They’re nice problems to have, but problems nonetheless, the task of balancing a high-class amateur career with a flourishing golf fitness business.
For Peter O’Keeffe, his job off the fairway goes hand-in-hand with the work he does on it, and off the back of his most successful season yet, the Douglas bomber is convinced he can follow up on both fronts despite more demands on his time in all aspects of life.
“It’s kind of a case of be careful what you wish for,” O’Keeffe laughs as his ‘Golf Strong’ enterprise continues to experience growth off the back of an unforgettable season.
“It’s tricky, it really is. There are a lot of pleasant problems but they’re still problems I have to manage. I’ve a great guy with me in Douglas, Paul Tobin and he does online work for me and is a great asset but it might be time to maybe look at getting someone else onto the team.
“Tricia Murphy does yoga and palates for us and she’s super too but I’m certainly looking for another version of myself so to speak because I need to be playing as well, it’s all part of the brand.”
As far as brand marketing goes, O’Keeffe winning all around him last year could hardly be topped by even the most flaithulach of advertising campaigns. It was a landmark season, etching the Cork man’s name in Irish golf folklore with victories at the Home Internationals, the Douglas Scratch Cup and the Munster Stroke Play before completing a rare double with O’Keeffe becoming the first player since Padraig Harrington to capture both the AIG Irish Amateur Close Trophy and the Flogas Men’s Irish Amateur Open.
Having hit the big 4-0 in November, O’Keeffe, who spent five years on the Challenge Tour before regaining amateur status in 2016, has set his sights on the follow-up act, and unsurprisingly that involves staying true to a proven winning formula.
“I’m just so stubbornly focussed on what I’m doing that if I just keep doing the stuff that works for me and not change any of my preparation around tournaments, I’d expect at least to be in the mix again,” he says.
“I’m generally a slow starter into the season and I’m OK with that, but I suppose it’s a bonus I’m looking at if I do get a quicker start into the season, things might be different, but I’m patient.
“I’m happy with my own processes so we’ll see what comes out of it.”
O’Keeffe hopes to make his competitive reappearance at the Spanish Amateur in March before taking aim at The West and the start of the domestic season. For now though, his days are easily filled with his fairway exploits feeding into his Golf Strong business, a passion he’s been taking on the road as he looks to educate clubs around the country on all things Strength and Conditioning in golf.
“They go hand-in-hand,” O’Keeffe says, having been recruited by the high-flying Offaly Junior Golf Academy as an S&C Coach for 2022.
“It’s no secret now that I have a massive passion for junior golf and junior development. I was in Killiney Golf Club recently working with their members.
“There’s a lot of golf clubs getting in touch now for the Golf Strong Club Programme that I started. Basically, I will now travel to a club and work with juniors, educate them and help them understand how their bodies move in relation to the golf swing.
“I’ve also had teams of juniors come to me in Douglas, and we’ve set up a High Performance S&C Day where I’ll do assessments, get juniors all set up with Golf Strong membership online and ensure they have access to me for the duration of their programme.
“That’s the model and I’m having more contact with clubs all the time which is great. Yes, it’s a lot to take on, but I’m loving every second of it.”