O’Keeffe’s Drive for Fitness

Peter O’Keeffe in his new gym in Douglas Golf Club.  Picture: Niall O’Shea

Unless you have an indoor studio and a trackman, the chances are you’re not playing much golf at the moment.  That’s probably the case for almost all golfers in Cork, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be getting ready for the season ahead.  Peter O’Keeffe’s online golf fitness classes are proving popular for plenty of keen golfers.  The Irish International golfer is currently running a range of online classes, and he’s attracting a large audience for his weekly classes and programmes.  While the classes are online the content is all based from his new custom built golf performance gym in Douglas Golf Club.  With almost 12 months of zoom experiences behind us and the year starting with a two month lockdown, January was an ideal time for O’Keeffe to launch his twice weekly series of classes.  Now heading into March, Peter is delighted with the numbers booking in.  “To be honest I am blown away by the interest, the classes are growing every month which is great” said Peter.

Peter O’Keeffe running an online class from his new gym in Douglas Golf Club.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

“I was running golf fitness courses in Douglas, Monkstown, Muskerry and Cork up until we went into the first lockdown last year.  I transferred the classes online and it’s grown from there.  I’m doing 15 classes per week at the moment between private golf club classes and open classes.  I have a junior class on a Saturday morning which I love. It’s great to see so many kids and their parents getting involved every week.”  Already bookings for March are very positive with many new golfers joining the existing groups for the first time.  O’Keeffe’s “Golf Strong” online brand is growing, and is now reaching an international audience thanks to technology.  “I work hard to make sure the classes are exactly what the people want and I’m very open to feedback and encourage suggestions to be emailed to me each week.  I now have golfers logging in from lots of different countries each week which is really great.”  The classes are suitable for all levels and all ages, giving everyone an opportunity to work on their golf while the courses are closed.  “The beauty of the online classes is that people can move at their own pace.  I design each class in a way that it is suitable to a beginner or for someone experienced in fitness.”

It’s been a busy few years for Peter.  In 2016 after calling time on his professional career, Peter set up O’Keeffe Golf Performance in the Dennehys gym in Douglas where he was also a director.  A year later he had a custom performance studio and gym in the newly opened Dennehy’s in Blackpool and the business grew further.  In late 2019 he left Dennehy’s to move to a new base in Douglas Golf Club, and over the past year he has developed one of the most advanced golf gyms in Europe.  The 2017 Irish Amateur Open winner has proved that fitness matters when it comes to golf.  He has spent the past four years working on his own fitness, speed and flexibility to produce the best results on the course.  In that time he won an Irish Open, won multiple Irish caps, he was runner-up in the North of Ireland and in last year’s reduced schedule of events he won the Munster Strokeplay by a record margin in Cork Golf Club.  O’Keeffe has had an interest in fitness since his teens, studying exercise science in South Eastern Louisiana during his golf scholarship and more recently completing the Titleist Performance Institute programmes.  The fact that he’s quite a good golfer also helps when linking gym based programmes to performance on the course.

Peter O’Keeffe working out in his new gym in Douglas Golf Club.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

The gym provides plenty of cardio machines and free weights, but crucially there’s a number of golf specific training aids.  From high-tech resistance bands and flexibility sticks to more basic ropes, medicine balls and golf clubs, the tools allow Peter to cover any aspect of golf fitness.  The personal training programmes are designed to allow individual golfers to maximise their own performances while the group classes allow everyone to improve their golf fitness.  The new gym and studio is just one of a series of developments in Douglas.  The refurbished clubhouse opened last year and work has commenced on the pro-shop, that’s in addition to the on-course work which included an upgrading of the range and short game areas and a new six hole short game course.

After investing in the new gym the move to the online world wasn’t part of the original plan, but it did allow Peter to keep the business going when many other gyms and trainers were forced to take a break.  It meant further investment in cameras, lights and connectivity to bring the business into people’s homes, and that allowed him to expand his online presence.  Once restrictions are lifted, golfers will have access to classes and training sessions in the gym, and they’ll also have the added bonus of access to his Trackman studio.  For now it’s just online access and Peter has just launched his schedule of Golf Strong classes for March.  He’s expecting a big take up again given that the courses remain closed for the moment, and golfers are looking for a golf related outlet.  For most of Peter’s workouts all you’ll need is a resistance band and a club.  But don’t be fooled, Peter’s sessions will generally test all fitness levels with a mixture of strength and flexibility exercises which are all designed to help your golf.  As well as monthly class programmes for ladies, gents and juniors, Peter is also providing club programmes and individual private training classes.  In addition to the programmes, O’Keeffe’s website also has a library of videos that cover warm-ups through to exercises that anyone can do at home.

As for the future, Peter believes that he’ll still be busy once courses re-open.  He has a few plans in mind to fit the busier schedules once normal life resumes.  “There are a few options.  I am working on a golf fitness “on demand” solution at the moment which will be ready soon.  In the meantime, people can take a look on my website – www.okeeffegolf.com or check out the exercises on the O’Keeffe Golf Performance YouTube channel.”  Peter also has a prolific presence on social media and bookings for his March courses can be made through his website.