Golf Ireland aims to bridge the gap between elite amateurs and pros

Ronan MacNamara

Neil Manchip (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Golf Ireland High Performance Director Neil Manchip feels that the disconnect between elite amateurs and those who enter the professional game has been resolved with the Golf Ireland player pathway fully connected from juveniles to professionals. 

Ireland has become world renowned for producing top quality amateurs such as Hugh Foley, Mark Power, Robert Moran and Matthew McClean to name a few from the current crop, but the concern is that not everyone will go on to fulfil their potential in the professional ranks.  

Approximately €1.5 million goes into the Golf Ireland High Performance scheme which also includes the Golf Ireland Professional scheme which provides supports for budding players on tour. 


“We have everything fully connected in our pathway now, from our area development of boys and girls from 9-14 into our performance development and then into our high performance of boys and girls and our Golf Ireland professional scheme,” said Manchip who is a coach to former Open champion Shane Lowry. 

“The pathway is all connected so there is clear criteria so boys and girls turning pro know how to get into the Golf Ireland professional scheme. There’s a period of looking after them financially and from a resource point of view for five or six years.” 

Ireland is competing well on the elite amateur circuit with six players named on the provisional Walker Cup panel for this year while McClean became the first Irishman to win a USGA final, beating Foley in the decider of the US Mid-Am. 

Behind the likes of Rory McIlroy, Seamus Power and Shane Lowry, there is a lack of depth on the DP World Tour with many Irish professionals struggling to make it out of the satellite tours. 

Ireland’s ‘Famous Five’ from the 2015 Walker Cup have not come to fruition in the pro ranks but Manchip believes steps have been taken in the High Performance sector to bridge that gap while making sure Ireland competes at the highest level of amateur golf. 

“Our overall approach and objective to our programme is not to produce as many professional golfers as possible because it doesn’t suit some people and it might suit others. We want golfers to be the best they can be whether it’s as an amateur or continuing on to turn professional. 

“There are a number of supports there. Our Irish Challenge event which we can trade invitations to and have some of our amateurs play on the Challenge Tour experience. 

“We have had great feedback from professionals coming back to talk to our amateur players about what it’s like on Tour and what skills they think the boys and girls need to develop to make it on Tour. 

“Inevitably there are peaks and troughs, some years we are extremely good right at the top, other years not so good and others we are in the middle, having players on the Challenge Tour and LET. It really comes and goes. 

“Our pathway is for each player to get the best out of themselves whether it’s amateur or professional and then everyone has their own individual pathway, so we want to help them navigate that. As it is for many of our players going to the States on scholarships and testing themselves in the NCAA system against the best players from the US and the world. Or whether it’s staying home and pursuing a career in college in Ireland and going through a more European pathway. 

“We have the pathways in place to support each player at the right time.” 

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.