Cian McNamara, Monkstown’s Club Professional.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
Like most club professionals, Cian McNamara was busy last week getting ready for the reopening of golf. It’s eight years since Cian landed in Monkstown, and the Limerick native has made Cork and Monkstown his home. Like everyone interested in the sport, Cian was counting down to the reopening of golf. He is expecting a busy restart to golf, and he’s expecting a busy summer. “I certainly believe with the long lay-off from golf, golf tuition will be busy over the summer months” said McNamara. “With Golf Ireland determined to play championships and inter-club events it will also add to the golf tuition demand which will be great. Custom fitting is certainly a big area that has emerged over the last few years. With PGA Club Professionals providing the opportunity to compare different models while using various launch monitors it gives the customer the assurance that the purchase they make is certainly suited to their technique.”
McNamara has helped drive several changes in Monkstown and one of the most exciting developments was the opening of a new Trackman studio last year. The studio has the latest technology including an indoor driving bay and a putting area, and this gives members a real advantage when it comes to analysis and custom fitting. “The reac Continue reading
Stephen Hayes has an opening for a full-time staff member, working in the Douglas Golf Club Pro-Shop. The role is a great opportunity for someone looking to work in the trade, and Douglas is one of the busiest clubs in Cork. The club is nearing the end of a major transformation programme, and the new pro-shop is due to be completed this year. Full details on the job are listed below:
Monkstown Pro Shop’s Shane Irwin who recently received graduated as a PGA Professional.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
Monkstown based Shane Irwin recently completed his PGA training and the Limerick native is now a qualified PGA Professional. After three years of training, Shane passed his final exams to receive his degree level qualification from the University of Birmingham. Shane joins a number of recently qualified golf professionals in Cork, including Alan Gleeson, Davey Barry and Ciaran McKenna.
Prior to working in Monkstown Shane had worked in the industry in South Africa and the US, and that experience gave him the confidence to know that a career in the industry was the way to go. In 2017 he moved to Cork to take up a role in Monkstown Golf Club. After spending a few months working in the pro-shop, .n September 2017 he started his PGA training. Having worked in the US and South Africa prior to that. It was the next step in a plan for Shane. Traditionally the PGA apprenticeship was based around learning on the job, but now the degree level course has a Continue reading
A new LED lighting system has brought a huge improvement to Cork Golf Centre.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
Cork Golf Centre has seen a major upgrade in 2020 with golfers now benefitting from better lighting and a longer hitting area. The centre just outside Ballincollig used the two lockdowns to implement some planned improvements, and it’s been a busy place since the recent reopening. When the centre opened in May 2017 it was a much needed addition to the western side of the city. It was within easy reach of a large number of golfers stretching from the city to Macroom. David Keating was behind the development and his vision was to provide golfers of all levels with a Continue reading
Ian Stafford who has been busy planning the 2018 staging of the Pro Shop Challenge at Kinsale Golf Club.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
2020 was a different year for everyone in golf, from course owners to golfers to professionals. With forced closures for over three months of the year, golf professionals were effectively shut down during the closures. While there were challenges, there were also opportunities and Kinsale based PGA Professional Ian Stafford definitely took advantage of the opportunities. As well as getting to spend more time with his family, Ian has continued his own habit of furthering his professional qualifications. Having started his PGA training in 2000, Stafford didn’t stop with his PGA qualification.
In 2016 he achieved Continue reading
Cobh’s Club Professional David O’Sullivan PGA.
This summer marked an important anniversary for PGA Professional David O’Sullivan, he celebrated 10 years as the Club Professional in Cobh Golf Club. The Ballincollig native has been in the PGA ranks for over 20 years and has made Cobh his home since 2010. While golf itself has gone through a strange decade, and especially a strange 2020, David was delighted to celebrate a decade at the Marino Point club. “Ten years on and the old saying is true, time flies when you’re having fun. From my early days, it was very clear that the members were welcoming and proud of their golf club and that is still very much the vibe at Marino Point. Cobh Golf Club is on a journey of progression and since I started in 2010 this has been our shared journey. It became ‘home’ and a decade on, I still very much feel that sense of belonging.”
Although you mightn’t think it, David is now in his third decade as a golf pro. He trained in Bandon under Paddy O’Boyle and Continue reading
Michael Collins pictured at his base in Mallow Golf Range in Copstown.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
It’s a long way from Mallow to Augusta, but that’s the trip that James Sugrue and his coach Michael Collins had to undertake last week on the way to the Masters Tournament. Travel restrictions meant that Collins was the only person to head off with Sugrue, and the PGA teaching professional was delighted to be alongside his pupil on the journey to golf’s most famous setting.
“Even though I was really looking forward to getting to Augusta, Covid-19 meant that it was hard to relax knowing that we had to negotiate three airports, two flights and 12 hours in the air” explained Collins. However after arriving on Friday both Collins and Sugrue got the all clear from their Covid-19 tests and they could head for the course with the important trip down Magnolia Lane.
“It was pretty cool driving down Magnolia Lane on Saturday morning, something that I will never forget, or get tired of” said Collins. “James has a local caddy for the week so we met Jack and played the front nine on Saturday and the back nine on Sunday morning. As everybody has told me before we came over, you don’t realise how undulating it is until you see it. The hill on the 10th could nearly be a ski slope. They have told us that it will play a bit differently to April as they have had to overseed to get it playable in November.” The weather is making a difference too as Michael continued, “It is playing pretty soft, meaning a lot of long approach shots into slopey, fast greens. You will have to be very good tee to green this week to be in contention. The greens take a lot of reading as the grain isn’t obvious but definitely has an influence. We also have the added element of some weather heading through here due to the tropical storm coming up from Florida. There is the possibility of weather delays which adds yet another element to the November Masters.”
PGA Professional Michael Collins who has also made the trip to Augusta forthe 2020 Masters Tournament.
Picture Niall O’Shea
Despite the changes in plans and schedules since March, Sugrue has kept his focus on the golf as his coach added: “To say his year has been disrupted is a gross understatement, but he has shown a great attitude and continued to work away, through all the uncertainty around competitions, lockdowns etc., and kept a positive mentality which can’t have been easy. He has kept working hard at home since the Irish Open and has arrived here in good shape. Ultimately, he is playing nicely, he has a great temperament and attitude and has a spring in his step after the Cork hurling and especially the footballers results over the weekend.” The plan is to enjoy the challenge and play well.
Cork Golf Centre
While courses opened in mid-May, it took most Golf Professionals a few weeks more to restart their businesses. Almost all PGA Professionals are now back in business following the lockdown and many are reporting a strong start to the shortened season. Cork Golf Centre re-opened in May and the Ballincollig centre is now back to offering the full range or services. Wayne O’Callaghan is one of three teaching professionals based in the centre and he’s delighted with the large number of golfers coming for lessons or just Continue reading
Cork Golf Centre
It’s three years since Cork Golf Centre opened and while nobody could have expected all forms of golf to be suspended, it’s still an important milestone for the progressive range. Having operated as a range for close to twenty years, the site re-opened in 2017 under David Keating. David Keating is one of golf’s gentlemen. The PGA Professional has had an interesting and varied 27 years working in golf, working in Cork, Kerry, Dublin and back in Cork again where he based himself in the Ballincollig range. The Charleville man started off serving his time in Bandon with Paddy O’Boyle, and ended up as Club Professional at his home course in Charleville. After that he spent ten years in Killarney as Head Professional and three years ago he moved into teaching full time, splitting his time between Cork Golf Centre and the Spawell Academy in Continue reading
Now in his third decade as a PGA Professional, David Keating has seen plenty and has watched the industry change through the decades. “When I started as a PGA trainee almost 27 years ago there were just over 200 courses, and there’s well over 300 now” explained Keating. “We have gone from having 200 pros to 700 since I started. Golf went through a boom period from 2000-2007 which covered up some cracks but everything came falling down after 2008. The market is now much smaller, there is more free information online and obviously on-course retail has suffered. Costs have gone up, lesson rates have stagnated or reduced, and customer numbers have reduced.” Continue reading