He might be a grand nephew of the great Cecil Ewing but what gives PGA professional Harry Ewing even more pride is that Waterford Golf Club has just turned a profit for the first time in nine years.
While his great uncle Cecil played out of County Sligo and won 10 West of Ireland Championships, two Irish Amateur Close, two Irish Amateur Opens and made six Walker Cup appearances in the halcyon days of the 30s, 40s and 50s, life in Irish golf clubs has changed utterly since the turn of the century.
While the great RC Ewing was a career amateur. capped 92 times, the PGA professional he knew was a different animal to his modern counterpart.
The modern club pro may now be required to help with marketing and administration as well as carry out regular duties in his shop and on the practice ground.
Like many other Irish clubs, Waterford Golf Club suffered during the recent economic downturn, losing many members and even making its general manager redundant. But life appears to be on the up.
“We have seen it all over the last 12 years through boom and bust,” said Harry, who learned his trade under Andy Gilbert at his home club, Carlow, before moving to Quinta do Lago as Head Professional in 2003.
Eighteen months later he was in Waterford, home to the great Waterford Scratch Cup. But while he’s seen many changes in recent years with the redundancy of the general manager “accelerating” his role at the club, he’s happy to see the club turning the corner at last.
“I am now Director of Golf which effectively means I have taken on 30 percent of his role,” Harry explained. “I am not by any means a general manager, I am still the club professional. But I have more of an administrative role than I did in the past. It gives me a better rounding as an individual and I am more involved in the day to day running of the club, which is no harm at all.
“Some clubs might look on their pros an expense and don’t see much return or value in them but there a lot of younger guys who know they have to be pro-active about getting involved.”
Now with 550 members, a small increase on last year, Waterford is in the black this term and Ewing feels confidence growing at the club.
“We have stopped the negative trend,” he said. “A lot of that was down to restructuring and franchising out the catering, for example, as well as the loss of the general manager’s position.
“Nobody really wants to make the hard decisions and the instability that comes with them but when you have a good year on paper, that increases confidence and tells people the club is on the way back.
“It’s great to see the club turning a corner and all the members rowing in behind it.”
This year saw the celebration of the 60th edition of the famous Waterford Scratch Cup and there are high hopes that Tramore’s Robin Dawson will be back to defend the title over 54 holes with a provisional date of September 9-10 shortly to be confirmed.