on in the future. Importantly, after each golf lesson, an audio file that contains a summary of all the skills worked on will be emailed to the client. I find that golfers agree that the audio recordings are of significant benefit to them. Certainly, listening to the audio is an easy way to remind of all the skills worked on.”
As for his time in Doonbeg when the golf tourism market was on a high, John has one great memory. “I recall early 2003, an American golfer, I would describe as a really wacky and quirky type checked-in at the pro-shop counter. He asked me if he could hire a caddy and would it be ok if the caddy and he looked for “Leprecians”. I never will forget this story, innocently I asked him what is a Leprecian? He replied, yeah you know the small green guys with ginger beards and they have a pot of gold, I need to take some pictures for my wife. I nearly burst out laughing into his face and I had thought that, one of the guys working at the club had put this man up to a joke of some type. I said quickly “you mean a Leprechaun!?” and he said “yeah, those guys!” However, he was not joking around and this man was 100% certain that leprechauns existed! He had a mid-afternoon tee time and he was the last player out that day. I told the caddy what he told me and the caddy was laughing at me saying “yeah, yeah did you think I was born yesterday!” Never the less, the two lads arrived back to the clubhouse five and a half hours later. I remember that golfer saying to me “thank you sir, I loved the course, I did search a number of the dunes with my caddy and we could not find any leprecians down or around any of the rabbit holes”. He left with all sorts of pictures and clearly he enjoyed a wonderful day at Doonbeg Golf Club!