THE opening months of 2021 have been very strange for anybody who loves the walk from tee to green.
The all year round golfer has been confined to either their armchair or a leisurely local stroll but from Monday on all is about to change.
“It’s been such a strange feeling over the past 12 months,” says Liam Burns, who has been Youghal Golf Club’s professional since 1993.
“At first there was the novel factor - being able to spend so much time at home, especially at the weekends.
“Then, it was so exciting after the first lockdown when we got back and to see Youghal was in so much demand as a golf course.
We had about 150 new members and had many previous members returning.
“Then the second lockdown came, followed by the current one which has been particularly long.
“Thus, I am really looking forward to getting back on Monday and meeting everybody at the club again.”
Returning to something resembling normality will take some time in all sporting circles, but golfers will relish the opportunity to perch themselves overlooking Youghal town and enjoy the spectacular sea views, even though the timesheet will be tighter.
“As we know it will be just all two-balls for a while and our emphasis will be very much on looking after our members.
“Since our renewal date last October, members have been able to play for only seven weeks, so there is obviously going to be great interest. We tried to help them by introducing a special 15-month offer last year.
“We are now coming to the point of looking at the overall total and considering if we already actually have enough members.
“Looking ahead it will be much further down the road before competitions and classics come into being.
“The main thing is that people will be playing golf again from Monday.”
Golf instantly became a way of life for Liam in his teens. Paddy O’Boyle became the man responsible for charting his career, as he started working in the Pro Shop in Bandon on completion of his Leaving Cert and from there, his pathway was paved.
By summer’s end of 1988, Liam’s handicap was down to 5. By the time he qualified in 1993, a vacancy had arisen at Youghal GC and the rest is history. In his years of unbroken service, the west Cork native has been a shining beacon for the seaside club, helping the committee, assisting in organising competitions, running summer camps, offering coaching and of course managing the Pro Shop have all been wrapped into a day’s work.
As he starts year 28 on Monday Liam Burns is as enthusiastic as ever. Youghal Golf Club members know they are lucky to have him as their professional.