Next chapter of McGinley’s career is to make Grange a premier parkland

Ronan MacNamara

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Paul McGinley is determined to bring back elite amateur golf championships to Grange Golf Club, the place where it all began for him.

2024 is a year of unwanted golfing anniversaries. The clock is ticking ever closer to the exact date of Rory McIlroy’s fourth and last major title in 2014, while Martin Kaymer will return to Pinehurst next week, the site of his US Open win ten years ago and still his last professional win.

McGinley’s career has seen him take a different trajectory with the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy for Team Europe at Gleneagles the crowning glory on a career that saw him become a top-20 player in the world.

“I guess one of the things I wanted to do in that Ryder Cup was that I wanted to be the winner, no matter the result. So winning the Ryder Cup was going to be a by-product of what it was going to do. So that’s how I saw myself. going into it,” said McGinley.

“I’d just started doing TV commentary at the time. It looked like a window that was going to open up for me, I was still keen on playing, I had started my golf design business and I was cutting my teeth with that with Joe.

“My career has gone off on a different tangent. I miss playing. I still love to play but I don’t put in the time and effort that you need. I don’t have the focus, I played last week and even though it was a Senior Major my concentration levels were five out of 10. I come in and out of concentration. 

“It’s just so difficult. That’s the problem more than anything, what’s going on in your head (I won’t play Irish Open at RCD). I’m not at that level. If I was practising and playing more I would, yeah, but no.”

McGinley has other things to focus on including helping elevate Grange Golf Club into one of Ireland’s premier parkland venues.

The Dubliner, who grew up playing his golf in the foothills of the mountains at the South Dublin club and credits that upbringing for helping him climb to 18th in the world and play in three Ryder Cups, is working free of charge at the 24-hole venue.

McGinley Golf Design and partner Joe Bedford have already begun their golfing masterplan.

Since 2018 €3.6m has been invested into renovating ten holes on the Love Course which is the original 18 holes designed by James Braid.

McGinley speaks of ‘evolution not revolution’ with his goal to bring the golf course and facilities into the modern day which will include a new practice area of approximately 200 yards to the right of the 7th fairway.

Grange has six par threes, including the first and second, on the original par-68 which McGinley credits to helping him become the best par-3 player statistically in the world in 2005.

The plan for McGinley is to unearth a true championship 18 holes and bring the par up from 68 and attract top class amateur events on a regular basis.

Six academy holes allow the members to play two loops of twelve and two of those holes make up the Sheahan course.

“We have aspirations to be one of the premier inland courses in Ireland and in a few years, I’d be confident we could host the big amateur events here,” said McGinley. The Grange hosted the 2022 Irish Women’s Close which was won by Beth Coulter.

Some of the work carried out already has seen the bunker count reduced already by 15 with the plan to cut the number of bunkers from 87 to 57-60 with the height lowered to a maximum of five feet to give a view of the entire green.

The sixth green has been re-contoured and a new chipping green and new putting zone have been installed while a new bridge gives access from the sixth green to the clubhouse.

Since the changes the average men’s score has increased by almost a shot while the women’s course has been the opposite.

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