Gillian Burrell has become the first woman to captain the PGA in Ireland.
Recently awarded Advanced Fellow professional status, the 55-year-old Athy native was announced as the successor to Joe Frawley at Monday’s AGM at Roganstown Hotel & Country Club.
“I had ambitions to be a golf professional from early on and always wanted to be a coach,” said Gillian, who played her amateur golf at Athy and Royal Curragh before going on to represent Ireland as a junior.
“The performance aspect of the game was also important to me. I was very lucky to be around at the same time as Mary McKenna, Lillian Behan and Isabella Robertson. I spent a lot of time with those elite players and I guess I was curious about what made a winner.”
Currently based at Carr Golf Centre at Spawell, Gillian began her career as an assistant working for Ciaran Monaghan at the same venue some 27 years ago, progressing to Newlands under Paul Heeney before moving with him to Charlesland.
She moved to Stepaside Driving Range in 2000 and returned to Spawell, in partnership with Carr Golf, six years ago.
Her career includes spells as Training Consultant with Junior Golf Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland and CGI. She also spent several years working with the ILGU as Leinster Coach.
Currently working as a PGA coach and coach educator, she insists that it is still a challenging business environment for PGA professionals.
“I am encouraged to see PGA professionals in other golf-related roles; working as directors of golf, in golf marketing and in golf travel. There are opportunities out there but it does require some thinking outside of the box,” she added.
Unfortunately, a wrist injury will curtail Gillian’s playing opportunities in 2018 but that won't stop her attending events and visiting clubs across Ireland during her term of office.
“I want to promote the work of PGA professionals as I go around the country,” she said.
“I will be trying to push the PGA brand because we have to look at the bigger picture and the many PGA professionals that are succeeding in all sectors of the golf industry.”