Home favourite Gaynor itching to get onto the links at Rosses Point

Mark McGowan

Alan Gaynor gets in some work on the putting green at County Sligo Golf Club

Mark McGowan

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Alan Gaynor is no stranger to West of Ireland weekend, and not just because the Rosses Point-born man grew up a stones’ throw from County Sligo Golf Club. Gaynor played in the West of Ireland Championship on three occasions, making the knockout stages in 2016.

But this week is a little different as Gaynor will take to the club’s Colt Championship Links in the first ever Golf Ireland and ISPS HANDA G4D event held in tandem with the season-opening Irish men’s championship. And alongside Dundalk’s Brendan Lawlor, the reigning G4D Open champion, Gaynor, who won the 2023 Irish Open for Players with a Disability at Roganstown Golf Club, will be the star attraction.

Born without a left hand, through surgical intervention doctors were able to fashion a couple of digits to make the hand semi-functional, and since his father is a devoted golfer and the game is akin to religion in Rosses Point, it was only natural that Alan would give it a go.

“I obviously know no difference,” Gaynor said, “I’ve been playing golf my whole life. So, I mean, it’s not really something that I have let define me or anything like that and it’s the same for anybody who’s playing this week.

“Everybody has their own story, but, you know, it doesn’t hold any of us back. Everybody has their own unique story and everybody has their own way of dealing with this, but it’s just great that we have our own community of golfers now, and we’re all very competitive. The standard is extremely high. I think everybody’s comfortable to discuss their own various disabilities, but nobody lets it define them. We just get on with. We’re all golfers at the end of the day.

“And I suppose, when you’re a kid, you know no difference. You just get on with it. My dad was always a keen golfer and he just decided ‘we’re going to let him try it’ and if he takes it on, great, if not, then no harm giving it a go.

“But obviously from a young age, I loved it, which is the most important thing. And obviously, you know, I’m a half decent player as well, so there’s a bit of talent there, but I obviously worked really hard as a kid at it and once you find your own unique way of gripping the club, you just get on with it.”

An upcoming wedding among other things means that Gaynor is not getting the opportunity to practice as much as he once did, and his handicap that was as low as +3 at one point has now slipped just the other side of scratch, but when he found out that the G4D Trial event was to be staged in his home course on a weekend that is revered above all others at County Sligo, he couldn’t wait.

“We found out ourselves about it maybe six weeks ago,” he admitted, “so obviously, since then, I’ve been really looking forward to it, and I kind of find myself hanging around this weekend, counting down the days until it happens, until we finally get to go out on the Monday morning.”

Gaynor, Lawlor and 10 other contestants will compete over 36 holes of strokeplay on Easter Monday and Tuesday, with the final round taking place between the semi-finals and final of the Connolly Motor Group West of Ireland Championship so the golf-mad locals are guaranteed to have one of their own to support, whatever happens over the matchplay section of the draw.

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