Harrington and Lowry in DDF Irish Open field but McDowell opts out to defend PGA Tour title

September 13, 2020


Padraig Harrington will make his first competitive appearance in nearly seven months when the three-time Major winner targets a second victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club from September 24-27.
The 49-year-old was due to be captaining the European Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits but instead he will join fellow major champion Shane Lowry, in the field at Galgorm.
Harrington last played on the European Tour at January’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, while his last competitive appearance came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, before the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed his season.
“I’m really looking forward to returning to competitive golf at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” said Harrington.
“It’s obviously a tournament which holds a very special place in my heart and I guess it’s a nice coincidence that it falls on the week that was originally scheduled for The 2020 Ryder Cup.

“It has been a long time off for me so I’m not sure what to expect, especially without the home fans who always spur me on, but I’m excited to get the competitive juices flowing again and hopefully put on a good performance for all the viewers watching on television.”

Lowry will be making his first appearance on the European Tour – outside of the WGC-Mexico Championship, WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational and US PGA Championship – since February, when he claimed a top 15 finish at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisors.
The Offaly player’s Open victory last year was his fifth European Tour title and came six months after he had broken a five-year winning duck at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, sealing his first Rolex Series title.
“While it’s been extremely challenging for all players to plan their global tournament schedules this season, I wanted to do everything possible to get home to play the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and I’m delighted that I’ve been able to commit to this year’s tournament given the circumstances,” said Lowry.
“Obviously I was really looking forward to playing in front of our home fans as the Open Champion this year, which would have been really special, but sadly it’s not to be.

“I’m sure everyone will be supporting from home and watching the event on TV, so hopefully I can put in a good performance at Galgorm Castle and give the Irish fans something to shout about. I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Irish Open already and I would dearly love to win it again.”

Unfortunately, Graeme McDowell, who had originally agreed to act as tournament host in 2020, will not be in the field at Galgorm having opted instead to defend the Corales Punta Cana Resort and Club Championship title in the Dominican Republic.
“Defending a title is something special and an honour I have tried to take seriously all my career,” said McDowell in a statement posted in social media.
“Under normal circumstances defending this event would not take priority over playing my home Open, but the unprecedented circumstances make this a better option at this time.

“We will hopefully be back in 2021, with the event at full strength, surrounded by great Irish fans, assuming we can put the issues caused by Covid behind us.”

It will be the fourth time in nine years that Northern Ireland hosts the historic event, and the first time it will be played at Galgorm Castle. The Antrim venue has played host to successful Challenge Tour events for each of the past eight years, the most recent of which took place last week.
In 2012, Northern Ireland hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time in 59 years at Royal Portrush. Royal County Down went on to welcome the event for the first time in 2015, while Portstewart Golf Club hosted in 2017.

Irish Open entry list

Thornton claims third Irish PGA crown courtesy of play-off success

September 5, 2020

Simon Thornton receives the Irish PGA Championship trophy from Roganstown GM, Ian McGuiinness (left)

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) birdied the first extra hole to edge out Colm Moriarty (Glasson GC) and claim the 110th Irish PGA Championship title at Roganstown Hotel & CC.
The Newcastle based professional holed a putt from around 30 feet at the par-four first to claim his third Irish PGA Championship crown (previous wins 2018 & 2011).
“My approach flew the green and finished on the fringe. I wasn’t sure how the lie was going to be but it wasn’t too bad to be fair,” said Simon.
“I decided to putt it. It was downhill, left to right. Eight-foot out I knew it was going to be pretty good and six feet out I knew it was in all the way. It was a great feeling.”
The tournament was reduced to 36 holes after heavy rain prevented any play on day two at the Co. Dublin venue. Thornton started Thursday’s final 18 holes two shots behind the round one leaders, Moriarty and Shane Jenkinson (St Margaret’s G&CC) after opening his campaign with a one-under-par 70.

In blustery conditions, he failed to get anything going over his opening nine holes, ticking off nine consecutive pars before picking up his opening birdie of the day at the par-five 10th.
A dropped shot at the par-four 16th threatened to derail his challenge but a closing birdie at the par-five 18th saw him top the leaderboard alongside Moriarty who closed with a second-round 72 (+2).
“I didn’t get up and down from the front of the green at 16 and that was silly,” added Simon.
“I knew walking up 17 that no-one was ripping it up so I just focused on getting a birdie on the last.
“That was really all I could do and then whatever happened after that well, so be it.
“I hit a drive and three wood to leave myself with 67 yards. That’s a nice number for me. I hit it to three feet for the birdie that ultimately got me into the play-off.”
And he continued; “It doesn’t matter what it is for. When you are chasing a win in a play-off, you get those same feelings standing on the tee. Your heart is racing.
“I’m sure Colm was feeling exactly the same. I’m delighted with the win.”
Eoin O’Brien (Clontarf GC) finished third on one under par with Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny GC) and Neil O’Briain (Old Conna GC) sharing fourth on level par.

110th Irish PGA Championship leaderboard

NI Open return a welcome opportunity for players starved of competition

August 30, 2020

Picture courtesy of Kevin Markham Photography

In a Covid-19 dominated world, the return of the NI Open this week at Galgorm Castle is a very welcome sight for many of Ireland’s young professionals.
The last formal event on the Challenge Tour schedule was the Euram Bank Open in Austria which finished on July 18th. With so few opportunities to play, the NI Open has taken on added professional, financial and personal significance for many.
Tournament Ambassador and five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey is ‘looking forward to getting back to work’ after such a long lay-off and for the chance to compete on home soil.
“It has been a massive few weeks for Galgorm recently, so much has happened in a short time,” said Hoey, who has also won four times on the European Challenge Tour in a professional career that started out in 2002.

The NI Golf Channel · Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2020 & Northern Ireland Open Galgorm Preview Special

The tournament is being supported by The R&A COVID-19 Support Fund, a £7million package to help golf deal with the impact of the global pandemic. The R&A’s Fund is providing an additional £300,000 in support of the Challenge Tour in 2020 on top of its existing annual grant.
Michael added; “We must give special thanks to The R&A and other key partners who have made it possible for the Northern Ireland Open to take place. The R&A provided additional funding for this event and support so many other events too. It demonstrates how important The Open is and how The R&A is able to support events and help grow the game.”
The tournament will be subject to stringent safety and medical protocols set out in the Challenge Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy and will proceed subject to Government and health guidelines at the time of the event.
That means the event infrastructure has been pared right down to the bare bones. There will be no grandstands, no spectators and the competitors will have to cope without the help and support of a trusted caddy.
“I have done it before but it is unusual,” added Michael.
“It’s good, everyone will have to carry their own bag and do their own yardages. Some people will play better and unfortunately, some will struggle.”
For everyone at Galgorm Castle, the NI Open is the start of a golden three weeks which will culminate in the venue hosting the DDF Irish Open from Sept 25-27th.
“The Irish Open came about at very short notice as a result of the Coronavirus situation, quarantine, etc down south,” said Galgorm’s Director of Golf, Ross Oliver.
“We are absolutely delighted to have the honour of hosting the Irish Open and after staging professional tournaments for the last decade, it’s a fantastic reward for everyone here at Galgorm.

“We’ve sort of served our apprenticeship. We’ve delivered tournaments year after year and we have a great relationship with the European Tour and the players and officials really enjoy the venue. I think we have earned it and we’re delighted to get the opportunity.”

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy is currently one of 17 Irish players who will compete at the NI Open.
“I’m really looking forward to competing at Galgorm. I’m also delighted for everyone there,” he said.
“To also have the Irish Open there is sensational news, not just for Galgorm but for the area. I know everyone needs to be careful at the moment, but it promises to be a sensational week.”
Also lining up is amateur Tom McKibbin (Holywood GC) fresh from playing in the Amateur Championship, John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead GC), and Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan.
European Tour Productions will have daily highlights programmes of the NI Open through www.europeantour.com and the tournament website http://www.niopen.golf.
Tournament highlights will also be shown on Sky Sports with daily updates via the local media.

Kernaghan bags Nuremore Irish PGA Assistants’ Championship crown

August 24, 2020

Nathan Kernaghan (right) with Nuremore professional, Maurice Cassidy

Massereene’s Nathan Kernaghan battled tough weather conditions to claim the rain-affected Nuremore Irish PGA Assistants’ Championship title.
In doing so the 21-year-old added his name to a list of former winners that includes David Feherty, Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton and Michael McGeady.
“I brought one of the club’s Senior Cup men, Ryan McCullough, with me to the pro-am because I wanted to see how he would play the course,” said Nathan,
“I have played in this event for a couple of years and made a bit of a mess of it to be honest.
“I wanted to see how he would play and how he would navigate it.

“I got plenty of tips out him and the odd slap on the wrist for hitting drivers at certain holes.”

Kernaghan posted opening rounds of 70/73 (-1) to lead by four at the close of play on day one.
Torrential overnight rain at the Co Monaghan venue forced tournament officials to reduce round three to 16 holes and Nathan extended his lead to five shots.
When further rain made fourth-round play impossible, Nathan was crowned champion with James McVicker finishing in second place.
He added; “The conditions for the morning round on day one weren’t too bad.
“I got the best of the weather and I knew that I had to take advantage because conditions in the afternoon were going to be very tough.
“Once we got to hole 11/12 it started to get pretty scruffy. Like everyone else, I was just trying to crawl over the line and get into the clubhouse without causing any real damage to my score.
“When the third round was reduced to 16 holes I saw that as a positive. It played into my hands even more because there were fewer holes for people to try and catch me.”
Nathan has recently finished his training and hopes to embark on a teaching career once qualified.
“I left school early to go this route,” he added.
“This win will hopefully give me a bit of impetus to get out and compete a bit more.
“I’m already looking forward to the Irish Championship at the end of the month.”

Freewheeling Thornton eases to Carne Links success

August 18, 2020

Simon Thornton

Freewheeling Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) eased to an eight-shot success at the 36-hole Vermilion Energy Carne Pro-Am.
The Newcastle based professional posted rounds of 66 (-6) and 68 (-4) to streak away from the field, finishing on 10 under par.
Colm Moriarty (Glasson Golf Club), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) finished tied for second on two-under-par.
“It’s a good score. The weather was perfect and we probably got the best of the draw,” said Simon.
“The wind blew a bit yesterday (Saturday) afternoon but I don’t think it blew so much today (Sunday) but you still have to go out and play the golf.

“I really didn’t make many mistakes bar a couple today which cost me a pair of bogeys.”
Tournament organisers introduced the Kilmore nine to tournament play for the first time on Sunday with the lay-out getting rave reviews.
“It’s spectacular, some of the holes are fantastic and I’m sure it will mature and develop over the next couple of years,” added Simon.
“What a piece of ground they have. You look around and can picture other golf holes meandering through the dunes.”
Brendan Walton (Portmarnock Links) and amateur partners Sean Gaughran, Michael Gaughran, and James Maguire claimed the team prize with a two-round score of 185 (96/89).
Simon continued; “I have to be honest, I haven’t been practicing. I have hit a few balls once or twice a week just to keep swinging the golf club.
“And do you know what, when I tee it up at the minute I am really enjoying it. My mind is much freer and I’m just standing up and hitting the shot in hand.
“This year, because of Covid and stuff there is not so much riding on events in terms of Order of Merit and that sort of thing. It’s all about enjoying the golf and getting back out and playing again.”

GUI COVID guidance hits Sugrue Amateur title defence but McKibbin ready to play

August 6, 2020

Tom McKibbin

Covid-19 is playing havoc with elite amateur golf.
The latest guidance from the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) has seemingly ended James Sugrue’s hopes of defending his British Amateur Championship title later this month at Birkdale.

In a statement issued today (August 6) the GUI announced: “Following the Irish Government’s decision on Tuesday 4th August to continue with the current public health measures, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland.”

The GUI has recommended that any player from the Republic of Ireland who has entered the Brabazon Trophy 18-21 August; The Amateur Championship 25-30 August and the European Amateur Championship (Individual) 2-5 September now withdraw in accordance with this advice.
Conversely, Sugrue’s Irish teammate, Tom McKibbin, who was denied a chance to play in the US Amateur Championship by US Covid regulations, is currently free to play at Birkdale and has indicated his intention to do so.
However, if the Holywood golfer does play in the Amateur, he will not be allowed to play golf anywhere in Republic of Ireland for a fortnight after his return.

The GUI statement continued: “Players from Northern Ireland are not subject to any current public health restrictions on travel for any of these events, with both Great Britain and France exempted from quarantine requirements by public health officials in Northern Ireland.
“However, should players plan to travel, they must consult in full the Executive’s advice on overseas travel here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-travel
“Furthermore, in accordance with the advice we have received from Sport Ireland, any players from Northern Ireland who choose to travel for any or all of these events must not play golf in the Republic of Ireland within 14 days of their return to the island of Ireland – irrespective of their point of entry.”

The GUI has also withdrawn teams from participation in the European Young Masters; European Seniors Team Championship and the European Amateur Team Championship. A decision on participation in the European Boys Team Championship, due to be played in Spain on 19-22 October, has been left to a later date.

Last month the ILGU made the decision to withdraw competitors from the European Team Championships (Women’s, Girls’ and Senior Women’s) and the European Young Masters due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The ILGU High Performance, Horizon, U16 and Funded Performance panellists are playing in a series of domestic and club events during August which got underway today at Seapoint GC won by Lauren Walsh.

That series was supposed to finish on August 25th-29th with a number of Ireland’s leading players competing in the Women’s Amateur Championship at West Lancashire but surely the same restrictions will now hamper the plans of Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) and Aine Donegan (Lahinch) who had entered the event?

NI Open returns to Challenge Tour schedule at Galgorm Castle with R&A support

July 18, 2020

Five-time European Tour and three-time Challenge Tour winner Michael Hoey competing in the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort
PressEye

The NI Open is back on the Challenge Tour rota.
Last played in 2018, when it was won by Scotland’s Calum Hill, The Northern Ireland Open supported by The R&A  will return to Galgorm Castle from September 3-6.
The event will have a €200,000 prize fund and will be the first of two back to back events in Ireland, with the Irish Challenge following on September 10-13 at a venue to be confirmed.
The tournament will be supported by The R&A COVID-19 Support Fund, a £7million package to help golf deal with the impact of the global pandemic.
The event will be subject to stringent safety and medical protocols set out in the Challenge Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy and will proceed subject to Government and health guidelines at the time of the event.
In recent years, tour events at Galgorm Castle have embraced a festival atmosphere including live music, a tented village and corporate hospitality. Given current Covid-19 related restrictions, this year’s version of the NI Open is likely to be a much more basic affair.
Gary Henry, Managing Director Galgorm Castle, said: “We are delighted that golf is returning to Galgorm Castle and Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Open supported by The R&A is a real positive for the area.
“We are operating within stringent government guidelines for an event that will help kickstart the tourism economy and generate significant bed nights and spend by bringing players, staff and media to the local area.
“TV coverage of the event will enhance the message that Mid & East Antrim and Northern Ireland is open for business.”
Leanne Rice, Tourism NI’s Marketing Manager, commented: “We are delighted to support the Northern Ireland Open this year which will take place at Galgorm Castle.

“Bringing a European Challenge Tour event to Northern Ireland is a fantastic opportunity for our economy and tourism industry as it starts to recover.

“The tournament will deliver significant economic benefits while providing international exposure for Northern Ireland as a premium golf destination. Our golf clubs and wider sector have been significantly affected by the pandemic and we are delighted that participants will get to enjoy our fantastic golf product, with the appropriate health and safety guidelines in place.”
There will be no formal graduation from the Challenge Tour onto the European Tour this year but events like the NI Open and the Irish Challenge will provide vital playing opportunities for Ireland’s up and coming professionals.
Kevin Barker, Director of Golf Development at The R&A, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the Challenge Tour in running this event and to help to provide the players with another opportunity to compete in what has been such a difficult period for them.
“Through The R&A Support Fund we are trying to provide assistance at all levels of the game from grassroots through elite amateur golf and on to emerging professionals.
“Following the huge success of The Open at Royal Portrush last year we are also excited to see this important championship being played at Galgorm Castle, another of Northern Ireland’s outstanding venues.”

Stephanie Meadow signs on as Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort Touring Professional

July 3, 2020

LPGA Tour player, Stephanie Meadow, has signed on as the new Touring Professional for Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort.

The Jordanstown native, one of Ireland’s leading professionals, has been making her mark on the global stage since moving to the United States with family when she was 13 to pursue her dream of becoming a professional golfer.

“I am absolutely delighted to be partnering with Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort. After staying a few times last year, it is easily one of my favourite places in the world,” said the 28-year-old, who is currently based in Arizona in the United States.

“Not many people get the opportunity to represent one of their favourite places in their home country on a world stage. It is the perfect place to stay when visiting Northern Ireland. Thank you to Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort for believing and supporting me.”

One of Meadow’s reasons for returning to Northern Ireland in 2019 was to compete in the brand new ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, played at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort and Massereene Golf Club.

She won the event in fine style, holding off England’s Charley Hull down the stretch to seal an emotional victory.

“It was fantastic to win at home, especially at Galgorm,” Meadow said after her 2019 win.

“I was inspired by Shane (Lowry) winning The Open at Royal Portrush. I just wanted to show fans at home just how good I am because I hadn’t competed in Ireland since turning professional.”

Colin Johnston, Managing Director Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, said: “Stephanie is a talented professional who demonstrates real commitment and application to achieving success and we are thrilled to have Stephanie as our Touring Professional.

“Her profile in the women’s game in the United States and competing around the world gives us an incredible opportunity to showcase The Resort and place Northern Ireland on the worldwide stage. We look forward to working closely with Stephanie and wish her every success on the course when things return to normality.”

Stephanie enjoyed a stellar amateur career at Alabama University before joining the paid ranks in 2014 making a sensational professional debut by finishing third in the 2014 US Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

She also won the 2018 IOA Championship on the US Symetra Tour and cites representing Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as one of the highlights of her career so far.

“It has been a challenging year for everyone. We are hoping to get back playing by the end of the month. Our schedule is pretty packed until December and cannot I wait to get going and get back to some sort of normality,” added Meadow, who despite the Covid-19 pandemic got engaged to fiancé Kyle in recent months.

Gary Henry, Managing Director, Galgorm Castle Estates, said: “Although Stephanie spends most her time in the States, she continues to help grow the game closer to home as an ambassador for the 20×20 initiative to raise the profile of women in sport. Stephanie has long been an inspiration for young golfers here in Ireland.”

“We are delighted to have this new agreement with Stephanie and we wish her every success as the new Touring Professional of Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort.”

Back from the dead – the golf club membership

June 16, 2020

Kirkistown Castle GC has seen huge demand for membership

The humble golf club membership is back from the dead.
So long pilloried and derided, clubs are suddenly finding their timesheets full to capacity again.
A number of NI clubs have picked up in excess of 100 members in the period since golf got the go-ahead to return in mid-May.
And while some clubs have offered very attractive deals to get punters to sign up, that’s definitely not been the case across the board.
“Within the first week of opening again, we had received over 80 applications for membership,” said the Kirkistown Castle GM, Tracey McDowell.
“To date, we have welcomed over 100 members ranging from the young to the ‘young at heart’.

“Our golf professional team has also been extremely busy with new lesson packages and coaching for new members, obviously adhering to the social distancing protocols. We have been blown away by the interest.”

When the NI Executive and the Irish Government gave golf the go-ahead to return, the stipulation that it was ‘members only’ immediately put real value back on membership.
For the last month, golf has been the only show in town and it just happened to coincide with some sparkling weather.
If you play team sports you have been left kicking your heels and golf has provided that competitive outlet and if you are furloughed you might as well get out into the fresh air and play some golf rather than sit around the house all day.
In fact, between the imposed wider tee-time gaps and the extra bodies, some clubs are having to ration the number of rounds people can play in a week.
The financial boost will have been a god-send for many clubs who were looking at a very bleak picture in mid-March as Covid lockdown took a firm grip.
It is however naive to think that an influx of new members will somehow fill club coffers. It’s a sticking plaster. Clubs are still rationalising, they are furloughing staff.
There has been no society golf, no Open Weeks full of visitors and the bars and restaurants remain closed.
As yet, Ireland’s governing bodies have not followed in the footsteps of their Welsh and Scottish counterparts by offering any refund on affiliation fees. 
Clubs have been granted some breathing space and the task now is to somehow convert these new recruits into long-term members.

There has never been a more important time for members to support their clubs

May 4, 2020

Concra Wood GC

If you’re a golfer, the last few weeks have been a kind of torture.
A long wet winter that curtailed opportunities to play has been replaced by beautiful spring sunshine.
It’s perfect golfing weather but instead of being on the course, golfers have rightly been sat at home along with everyone else.
Now, with May 18th signalling a tentative restart to activity, the bigger question remains if clubs can survive the impact that social distancing will have on the industry as a whole.
“There has never been a more important period for members to support their clubs,” said Concra Wood Head Professional, Conor McKenna.
“The lockdown could not have come at a more damaging time of the year for clubs just as many members would traditionally have paid their fees for the next 12 months.
“Understandably, with all the disruption and uncertainty over the future and worries over work and money, many existing club members will have opted to hold off on those payments.
“With club bars and restaurants closed and unlikely to be reopened in the short term, clubs will be relying heavily on those membership fees to see them through the bumpy financial road that lines ahead.”
Modern golf clubs are much more than simply places for sport and recreation. They reach across into the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors in an effort to stay afloat.
In the ‘business’ of running a golf club, membership fees alone will rarely generate enough revenue to maintain a financially viable operation.
Most golf clubs rely on a greater or lesser extent to takings from restaurant and bar operations. Those funds are topped up by casual green fees, society bookings and corporate outings.

Conor McKenna (Head Professional Concra Wood GC), with the late Christy O’Connor Jnr

A club like Concra Wood, will welcome thousands of golfing visitors every year who spend money in the pro shop and buy food and drink in the bar and restaurant.
In the height of the summer, Concra Wood will provide work for upwards of 35 people but it only takes a couple of those revenue streams to be taken away for a club to find itself under severe financial pressure. That, unfortunately, is now the situation currently facing clubs right across Ireland.
“I know people are really missing their weekly fix of golf. You only have to look at the reaction to some of the club’s recent social media posts but it already feels like this year is going to be a bit of a wipeout in terms of competitive golf,” added Conor.
“All the ILGU and GUI inter-club events are currently postponed. Fingers crossed we might see some of those played before the end of the year.

“Looking long-term, this should have been the year to attract youngsters to the game on the back of Shane Lowry’s brilliant win at The Open last July. We obviously had to cancel our Easter Coaching Camp, and as long as social distancing remains in place, we won’t be able to do any group coaching for juniors which is very disappointing.”

Golf’s governing bodies are working on a new set of protocols for clubs in a COVID-19 world but getting some type of support from government could be the key to survival.
“The uncertainty isn’t helping either,” said Kevin McGivern, the professional at Mannan Castle GC.
“It’s very much unknown territory for everyone but I really feel the impact of the Coronavirus could turn out to be more significant than the financial crisis a decade or so ago.
“Look at the weather we have had in the last five weeks. That is revenue that clubs across Ireland have lost in terms of green fees, classics, societies and things like that.
“People also have to remember that the greens staff have been working away and they still have to be paid. Obviously, there is support available from the government but machines have to be maintained. You can’t just leave the course alone at this time of the year, it would be overgrown in no-time.”
Kevin, like Conor, is anticipating a much different golfing environment when restrictions finally do get lifted. The traditional four-ball of mates out playing for a few euro on a Saturday could be some months away.
He continued;  “It’s going to be a strange season but there might actually be some opportunities for golf. Team sports are likely to be curtailed for a longer period. If you’re looking for some competitive sport, golf could be the perfect outlet. Now, all we need is for some good weather in the middle of the summer.”