AFTER over a decade of travelling to Tipperary, PGA Professional David Ryan is back in his native county after taking over the role of Club Professional in East Cork Golf Club.
Although his plans are temporarily on hold as all golfing operations stopped last week as a result of the government restrictions, Ryan is already looking forward to December when he can officially open his new shop.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve been moving stuff down to East Cork from the two shops I had in Cahir Park and Clonmel,” explained Ryan.
“I left both positions as head professional on the 18th of October and started on the 19th of October. It took a few days to get the place sorted and as soon as I did we were in lockdown."
While the shop was due to open last week, David has been giving lessons in East Cork for the past month or so and he’s received a very positive welcome to the club.
“The reaction from the members has been very positive and I’ve gotten lots of good wishes from a lot of them,” said Ryan who last worked in Cork as an assistant to Peter Hickey in Cork Golf Club.
“It helps that I know a few members and that a few of them know me from my time in Cork G.C. or through my wife.
"The last two months have been very busy with lessons in the driving range since it opened and I’ve had people waiting up to three weeks for a lesson it’s that busy.
"Clare Moloney has done a great job in transforming the range and the reaction has been very positive from everyone using the facility.
"With the help of Ambrose Guilfoyle the junior officer we did a cadetship for kids under 10 which proved very successful with up to 16 juniors taking place.
"It’s a club that takes the juniors very seriously and you can see that with the amount of juniors playing golf. It’s unfortunate about the restrictions, we’ll just have to get on with it but hopefully with mounting pressure we might get back that bit earlier.
"Since the lockdown the weather has been fantastic which makes it worse. I could rant on about it forever like every other golfer but I won’t.
"I won’t take the next few weeks off, I’ll be giving the course staff a hand until we open again by doing a few bits and pieces around the place.
"But I won’t be cutting greens or fairways I’ll leave that to the experts!”
Ryan started his PGA training under Liam Burns in Youghal back in 1995.
He was fully qualified by 2000 he’s had a varied career in the past 20 years. He spent time in Cork, Hermitage and Co Cavan before getting the change of a head professional role in Cahir Park.
While managing Cahir he also regularly featured in the PGA Irish Region events, winning a host of pro-ams and climbing the order of merit.
Two years ago he took on the shop in Clonmel Golf Club, adding to the weekly mileage as he travelled from Cork each day.
Despite the long journeys Ryan has happy memories of his time in Tipperary.
“I spent 14 plus years in Cahir Park and had a great time up there making lots of friends on the way. I’ll always have a place in my heart for Cahir as they gave me my first position as Head Professional and will always be grateful to them for that.
"I’ll certainly miss the crack with the members and staff but I won’t miss the 40 minute drive up.”
While Ryan is currently focused on coaching and the retail side of the business, he has had a very successful stint as a player on the Irish PGA tour.
He admits through that the playing bug came late.
“I didn’t have too much interest in playing to be honest I wanted to learn more about retail. I didn’t play in too many events starting off but I won the Irish Assistants in 2001 and got an invite to play in every pro-am the following year.
"I remember asking Peter Hickey about it and in fairness he said play as many as you can. He gave me plenty of time off to play in them for which I was very grateful at the time.
"I took advantage and played a lot and finished 14th in the order of merit. After that year I kept playing full time and have always finished in the top twenty in the order of merit bar one year.”
While many young golfers now look to the tour as their opportunity to play, you can tell that David is happy with his decision to take the PGA route.
“Being a PGA professional has been very good to me over the last 25 years. I’ve met some great people and made some great friends and also met my wife Claire through golf (she’s the golfer in the family, as I always say I’m just a retailer who plays golf).
"I’ve won plenty of pro ams over the years and also some pro only events and finished second in the order of merit in 2012.
"I’ve played a few Irish opens and represented the Irish PGA three times in the European Championships.”