Irish Golfers Naturally Bred
Seeing so many Irish Stars in the professional golfing arena got us thinking.... How do you create a breeding ground for a world-class golfer? It’s a much sought-after secret recipe but we have proof that Ireland has all the ingredients...
Just consider the following.
Paul McGinley - Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup Captain. What a moment that was when he sank the winning putt at the 2002 Ryder Cup. The good-humoured golfer also represented Europe in 2004 and 2006, and became the first European golfer to win in every one of his three appearances. Not bad for a former Gaelic football player who only started concentrating on golf at the Grange Golf Club, in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, at the age of 18 after he suffered a broken knee cap.
Rory McIlroy, who counts his home course as Hollywood, Co Down, is currently the world’s number one golfer and has won two majors. He was just 22 when he won his first – the 2011 US Open – setting a record score of 16 under-par. Next was the 2012 PGA Championship which he won by a record eight shots.
Of course McIlroy is following in the footsteps of other great golfers from this island. Padraig Harrington, who plays at Stackstown in Dublin, has a cool three majors to his name.
And who can forget Shane Lowry’s play-off victory over Robert Rock, while still an amateur, at the 2009 Irish Open? The Offaly man turned professional soon after.
Graeme McDowell, AKA G-Mac, whose home course is Rathmore Golf Club in Portrush, Co Antrim, had one of the most momentous years of any golfer in the Tiger Woods era, bar Tiger of course. In 2010, G-Mac won a number of high-profile events, most notably the US Open. He was the first European to win it in 40 years.
Darren Clarke also won a major in 2011, taking home The Open Championship trophy. This achievement came after 54 attempts over a 20-year period. The hours of practice as a young boy at Dungannon Golf Club had finally paid off.
And the ladies are just as impressive. Lisa and Leona Maguire, teenage twins from Co Cavan already boast impressive CVs. The duo made history when, aged 15, they became the youngest players to ever represent Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup.
Plain and simple Ireland is flush with golfing talent. And why wouldn’t it be when you consider that there are more than 400 links and parkland courses dotted all over the island – and that our benign climate means it’s a rare day when you can’t play.