We’re starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel now….a grand stretch in the evenings as they say and this is typically the signal for fair weather golfers to start thinking about getting the clubs back out and looking forward to the season ahead.
For golfers in the Cork area Cork Golf Centre has everything for you this winter including a LED lighting system which spans over 300 yards. https://irishgolfer.ie/wp-admin/edit.php
Located in Ballincollig, it’s just one of a few driving ranges in Cork and it has proven to be a fantastic outlet for golfers since reopening in 2017.
The centre was opened by David Keating with his vision being to provide golfers of all levels with a positive experience. He brought Liam Burns and Wayne O’Callaghan with him from the outset while John Savage was added to the team in 2020 and Stephen Hayes is a new recruit from Douglas Golf Club in 2022.
“We have an outstanding PGA team at the centre and we are very proud of the continual improvements at the site,” says Keating. “The facility had been closed for a number of years and there is great satisfaction in bringing any business back from the dead.
“Golf has benefited from a boom since the COVID Pandemic with hundreds of people either taking up the game for the first time or coming back to the game and sticking to it. We have given the people of Cork a great option to learn and improve as golfers at Cork Golf Centre.
“I was lucky to get Wayne in at the start as he had just left another facility and he brought a strong customer base with him.”
O’Callaghan has been a full-time coach since 1998 and has seen business grow at the Centre since its launch. So much so that he now has a long waiting-list for evening lessons.
“I’m not going to complain,” he joked. “When golf came back after the lockdown interest in the game exploded globally.
“Dave has put a lot into the facility, new targets, modern lighting and fantastic mats. Our customers have the option to use the rubber tee or their own tees in each bay. We also use premium Srixon range balls.”
Cork Golf Centre itself is now a state-of-the-art facility with eighteen bays, three Trackman units and a SamPutting studio while a new top of the range tilting putting green has also just been installed. The centre is also a great outlet for beginners and casual golfers with baskets of balls available for just €2.
O’Callaghan is always pushing the boat out on new technology. He teaches the long game but specialises in putting and he is delighted with the new tilting green system. He has big plans in that department for 2023 having studied putting under top tour coach Phil Kenyon.
“I would specialise in putting because I have Capto putting with 3D Quintic ball roll and I have Trackman. My studio has a simulator as well for some swing analysis in the winter.
“I’m currently using a Trackman four but have used the Trackman for the last fifteen years or so. I like the visual side of teaching. Dave also has a Trackman and Steve has one as well so everyone is geared up,” explains O’Callaghan who also operates a junior academy.
“I want to upgrade the Quintic ball roll to the new one with the putter and the ball roll, which covers the contact and collision with the putter so it would be more like a putter fitting and as we have a state of the art putting studio here it would be nice to be able to get putter data.
“I bought the Sam Studio in 2022 which was a large investment and it has full ball tracking and the projector shows the break, the ideal break and what the ball has done along with the video evidence so it has everything in one go.
“Green reading is a skill that has to be learned and it has come up in lessons so the ability to tilt the green and analyse where the break points are is a big plus. People can hit it where they think it is now and we have employed a correct aiming point method which is an extra dimension to just analysing the stroke.
“The three things in putting are the ability to read the green so you know where you are going to start the ball, can you start it on that line, and with the right speed.
“The player takes ten putts and the system is calibrated to the correct point of aim and they get a report which has a database of over 200 tour pros showing where they aim and where they rank in each individual parameter.”
It’s quite a diverse team in Cork. Keating is a renowned swing coach and really enjoys the range lifestyle having worked in golf clubs for the previous 25 years.
“It is a very enjoyable and a new life for me as I divide my coaching time between Cork Golf Centre and Spawell Golf Academy in Dublin. I know that Stephen is also enjoying the transition from club life and he has been a major addition for us,” says Keating.
Hayes dabbles in both the long and short game and along with Keating has been involved with multiple All Ireland winning club teams .
“What can I say about John Savage and Liam Burns other than they are a credit to their profession,” says Keating. “The number of golfers that they have coached over a 30 year period has been phenomenal and they always throw new ideas on the table. I couldn’t ask for a better team and we have all been friends for many years.”
Cork Golf Centre is in a unique catchment area, situated in Ballincollig but also just on the fringes of the City Centre which means the driving range is always buzzing with golfers of all levels.
“We get a lot of young people here. We are only five miles from the city centre and we have Ballincollig which has a population of over 20,000 so within ten miles is quarter of a million people. It’s a nice area to be in, very wooded and the two euro coins attracts people,” says Keating.
“We also get a lot of regular golfers who just want to enjoy their golf, we get a few very good players too but we’ve always said if our players can enjoy their golf, we are achieving something.”
The driving range is a family friendly facility and the opening hours are from 11am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 8pm on Saturday while it operates from 12pm to 7pm on Sundays.