Who doesn’t need a mentor? Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi, Plato had Socrates and Tom Watson had Byron Nelson. Even Young Tom Morris had Old Tom to rely on for encouragement and advice.
Given the wealth of talent that has flown the flag for Ireland on the European Tour for decades, the time has come for the established tour gunslingers and the ambitious young guns to come together on the regular basis for the benefit of Irish professional golf.
And with little top class winter golf available to our touring pros these days, a new alliance is taking shape with the first shootout set for the Montgomerie Course at Carton House from 11 am next Tuesday,
Numbers have yet to be finalised but the plan is to have the best 12 top available tour professionals — made up from the irish in the European Tour, Challenge Tour and mini tour ranks — to put up €100 each for a winner-takes-all shootout over 18 holes.
European Tour winner Damien McGrane is fielding applications for places in next Tuesday’s field via email with a new venue selected each week.
So if you are a mini tour professional with €100 to spare and you’re looking for a game, the chance to win some cash and improve as a player, drop the 2008 Volvo China Open winner an email at email@example.com
What could the likes of a Paul Dunne, a Reeve Whitson, a Simon Ward, a Richard Bridges or a Rory McNamara not learn from taking on an experienced campaigner like McGrane or another tour player during the occasional week off in winter?
“We are all golf pros and we all love the game of golf but I don’t know them and they don’t know me,” Damien explains. “So let’s get together, let’s play golf, have dinner afterwards and have a chat and maybe we can make something happen.
“The players of the future need to be helped and clapped on the back. They need to see they are possibly better players than some of us that are out there at the moment. It will give them a bit of encouragement and incentive to improve, take advice and possibly get on the tour a little bit quicker.
“If there are just 12 places available any given week, and no offence to anybody, I want the best 12 players possible taking part that week but it won’t be 12 mini tour players or 12 tour pros or 12 PGA pros. It will be the best cross-section.
“I just want to the guys to get in touch by email and if we have space, we will get them all out. I don’t need 12 tour players, or 12 mini tour players or 12 PGA pros. I need the best cross-section of people that can learn from each other every week.”