Busy time for Fred Twomey in Muskerry Golf Club

'We’ve been up the walls, and it’s a great problem to have...'
Busy time for Fred Twomey in Muskerry Golf Club

Fred Twomey with a welcoming smile at the Pro Shop in Muskerry Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

IT WAS far from a quiet start to the day in Muskerry on Monday. 

Even though it was a bank holiday, the car park was busy and the timesheet was full. The outdoor dining area was ready to reopen and, in the pro shop, Fred Twomey was busy behind the counter. 

From filling out cards to booking in golfers and lessons, it’s all in a day’s work for the popular PGA club professional.

After the lockdown closure of five months, Fred is busy, but he’s delighted to be back.

“We’ve been up the walls, and it’s a great problem to have,” said Fred. “After five months of no golf, it’s great to have everyone back. Between lessons and the shop, it’s been non-stop. Members have been very happy with the course.

The team have done a great job on the course; it’s fabulous and the greens are in great condition. I’ve been up the walls with lessons. I have two working here in the shop with me to allow me to get out and teach.”

Along with the shop and the lessons, Fred has also been planning to develop more practice facilities, which will be a huge boost to the membership. Having opened a performance studio at the range in Muskerry in 2018, the club now has a wedge area and a short-game area close to completion.

At the end of last year, Fred finished up as GUI provincial coach after almost 20 years. Fred was involved with several generations of young golfers, including some who have gone on to the pro ranks.

Cian McNamara, Gary Hurley, Kevin Phelan, James Sugrue, John Murphy, and Seamus Power all came through the Munster programme, and over 50 golfers went on to represent Ireland.

As well as working with the boys and senior Munster interprovincial teams, the Muskerry professional has a great record in the men’s and boys’ inter-club competitions. Fred is one of the best teaching professionals in the country, working with beginners, high handicappers, and elite amateurs.

In his role with Munster and Ireland, he has worked with the best amateurs in the country, but his work with the Muskerry teams has helped the club to secure 10 provincial pennants and four national titles.

The Twomey family has strong links with Muskerry. In addition to being a member of the club as a junior and as an amateur, Fred also completed his PGA training in Muskerry, under Martin Lehane, in 1990, and he qualified as a PGA professional in 1995. For 20 years as a pro, he focused on teaching and coaching and, three years ago, he took over as club professional, when Martin retired.

Muskerry Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Muskerry Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

Now, Fred Twomey is driving on the development of the practice facilities in Muskerry for the next generation of golfers to improve their game. Over the last few months, Twomey has been busy developing an academy in the club.

He is upgrading his Trackman studio in the proshop, and he also has the long-game range, as well as a new wedge and short-game area that’s nearly ready for play. The improved and expanded practice facilities will be a boost for Fred and for the enlarged membership of Muskerry. As well as increasing the membership last year, as soon as golf resumed, the club has also been busy developing its junior section.

EXPERIENCE

With 20 years’ experience, the Muskerry junior sections will benefit from Twomey’s approach. Thanks to a strong commitment from the club and a passionate group of junior officers, Muskerry has moved ahead with its junior golf programme.

“We have over 150 juniors in the club,” Fred said. “One of the great things is equality between girls and boys. The statistic in Munster is that in most clubs, there are roughly five boys for every one girl. That’s around the same here in Muskerry, but the club has done great work for the past two or three years to grow the number of girls playing. There’s just not enough of girls playing the game, so we’ll keep working to look after the current members and grow that number.”

Martin Lehane with Fred Twomey on Martin's final day as Club Professional in Muskerry.
Martin Lehane with Fred Twomey on Martin's final day as Club Professional in Muskerry.

Like many clubs, Muskerry used the five months to complete several important projects. The course was a busy place over the lockdown: Extensive tree-management took place around the 10th-15th holes, and bunker work was completed on the 10th and a new back tee was developed on the 15th.

And feedback from the members was positive, once the course reopened at the end of April.

Muskerry recently advertised for a head greenkeeper, taking over from course superintendent, Michael Buckley, who is retiring. The role is an attractive one, heading up the operations and planning for the Alister MacKenzie-designed course.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to ensure the strong Muskerry reputation is maintained and enhanced into the future.

While members continue to have priority with exclusive times and competitions, open golf is back in the calendar in Muskerry, with the return of the O’Crualaoi Open singles every Tuesday. Dates are also in the calendar for the popular scratch cups and the famous Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy will also take place later in the year.

The Bruen Youths will also feature later in the summer, with the club keen to continue their links with the great Jimmy Bruen, who played for the club.

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