Time for the Irish Open to stand alone; Junior Golf camps; Mullingar calling
DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN WINNER SOREN KJELDSEN WITH RORY MCILROY AND THE HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL TROPHY. PICTURE Getty Images

DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN WINNER SOREN KJELDSEN WITH RORY MCILROY AND THE HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL TROPHY. PICTURE Getty Images

All that’s needed is the okay from Dubai Duty Free but we hear from two reliable sources that the Irish Open will be played at The K Club from May 19-22 next year. 

Scarifying of the back tees at Palmer Course has already begun, another little bird informs us and with the 70-room extension to the hotel due to be completed in time, it appears that Dr Michael Smurfit’s parkland gem will once again play host to the best players in Europe.

if that date is confirmed, it would mean sandwiching the Irish Open between The Players at Sawgrass and the BMW PGA at Wentworth in what is an already congested golfing calendar because of August’s Olympics Games in Brazil.

What that means for the field is unclear but while Rory McIlroy will tee it up, as expected, it remains to be seen if he makes as big a commitment to 2016 given the huge demands made on his time this year and the number of favours he now owes a host of big names.

Having already handed the European Tour a sponsor on a plate  — Dubai Duty Free are waiting for the results of their review of Royal County Down before extending their one-year deal —  it’s time for the event to promote itself without putting the burden of responsibility on one of our busiest stars. who already does his bit for Irish golf as world No 1.

It’s the job of Failte Ireland to promote our great golf courses to the wider world, especially considering the importance of golf to the irish and European economies.

According to Sports Marketing Surveys Inc., the golf industry in Great Britain and Ireland contributed c€6.2 billion to the economy of Europe in 2012 at a time when State investment in golf promotion has clearly fallen well below par here

Subsequent studies concluded that England contributed 65% of that €6.2 billion, which means that Ireland, Scotland and Wales contributed €2.2 billion.

Proportionally speaking, Irish golf is edging closer to become a €1 billion industry. Isn’t it time we had an Irish Open that can stand on its own two feet? And if that’s not possible, shouldn’t Failte Ireland be doing everything in their power to push the event?

Darren Clarke at Royal County Down with the winners of the Irish Open Skills Challenge

Darren Clarke at Royal County Down with the winners of the Irish Open Skills Challenge

Junior Golf - Is it accessible enough?

A reader recently asked if the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) was ready to step up its efforts to increase participation in the game by taking a leaf out of the GAA’s book when it comes to summer camps.

The answer is yes, but you’re going to have to be patient. Very patient.

The Kellogg's GAA Cúl Camps have been a great success but there is no equivalent in golf and costs vary wildly from one professional or part of the country to the other, especially if you are not a member of a golf club

Prices of between €70 and €100 for a four day camp are frequent south of the border, whereas in Northern Ireland there appears to be no shortage of golf camps for non-club members for £40-£45 for similar if not longer times.

Soccer and GAA camps are far better value right now, which means that golf is losing ground at a time when parents and children are keen to get involved.

John Roche, the CGI’s Director of Golf and Business Development, is keen to get going but time is marching on.

“Many of the PGA professionals working both in clubs and outside offer summer camps and the Confederation offers them the opportunity to promote these on the activity map on our website, www.cgigolf.org,” Mr Roche writes.

“We are looking at best practise in other countries that promote golf camps from a central body and indeed we are looking at what other sports do in Ireland in this important area. 

“So for 2015 our role is to promote the work of clubs and PGA pros who are offering camps and also to study what else can be done to help push golf in the summer camp market. 

“Our recent [Irish Open] Skills challenge along with our club and school taster days and get into golf programmes have all proven very popular so the development of a summer camp offering with the PGA would seem logical.”

Here are a few of the many many offers. Feel free to add more in the comments section below:

Shane O'Grady Golf Academy Online

SOG Golf Academy online (www.soggolf.com) Designed for parents who have kids starting to play golf and don't know how to get them started. Step by step guides with online video swing checks by Shane O'Grady, coach to world amateur No 1 Leona Maguire.

Chris Jelly, SNAG Golf at Dungannon GC

Monday  29th June - Wednesday 1st July   10:30 am – 12:30 pm! Max of 16 per class
Tuesday 12th August - Thursday 13th August  10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Included in sessions: Chipping and putting; Pitching; Full Shots; Basics of golf swing including grip, aim, posture, backswing, downswing and through swing; Athletic skills and fitness

Cost £40 per child which includes 6 hours coaching from PGA Professional and ILGU and GUI Regional= Coach Chris Jelly. Each child will receive prizes on the last day. Places are limited and will fill up fast so please do not hesitate to ring Chris on 07703724424 or visit www.chrisjellygolf.com 

Killymoon Golf Club - Michael Gallagher

Future Stars Junior Golf Academy Camp's at Killymoon Golf Club are on the following dates and times:

  • Wed 8th to Fri 10th July: 9.30am to 12.30pm
  • Mon 10th to Fri 12th August: 9.30am to 12.30pm

www.mgprogolf.com for more information

Celbridge - Michelle Carroll
Celbridge 4 day golf summer camps are enrolling now. Learning golf through fun games with Michelle Carroll PGA. Dates: July 7-10, July 20-23, August 10-13 and August 18-21, at 10am-1pm Contact Michelle for further information or to book on 0868702284 or michellecarrollpga@gmail.com Cost €95 per child.

Better Golf 

"Better Golf provided hugely successful Junior Summer Camps in 2014, this year we aim to improve the tuition and increase the fun! Suitable to children from 6 - 14 years of age and with or without golfing experience. The Junior Summer Camps are a chance to learn more about golf in a relaxed, safe and fun environment.

"The camps run each week from June 29th - July 3rd until August 24th - August 28th. Each Summer Camp consists of five days (Mon-Fri) with three hours of golf in each day (9am-12pm). Golf clubs, golf balls, water, fruit and snacks are provided each day. Days will be filled with advice, fun games and friendly competition. 

With our highly experienced coaches, each participant will leave with an improved knowledge and golfing game! Costs: 

  • 1 child €125
  • 2 children €225
  • 3 children €330

Email kenny@bettergolf.ie or call 01 505 4040 for more details."

Brendan McDaid Academy - Spawell

Junior Golf Camp at The Spawell Golf Centre, Dublin 28th 29th & 31st July 9.30am - 12.30pm 
3 Hours of fun filled golf tuition for your little McIlroy €60 per child - Book Now Text or Call 087 2436805 e-mail click here - Please have your child bring along a healthy packed lunch. 
 
Three hours of golfing activity per day will have them hungry & better at golf! We will cover long game, short game & putting. I'm sure we will meet a future pro too.
Call or text 087 2436805 or click here to book your child in for these three fun filled days of golf tuition.

 

1996 Mullingar Scratch Trophy winer Peter Lawrie pictured with Brian Reidy (President, Mullingar Golf Club), Peadar Conlon (Sponsor, Mullingar Electrical) and Michael Duffy (Captain Mullingar Golf Club). The 2015 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Cup takes place on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd August. Picture by Pat Cashman

1996 Mullingar Scratch Trophy winer Peter Lawrie pictured with Brian Reidy (President, Mullingar Golf Club), Peadar Conlon (Sponsor, Mullingar Electrical) and Michael Duffy (Captain Mullingar Golf Club). The 2015 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Cup takes place on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd August. Picture by Pat Cashman

Mullingar Scratch Trophy

Few tournaments in Irish golf command as much goodwill as the Mullingar Scratch Trophy which will be played on Sunday August 2nd and Monday 3rd at the famous James Braid track thanks to the largesse of sponsors Mullingar Electrical.

As usual around this time, Mullingar’s indefatigable Albert Lee makes sure that one of the illustrious past winners poses for a picture with the officers of the club to help promote what has become an institution in the Irish game. 

On this occasion, 1996 winner Peter Lawrie and 1991 winner Paul McGinley, did the honours alongside President Brian Reidy, Captain Michael Duffy and Peadar Conlon from sponsors Mullingar Electrical during the recent Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down.

The event is a crucial one for the best amateur golfers in Ireland as the 72 holes stroke play format provides them with a chance to test themselves and escape the frustration of matchplay for a few days.

Thanks to the efforts of men like Albert and Joe Healy before him, players are made to feel especially important. And while it no longer attracts overseas stars in the era of the modern amateur schedule and even finds if tough to get all the top Irish players to tee it up, it retains a special place in the hearts of all the great past winners from Des Smyth, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington to Rory McIlroy.

Paul McGinley, Winner of the 1991 Mullingar Scratch Trophy pictured with Peadar Conlon (Sponsor, Mullingar Electrical), Brian Reidy (President, Mullingar Golf Club) and Michael Duffy (Captain Mullingar Golf Club). The 2015 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Cup takes place on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd August. Picture by Pat Cashman

Paul McGinley, Winner of the 1991 Mullingar Scratch Trophy pictured with Peadar Conlon (Sponsor, Mullingar Electrical), Brian Reidy (President, Mullingar Golf Club) and Michael Duffy (Captain Mullingar Golf Club). The 2015 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Cup takes place on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd August. Picture by Pat Cashman