Have you got what it takes to be a trainee professional at Hermitage?

Have you got what it takes to be a trainee professional at Hermitage?
 Hermitage professional Simon Byrne wants to hear from you. Picture:  Pat Cashman

Hermitage professional Simon Byrne wants to hear from you. Picture: Pat Cashman

They may no longer be drawn to the pro's shop by the aroma of shellac and meths, but Ireland continues to give the world top class PGA professionals.

Just ask Hermitage's Simon Byrne, whose love and enthusiasm for his craft is as strong now as it was when he took the first tentative steps into PGA professional's world nearly 35 years ago.

"As you can hear, I really enjoy what I do," he says from his professional's shop at Hermitage Golf Club in Dublin, where he is seeking a new assistant with ambitions to play the game.

"I am looking for someone who is an assistant in training or would like to become an assistant in training.

"Obviously, there would be opportunities for the individual to play as well as learn the trade and the golf business and this will help them on their journey to becoming a pro." 

Byrne (52) has gleaned huge satisfaction from the game since he took those first, tentative steps some 35 years ago.

Now a widely-respected coach, he's already looking forward to the arrival of spring when the juniors will once again be swarming across the range.

The game has changed utterly since he left school and headed off to do his apprenticeship as a humble eight-handicapper under Owen Mulhall in Dun Laoghaire in 1983.

But the job satisfaction is still immense, and he’d love to a take an ambitious young golfer under his wing and help them take their first steps towards a rewarding career satisfying career in professional golf.

“It’s just great to see kids starting off and getting their confidence up and getting their handicap down, representing their club, then their province and then their country,” he says of the joys of the trade, proud of Ireland’s contribution to professional golf worldwide.

"There is a massive amount of knowledge in this country — guys and girls who go off to develop their skills as PGA professionals and work around the world.

 Hermitage Golf Club

Hermitage Golf Club

"We are very hungry for knowledge in golf and we now have so many great PGA professionals trying to help people get back to enjoying the game - guys like Gavin Lunny in Naas, Shane O'Grady in Black Bush, the GUI's National Coach, Neil Manchip, who is a great mentor to so many."

Competitive golfers like Damien McGrane, John Dwyer, Francis Howley and Brendan McGovern have gone on to become model professionals at some of Ireland's biggest clubs while others occupy important jobs in the golf industry worldwide.

A native of Palmerstown in Dublin, Byrne learned the game Hermitage, and when the club's professional Paddy Gunning retired in 1985, Byrne eventually joined his replacement David Daly as an assistant.

He went on to work at clubs around the country, learning every aspect of his trade before returning to Hermitage more than 20 years ago to take over from Ciaran Carroll.

"I have been here since and I just love it," he says with a grin, casting his mind back to the time when he left school and soon realised "golf was what I wanted to do."

He loved to play and wants his new assistant to have ambitions in that area too.

"Great players like Colm Moriarty and Tim Rice are now qualified professionals and growing the game of golf for everyone," says the man whose coached Noel Fox and Stephen Browne when they were top amateurs and now works with players such as international Rowan Lester and two-time Irish Professional champion Niall Kearney.

"A club like Hermitage is probably the best place for a trainee to learn," he says. "It's a profession, it's an industry, and there are many facets to it. Kids who don't make it as players initially should go down this avenue, qualify, and then take their opportunities to play. 

"Those that excel can go on to compete at a higher level again, play some tour events and get an insight into what their possibilities might be.

“It's not easy, but you can go off and play and do well as Damien proved, and Brendan McGovern and John Dwyer, who are now in good jobs and doing well."

The PGA.info website provides information on the minimum academic qualifications required for acceptance into the PGA Training Programme.

But for those who have not yet started, the first step is to call Byrne at Hermitage.

"I am open to having a chat with anyone about it," Byrne says.

To learn more, call Simon Byrne on 087 9090061 or email him at hermitageproshop@yahoo.ie.