15.2 C
Dublin
Monday, July 6, 2020
- Advertisement -

Maguire and Meadow are pathfinders for Irish on LPGA Tour

Must read

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #4

Opinions are – and to this day remain so - divided as to which of the trio of Seve Ballesteros Open Championships were the most memorable. We've landed on the second one

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #5

The beauty of Open Championship golf and links golf for that matter is that it demands a variety of shots scarcely seen across the weekly haunts of the PGA and European Tours. Here's two great examples

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #6

Who could forget the image of Jordan Spieth way right, deep into the dunes, faced with an unplayable lie, his procession towards a first Open Championship in serious jeopardy

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #8

In 1973, arguably the sport’s first global superstar was bowing-out of the Open Championship. Trust Gene Sarazen to sign off with a hole-in-one

The ILGU High Performance system is just over ten years old and is now set to reap the fruits of a decade of investment in developing new talent for the women’s game. 

That is the view of Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive Officer of the ILGU who believes that Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow will soon be followed into the ranks of LPGA Tour players by more Irish female golfers.  

Reflecting on the progress of the ILGU which next year will formally transfer its role into the new unified Golf Ireland organisation, Heraty spoke about the High Performance prediction made by an industry consultant. 

“Around 2008 is when we started to invest very heavily into Girls Development and High Performance. Hence we are now, thankfully, with two girls on the LPGA Tour. 

“The guy that we worked with at that time – Morgan Buckley of Atlantic Sports Management – said it takes ten years to implement a High Performance Programme. 

“While Leona and Stephanie are the two on the LPGA now, I would say that in the next four or five years that number will actually go up to four or five. 

The talent continues to come through,” she said.  

Stephanie Meadow (Photo: PressEye)

If that prediction is fully realised in the next decade, it would be a remarkable achievement for the women’s game in this country. The ILGU CEO has no doubts about the potential of Irish female golfers to take their place on the LPGA stage. Her confidence stems from inside knowledge of the coaching and development schemes within Girls and women’s golf through the last ten years.  

“Ideally what you’re looking at is one player coming through every three years which would be fantastic, because if you think about it, a number of years ago, girls were turning pro but they didn’t have the necessary support structure around them.  

“They weren’t progressing to the required level, also they were probably turning pro too young. Now the High Performance is a much more professional element, and as an amateur they’re getting much more support. 

“If they turn pro, they will have played in professional events. They know what the life is. They’re also competing much more in the States, they’re competing much more on a world level as amateurs, therefore they have much better visibility as to the life they have ahead of them,” said Sinead.  

The opportunities and training available to aspiring Tour professionals nowadays is a far cry from the first two Irish women who joined the paid ranks, as is chronicled in the excellent “A History of Women’s Golf in Ireland” (Liberties Press, 2018) by Ivan Morris.  

In a chapter titled “Ireland’s Lady Professionals”, the author tells the story of the great Philomena Garvey who applied for membership of the then Irish Professional Golfers Association in 1964. 

Phil Garvey’s time as the first Irish women’s professional lasted only four years, as her playing opportunities were seriously limited. She did not wish to go to America to play the LPGA Tour, and as Ivan Morris writes, “there were no professional tournaments for women in Britain and Ireland to play in.” 

Phil applied for reinstatement as an amateur in 1968 and retired from golf in 1970. Gwen Brandom was the second Irish female professional golfer.  

She turned pro in 1969 and actually did play a few events on the LPGA Tour. 

One common factor between Ms Brandom’s era and now is that it costs a lot of money just to finance a Tour schedule, and when the outgoings exceeded income, she came back to Ireland. 

Gwen spent time teaching at the Spawell Driving Range before opening her own indoor golf school. She did play in the first Women’s British Open which was played at Fulford GC in York, but was one of only five professionals from these islands to compete in the Championship. 

Ms Brandom missed the cut, and despite the presence of overseas professionals in the tournament, two Curtis Cup amateur players took first and second place respectively – Jennie Lee Smith of England and Ireland’s Mary McKenna. 

Eventually, Gwen re-applied for amateur status in the 1980s and became a member of Grange GC. She passed away, aged 68 in April, 2006. 

The pathway opened up by Philomena Garvey and Gwen Brandom was followed by players such as Maureen Madill, Hazel Kavanagh, Aideen Rogers and Rebecca Codd (née Coakley), all with varying degrees of success. 

In fact, with the exception of Maureen Madill who is a highly respected commentator on golf, those named above have all become teaching professionals. 

Credit to them all for their expertise and valuable work in making better golfers of men, women, boys, and girls, but it is fair to say that Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow have their sights set on winning top LPGA Championships. 

Where they go, the younger generation will surely follow, hence Sinead Heraty’s confidence that Ireland will produce more female Tour golfers in the relatively near future.  

New Gear

Galvin Green hits the shelves with eye-catching 2020 range

Galvin Green has turned to the ‘Science of Excellence’ for inspiration for its 2020 Part Two clothing range launched this month

Big Max introduces lightest ever push trolley

At just 5.4kg, the TI Lite from trolley experts Big Max is a practical dream for golfers wanting to take the edge off their long walk spoiled

Music to our ears – Bushnell Golf introduces Wingman GPS Speaker

The all-in-one device gives golfers access to their favourite music while still providing them audible distance information on the course

Motocaddy M7 remote offers even more hands-free control

Motocaddy is introducing a new M7 Remote trolley that gives golfers a superb hands-free option for transporting clubs on the golf course

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Fleetwood – no hard feelings after McIlroy’s PGA Tour comments

Tommy Fleetwood insists he holds no ill-will towards Rory McIlroy after the Northern Irishman questioned the career commitment of some of Europe’s biggest stars opting out of the PGA Tour restart

Power fades as DeChambeau muscles his way to Rocket Mortgage win

Seamus Power drifted outside the top-10 on the final day as beefed-up American Bryson DeChambeau moved to No.7 in the world with a post-lockdown victory that's been coming

Open Championship – Top-10 Greatest Hits – #4

Opinions are – and to this day remain so - divided as to which of the trio of Seve Ballesteros Open Championships were the most memorable. We've landed on the second one

Molinari moving Stateside & it’s nothing to do with McIlroy’s ‘broadside’

"The next chapter of our life is going to be in California, where we hope to be safe, happy and to spend more time together as a family" - Francesco Molinari

Power digs deep to stay in touch of maiden Tour title

West Waterford's Seamus Power grabbed back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 in a round of 69 to be sharing fourth place at 14-under par