Three Irish celebs swing into the world of golf

Lorraine Keane, Valerie Wheeler and Pamela Joyce pictured before their first training session at the Golf Ireland Academy.

Golf Ireland have announced a new campaign aimed at inspiring women and girls to consider golf as a social and fun activity.

To bring this vision to life, Golf Ireland will spotlight three popular Irish media personalities on their journey from relative beginners to confident golfers. Called, The First Tee, Journey to Dromoland, the programme will see Lorraine Keane joined by Pamela Joyce and Valerie Wheeler as they try to transform their golf game in three months before they take on the daunting KMPG Women’s Irish Open Pro-Am at Dromoland Castle on August 30th.

IFTA-nominated broadcaster and journalist, Keane, said that she only picked up a golf club for the first time recently, prompted by her friends who are also new to the game.


“I first picked up a golf club yesterday. I have chosen to embark on this journey because I have been thinking about playing golf. Some of my girlfriends have taken it up recently and I have had a bit of FOMO,” said Keane.

“We go on lovely nights away together and they go down earlier and play a round of golf. They come back totally exhilarated and just full of fun and stories; bad shots, good shots and just enjoying the game.”

Keane, who is an advocate for women’s health, was also attracted to the campaign by the social aspect of golf and the mental and physical health benefits it offers.

“I like the idea it is in the fresh air. You are able to have a bit of craic, catch up, have chats and also the mental health benefits of being out and about and the exercise benefits. You can burn 450 calories on nine holes of golf. So that’s nearly 1,000 calories on a full game, it’s win-win,” added Keane.

The six-part YouTube series will also feature radio presenter Pamela Joyce, who expressed her enthusiasm to rekindle her early interest in golf. She first played golf as a seven-year-old before performing arts took precedence. However, her passion for the sport has returned.

“I did Get into Golf last year in Rathfarnham Golf Club and that revived my love for it and reminded me, actually you know what, this is good fun. Here we are now,” said Joyce.

Joyce, a presenter of the lunchtime show on Today FM, says one of her key motivations is the desire to boost her confidence when playing with new people.

“One of the things for me is that I know I can hit the ball. Some days I go out and I’m like Leona Maguire….who? I am amazing. Other days I could learn a thing or two from Happy Gilmore. I really want to get to a place where I am a little bit more consistent and confident in my ability when I am out on the course,” said Joyce.

“It’s a fabulous social sport because you are not legging around the place, you are not really out of breath. You have time, you are spending hours with people on the course.

“Unsurprisingly I like to talk, I talk for a living so I think it’s a fabulous way to meet people and it’s a gorgeous sport.”

Lorraine Keane, Pamela Joyce and Valerie Wheeler making their first putts at the Golf Ireland Academy.

Rounding out the trio is Spin South West breakfast presenter, Valerie Wheeler. Having a golf professional, Gavin Young, as her boyfriend she knows all eyes will be on her heading to Dromoland.

Wheeler, who is also a sports reporter for The Sunday Game, took part in last year’s Women’s Irish Open Pro-Am but is determined to improve on that showing.

“I hope to feel confident, definitely more than I was last year heading in,” said Wheeler.

“Last year I went to the driving range the night before just to give myself a chance on the day of the Pro-Am. I’d say I will be very nervous but I hope the 12 weeks here with Golf Ireland and my coach will be able to help me out and my nerves.

“Maybe there will be a small bit of pressure on me. I do live with a golf pro who will be my coach for the 12 weeks. I wonder will our relationship still be intact by the end of it? Hopefully it will.”

Their journey, supported by Golf Ireland coaches, special guests and the Golf Ireland Get into Golf App, will lead them to Dromoland Castle for the KPMG Women’s Irish Open Pro-Am at the end of August, demonstrating that golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Golf Ireland invites everyone to follow Keane, Joyce and Wheeler through the six-part YouTube series and by following each of the participant’s own social media channels. The first episode is now available across Golf Ireland’s social and digital platforms, presenting an opportunity for new and existing golfers to join the conversation, learn from the professionals, and enjoy this incredible sport.


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