It was far from a quiet start to the day in Muskerry on Monday. Even though it was a bank holiday the car park was busy and the timesheet was full. The outdoor dining area was ready to reopen and in the pro shop Fred Twomey was busy running the show from behind the counter. From filling out cards, to booking in golfers and lessons it’s all in a days work for the popular PGA Club Professional. After the lockdown closure that lasted over five months, Fred is busy, but he’s delighted to be back in the thick of it in a very busy club.
“We’ve been up the walls, and it’s a great problem to have” explained Fred. “After five months of no golf, it great to have everyone back. Between lessons and the shop it’s been non-stop. Members have been very happy with the course. The team have done a great job on the course, it’s fabulous and the greens are in great condition. I’ve been up the walls with lessons. I have two working here in the shop with me to allow me to get out and teach.” Along with the shop and the lessons, Fred has also been working on a plan to develop more practice facilities that will be a huge boost to the membership. Havin opened his performance studio at the range in Muskerry back in 2018, the club now has a wedge area and a short game area close to completion.
There was change for Fred at the end of last year as he finished up his role as GUI Provincial Coach after almost 20 years. As the GUI provincial coach, Fred was involved with several generations of young golfers, including several who have gone on to the pro ranks. Cian McNamara, Gary Hurley, Kevin Phelan, James Sugrue, John Murphy and Seamus Power all came through the Munster programme in that time, and over 50 golfers went on to represent Ireland. As well as working with the boys and senior Munster interprovincial teams, the Muskerry professional has a great record in the mens and boys interclub competitions.
Fred is acknowledged as one of the best teaching professionals in the country, working with beginners, high handicappers and elite amateurs he’s seen it all. His role with Munster and Ireland has seen him work with the best amateurs in Ireland but it’s his work with the Muskerry teams that has helped the club to secure ten provincial pennants and four national titles.
The Twomey family has strong links with Muskerry. In addition to being a member of the club as a junior and while he was an amateur, Fred also completed his PGA training in Muskerry under Martin Lehane in 1990, and he qualified as a PGA Professional in 1995. The first twenty years as a pro saw him focus on teaching and coaching and three years ago he took over as Club Professional when Martin retired.
Now Twomey is driving on the development of the practice facilities in Muskerry for the next generation of golfers who are serious about improving their game. Over the last few months Twomey has been busy developing an academy in the club. Fred is currently upgrading his Trackman studio in the proshop, and he also has the long game range as well as a new wedge and short game area that’s nearly ready for play. The improved and expanded practice facilities will be a real boost for Fred and for the enlarged membership of Muskerry. As well as increasing the membership last year as soon as golf resumed, the club has also been busy developing their junior section.
With close to 20 years experience of working with juniors, the Muskerry junior sections will benefit from his approach. Thanks to a strong commitment from the club and a passionate group of junior officers, Muskerry has moved ahead with their junior golf programme. “We have over 150 juniors in the club the moment. One of the great things at the moment is equality between girls and boys. The statistic in Munster is that in most clubs there are roughly five boys for every one girl. That’s around the same here in Muskerry but the club has done great work for the past two or there years to grow the number of girls playing. There’s just not enough of girls playing the game so we’ll keep working to look after the current members and grow that number.”
Like many clubs, Muskerry used the five months to complete several important projects. The course was a busy place over the lockdown, and extensive tree management campaign took place around the 10th-15th holes, there was bunker work completed on the 10th and a new back tee was developed on the 15th. And feedback from the members was very positive once the course reopened at the end of April.
Muskerry recently advertised for a Head Greenkeeper, taking over from Course Superintendent Michael Buckley who is retiring. The role is an attractive one, heading up the operations and planning for the Alister MacKenzie designed course. Muskerry is always we presented and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to ensure the strong Muskerry reputation is maintained and enhanced into the future.
While members continue to have priority with exclusive members times and competitions, open golf is back in the calendar in Muskerry with the return of the O’Crualaoi open singles every Tuesday. Dates are also in the calendar for the popular scratch cups and the famous Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy will also take place later in the year. The Bruen Youths will also feature later in the summer with the club keen to continue their links with the great Jimmy Bruen who played for the club.