The PGA in Ireland Gary Wardlow Memorial was a roaring success last weekend as Spa Golf Club put on a fitting tribute to the memory of their former Head Professional who tragically passed away in November.
Wardlow had joined the club in 2015 following three years with American Golf in Belfast, a role he combined with that of teaching pro at Cliftonville Golf Club in the city. In the subsequent seven years at Spa, he enhanced his reputation as a gifted and innovative coach as well as becoming an integral part of the club.
“Obviously it’s a day nobody wanted but after Gary’s passing the club wanted to do something in memory of Gary and the legacy he left here in Spa and then to support his family in a fundraising effort to raise as much money as we could,” said Chairman of the Organising Committee, Alan Snoddy.
52 PGA Professionals teed it up at Spa in what was an overwhelming outpour of support with the timesheets sold out within an hour when opened back in February. Sponsorship came pouring in to raise funds for Wardlow’s family including some elite golf clubs like Portrush, Portsalon and the K Club who put four balls up for auction.
“It started off quite slowly then we liaised with the PGA, we had 52 professionals in Spa yesterday with two shotgun starts at 9 and 2.30 with 24 fourballs. We had members and guests from the chief sponsor Lowe Corporation. When we opened up the timesheet in Spa back in February the event was sold out in around an hour with club members putting their names down on the sheets.
“We managed to get an enormous amount of sponsorship, we had 40 free fourballs from some of the biggest clubs in Ireland which were either auctioned or balloted during the day to raise funds. Other members and business put prizes in for balloting and we had every tee box and fairway sponsored.
“The whole day was a huge success with everybody’s support.”
Snoddy was proud of the show Spa Golf Club put on and praised the entire club and new club professional Simon Thornton for their incredible support.
“It wasn’t about winning competitions, having competitive golf, the professionals gave up their own time to support us so everyone enjoyed the day and enjoyed the golf even though we had fantastic prizes available thanks to the hugely generous sponsorship and donations.
“The club came together as one to organise an event like this which Spa Golf Club has never seen and let’s hope the next time it does it is for a happier day and not in somebody’s memory. The office staff, green staff, bar, restaurant and volunteers were all pushing together and the day went so smoothly.
“Simon has been fantastic with his support and he was on board straight away. He’s going to be a great fit up here with his reputation and experience he has been superb in difficult circumstances.”
Morning winners: Paddy Orr, Stewart McQueen, Brian McQueen and Brian Blythe. 89PTS
Afternoon winners (reduced to 12 holes due to thunderstorms): Wesley Ramsay, Rodney Lowry, Fergus McIlduff, Ian Lowry. 66PTS