Ireland great Arthur Pierse has scrapped his Senior tour dreams to be with his family.

The former Ireland international and Walker Cup player this week decided that he couldn't make the huge sacrifices needed to make it as a professional on the US or European Seniors circuits.

The 50-year ­old from Tipperary thought long and hard about his decision before opting to remain an amateur and watch his four young children grow up.

But Pierse also took the opportunity this week to send a blunt message to Irish amateurs with ambitions of playing on the professional tours around the world ­ wake up, before it's too late.

An Ireland international from 1976 to 1987, Pierse rose to fame in winning the winning the East in 1979, before going on to clinch the West in 1980 and '82 and the North of Ireland title in 1987.

When he turned 50 earlier this year he travelled to the US the pre-qualify for the US Senior Open as an amateur, qualified with ease and then crossed the Atlantic again to make the cut and finish as top European in the American championship.

With a taste for big time seniors golf, Pierse pre-qualified for the Senior British Open in July and played all four rounds alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player at Royal County Down.

"My heart wanted to go to the States but my head told me not to," said the 1982 Walker Cup star of his decision.

"I'm just not prepared to put the commitment into it and spend so much time away from my family, maybe up to six months of the year. I thought about the US and European Seniors tours but in the end I've decided not to go for either."

Pierse first thought about playing in a limited number of events before admitting that it would be impossible to be competitive without playing on a full time basis.

He added: "You would have to be able to dedicate yourself completely to golf and touring and I just wasn't prepared to make that kind of commitment.

"I have two businesses to run and four children between the ages of nine and 15 so it was a choice between golf and family and I have decided to leave the professional game alone."

Instead, Pierse will have the pleasure of playing with his 13-year-old son Arthur Jnr, now a useful eight handicapper.

It's still too early to say if there is another golfing talent in the family, but Pierse is unlikely to encourage his youngster to dive into a professional career if he eventually becomes serious about his golf.

"Far too many young Irish amateurs are going professional when there is a huge failure rate in this professional, higher than any other one I know," he said.

"It's hard to stand there and tell a young lad not to follow his dreams but there are other outlets for good amateurs instead of turning professional. The guys in charge of golf at Stanford University told me that when the players graduate and decide not to turn professional they are snapped up by Wall Street companies and that's what our guys should be doing.

"With only about 300 guys making it on the professional tours between Europe, Asia and the States there are another 3,000 that want to get out there but are going to fail.

"I don't think they realise how good these professional golfers are and these youngsters are going to suffer because many of them have already reached their peak as golfers before they turn professional."

"In my opinion, British or Irish amateurs shouldn't turn professional unless they have reached Walker Cup or Eisenhower Trophy level these days.

"They are playing full time golf from an early age but by the time the turn professional they have already practised for six or seven hours a day and have no more improvement to give."

Young South African amateur Nico Le Grange, a son of 60s star Cobie, was advised against turning professional by his father unless he could break 70 every time on any course.

"I played with the youngster in the Irish strokeplay, two years ago," recalls Pierse. "His father told him that he's starve if he shot four 70s and it's true. These guys are shooting 20 under every week so even if you shoot eight under for four rounds you're going to struggle to make a living."

And while Pierse may have put his professional ambitions to bed and given up on making an impact against full time amateur youngsters in the top domestic events, he's not going to fade away just yet.

"I'm exempt for the Senior British Open next year so I'll play in that and think about pre-qualifying for the US Senior Open again, it was such a wonderful experience."

With every one of Ireland's top amateurs failing to make it through the first stage of the qualifying school in the UK recently, some of them would do well to listen to Pierse and save themselves further pain.

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