It’s well over a year since Cork Golf Centre opened and it that time it’s become a favourite destination for golfers. While it boasts one of Cork’s largest ranges, there’s much more on offer than just the 20 driving bays. High quality driving mats, ample space and top quality Srixon balls make for a good experience for anyone just practicing, and there are plenty of distance targets including a set of goal posts. The goal posts were the brainchild of Cork hurling fan David Keating. Dave is the Head Professional in Killarney but he was also the man behind the reopening of the facility in Ballincollig. When it opened in May 2017, Keating had a vision of creating a one stop shop, something more than just a basic range were you could hit balls. In addition to being able to buy a bucket of balls, there are PGA’s professionals available for lessons, a golf specific fitness gym and a private room for performance coaching. Resident coaches Wayne O’Callaghan and Liam Burns are hand to provide lessons, Francis Courtney provides a TPI based golf fitness programme from his dedicated onsite gym while Deirdre Gallagher looks after the mental side of the game. The business has developed and evolved in the past 14 months, Kieran O’Connor has based his golf distribution business there and he is growing the number of brands that he provides for the trade. A former European Sales Manager for Oakley, Kieran has over 20 years of experience and he has many popular brands on offer including Bettinardi, Lynx, Murray Golf, Island Green Clothing and Click Gear and Rovic Trollies. His company is called Shank Agencies and is quickly growing into one of Ireland’s fastest growing golf distributors. With the upcoming addition of chipping and putting greens the centre will become the most wide ranging accessible range in Cork. All in all it’s a great mix of people and disciplines that makes Cork Golf Centre a unique place. Wayne O’Callaghan has been based in Cork Golf Centre since the opening, the Advanced PGA Professional has over 20 years experience in the game and as one of the resident professionals he can see the progress. “The Centre has really taken off from when we opened it a year ago” explained O’Callaghan. “The poor weather we had for six months made the Centre the go to place to practice as golf courses were closed, and people have continued to come with the good weather as many people have established a practice routine. We have a greens mower now and will be cutting greens shortly in the range with will give customers the feel of playing a course. The Centre has over 22 target flags from 100 yards and in and this is the perfect place to hone the short game.” The centre has just developed a second teaching bay, the dedicated bays provide golfers with a certain level of privacy that aids concentration allowing them to get the most from their coaching session. The teaching bays are aimed at the longest part of the range, allowing golfers to test their distances with all clubs. It’s also a great place to practice short game drills as Wayne explained. “The Centre also allows gives me a great base for lessons focusing on wedge play which along with putting is the scoring zone. I have a range of customized tests using Trackman which measures each shot and produces a report with a short game handicap and allows me to identify where students are weaker, and we develop practice plans for them to improve. This test has proved immensely popular as students always want to beat their own golf handicap and gives a measured assessment of their wedge play.” With an increase in the number of golfers playing, Wayne has seen a bounce in the industry. “Lessons are very busy this year and I run the only Capto putting Centre in the country where we also installed a purpose built putting green where students can see their stroke in 3d with over 30 parameters of the stroke captured and full reports of each session emailed with relevant practice plans structured for each individual. Putting sessions are €60 an hour. We can also run custom putter fittings using Capto and Quintic Ball Roll software where I can then recommend putter styles to match students putting arcs and aim tendencies. At the Centre we have a Bettinardi and Lynx putters to be tested.” While lessons and assessments must be booked in advance, the centre is open from 11am to 9pm seven days a week for anyone looking to practice on the range. Wayne spent a number of years building a strong reputation as a top class junior coach. He started in a newly developed range and short game area in Fernhill and now operates from Raffeen Creek and the centre in Ballincollig. This week he’s running a camp in Raffeen Creek and he’ll hold wo further camps in Ballincollig over the coming weeks. One consequence of being busy at the centre is that Wayne has less time to play. His golf has been limited to just two pro-ams so far this year. He was playing in the Waterford Castle pro-am last weekend where he finished in the top 15 – proving that he still has the game that saw him become a regular winner on the Irish Region scene for many years.
Capto Putting System
It may be an old saying but it still holds true – drive for show, putt for dough and Wayne O’Callaghan is building on that with the Capto putting analysis system. Wayne is one of only two PGA Professionals in Ireland to use the Capto Putting Technology system. Using a small sensor on the shaft of your putter, the system can instantly capture twenty key parameters of the putting stroke. Wayne along with Killarney based David Keating travelled to Spain late last year to pick up the new technology, which offers a whole new level of detail when it comes to analysing putting. While there are several options for measuring the swing of irons and drivers, and there are several putting systems that capture the reaction of the ball once it’s hit, this is one of the first systems to focus on the swing and the actions of the golfer. The system operates by putting a small 3D sensor onto the shaft of the putter and using a computer or phone see the results from the sensor. The sensor, which doesn’t affect the weight or balance of the putter, captures the equivalent of 300 frames per second and almost instantly breaks down the information. Details are then displayed in a user-friendly format, covering key details such as face angle, swing path, speed, tempo and muscle tension. The 300 frame per second data capture means that the Capto is extremely accurate when it comes to measurements. Results are displayed as a series of graphics. Details on the golfers level can be entered into the system which then allows results to be displayed in the form of green, amber or red lines highlighting the key improvement areas. Like most analysis tools, the system can be used by elite amateurs and high handicappers. The system reports the metrics in terms of both percentages and actual degrees. This allows the high handicapper to quickly identify issues, and the lower handicappers can look at tightening up their putting stroke by narrowing any tolerance for off-square or off-path putts. “One of the best features is free aiming so unlike other systems where you have to stay in one particular spot with Capto you can move around” said O’Callaghan. “It captures a golfer’s initial aim and then impact so for example if a student holes out a putt but Capto reports the putter face was 10 degrees closed at impact then that identifies an aim problem.” As well as using the Capto system for stroke analysis, the new system also has a second use as Wayne explained: “We also have a custom fitting service using Capto, and we have a large range of Bettinardi and Lynx putters available to be tested to best suit a student’s style.”