After nearly two years plying her trade as a professional golfer, Lisa Maguire has taken the brave decision to swap a life on the fairways for a career off it as she enters a new stage in her journey with Modest! Golf Management.
The Cavan professional, whose twin sister Leona graduated to the LPGA Tour this year, enjoyed a glittering amateur career in Ireland before graduating from Duke University alongside her sister and turning professional in June of 2018.
Now, after some 18 months of trying to establish herself on the paid circuit, the 24-year old has chosen a new path in life alongside Modest! Golf, the boutique management company founded by Niall Horan that initially signed the rising star to her first professional contract
“Golf has been very good to me over the last number of years and it’s been a huge part of my life. I think this is just another chapter of that,” said Lisa.
“It’s not exactly on the golf course per se but it’s nice to be outside the ropes and still be so involved in the golf industry. It’s an opportunity to give back to a game that has been so good to me over the years and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”
Maguire had grown up dreaming of making a life for herself on the Tour but as the weeks went on, that dream was becoming more distant.
“It’s not a decision that anybody wants to make,” Maguire admitted. “The way I looked at it, I like to give everything in my life 100% and I felt like I was giving 100% on the golf course and not getting the same in return, and as you can understand, that was incredibly frustrating.”
Now, albeit in a different capacity, Maguire can utilise her wealth of knowledge from a lifetime spent in golf to make a real impact on the game.
“I’m excited to pursue something else, give it 100% and see the return value I can get from that and be able to make a real difference in a different way,” she said.
“I’d love to get more involved in growing the ladies game, even back home here in Ireland. Obviously, we’ve two members on the LPGA Tour now in Leona and Stephanie Meadow but in five years, it would be nice to see five girls on the LPGA, in 10 years, 10 girls on the LPGA. Anything I can do over the next number of years to turn that dream into a reality, I’m all for it.”
And her new employers, Modest! Golf are too. A rising stable brimming with future and present stars, Maguire may not have scripted taking the next step in her career in this new role but she’s excited to go on the journey with a team she’s come to adore since the moment they started working together.
“When we signed with Modest! they were starting out on their journey with women’s professional golf just like we were, so it was nice to share that experience and learn together as we went.
“What I admired most about Modest! is that they never promised anything they couldn’t fulfil. Anything Mark [McDonnell], Niall [Horan] or Katy [Hall] said they would do, they did do, so from that perspective I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
“You can see the fruits of their work on the men’s side now – multiple winners on the European Tour this year. They’re moving in the right direction and hopefully I can fit into that model and move it forward, especially on the women’s side of the business.”
Modest! Golf Director, Mark McDonnell believes Maguire’s experience, knowledge and work ethic will make her an integral part of the company’s continued success.
“We’re so proud and supportive of Lisa’s decision and thrilled that she’s chosen to take the next step in her career with us,” said McDonnell.
“I think Lisa is an example to lots of young people out there that if your first choice career option doesn’t work out, if you knuckle down, study hard and you’re a good person, you will be OK. Lisa will be embarking on a journey alongside the team as we look to develop our ladies division and we have no doubt that she will become an incredible asset to that mission and everyone at Modest! Golf.”
The timing of her career transition could hardly be better. With the work of the 20×20 campaign driving a movement aimed at closing the gender gap in sport, Maguire arrives in her new role with Modest! Golf at the heartbeat of change.
“The audience is there now, it’s about getting more girls into games, ensuring girls stay in sport as they go through school and into college and make sure sport is for life as opposed to just something you do as a kid in the garden.”
Her passion for the game remains unparalleled. Why exactly it didn’t work out for Lisa Maguire, the player, a child prodigy who became the second youngest Curtis Cup competitor when lining out for Great Britain and Ireland at just 15, well…
“Golf is an incredibly difficult game,” she laughed. “One day you’re on top of the world, the next day you’re at the bottom looking up at it!
“I probably lost some technical skill with my long game – as I got stronger and grew a bit, my swing went off a wee bit and I could never get that back. My putting and short game matched up but the long game proved a bridge too far.
“But I never wanted to get to a point where I resented the game. I still love going out to play golf on weekends, whether that’s with Leona and Odhran or whoever else is around for a hit. I’m still a very competitive person on the golf course and that will never change. This is just a step back from tournament golf.”
A step back from that environment, sure, but you have every reason to believe this is a step forward for one of the brightest young minds in the sport. Maguire’s knowledge of the amateur game in Ireland is vast while her grasp on the intercollegiate circuit in America is stronger still. The door to her fairway ambitions may have closed for now but a career in driving the game forward awaits at Modest! Golf where she’ll undoubtedly prove herself a key component, not just to the women’s division of Modest! but to the company as a whole.
Modest! and Maguire are a perfect fit. Humble. Grounded. Grateful.
“Modest! have been great right from the beginning, as have KPMG, Allianz, Davy, Ping and Puma,” Lisa added.
“I mean, everybody has been behind me 100% and that made everything on the golf course as easy as it could be – the scores just never really matched up but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system through that time and I’ll always be grateful for that.
“To have the likes of KPMG, Allianz and Davy involved so heavily in my development, and supporting and investing in young Irish talent has been incredible. They do so much for young people.
“I’ve visited the KPMG offices a few times and have seen first-hand the work they do to invest in young people and their careers – it’s really special.
“Davy and Allianz have been great at opening their doors to me too. To be able to meet their staff and see the inspiring work they’re doing for young people in this country is honestly just amazing.
“All of these companies have been so supportive of my decision to start a new chapter in my career and although I won’t be playing tournament golf anymore, I look forward to our relationships continuing in my new role.
“To everyone at the Slieve Russell, our home club who’ve been there since the very beginning, to Shane O’Grady in Blackbush for his coaching through the years, to the ILGU who do such an incredible job supporting teams of girls through the amateur ranks and especially to Mam and Dad who were there every single step of the way, I just want to say thank you so much.”