JACK HOWARD is hoping for a fast start to 2022.
The PGA Professional has travelled to the US and has a schedule of professional and open events planned for the next three months.
First up he’s entered into two Monday Qualifier’s and two mini tour events in a busy January, and there are plenty more tournaments on the East Coast giving the Cork man a choice of where and when he wants to play.
“Overall it’s five or six a month. I’ve two Monday qualifiers coming up this month, the first is on the 10th and there’s two other one day events on the 17th and 24th and then there’s another Korn Ferry on the 31st.
"That’s the first four and I’ll look to play in another one or two events as well.”
The pair have plans to AirBnB around Florida for the first two months before heading up to South Carolina in March.
“I was thinking about it for a while so this was the right time to do it,” explained Jack.
"I had just finished the PGA course so it was perfect timing.”
Jack also said that the in the first three months he’ll play more competitive rounds than he has in the past three years.
That will give him a great foundation, and first-hand experience of tour life.
The Ringaskiddy native has been a member of Fota Island for several years, and when he decided to go down the professional route three years ago he trained in Fota.
Under the guidance of Director of Golf Kevin Morris he completed his course while based at the Fota Island resort.
In between focusing on his studies and the day job in Fota Island, Jack also managed to fit in several events on the PGA Irish Region.
In his first season in 2019 he had four top tens in his seven tournaments, and he also recorded an impressive second place finish at the Irish Club Professional Tournament in Dromoland.
In 2020 he went one better and recorded his first PGA win when he topped the leaderboard in the Cahir Park ProAm.
Late last year Jack completed his PGA studies, finishing off his three-year University of Birmingham course with a PGA foundation degree.
While playing opportunities for pro’s are limited in Europe, there are plenty of events and mini tours in the US, particularly in the southeast. Muskerry’s Niall Turner was one of those golfers who spent some time on the mini tours in the US.
Turner spent two seasons on the Gateway and Hooters tours, picking up valuable experience as well as some prize money along the way.
Turner went on to spend four successful years in Asia playing tour golf on the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour.
Howard has no plans beyond his first few months in the US. He’s currently based in Florida to take advantage of the tournament locations but he will travel in search of other playing opportunities.
Jack is in good company in Florida, his brother David has also travelled with him.
David plans to caddy for Jack in the bigger events but he also plans to play in some of the mini tour events himself.
David is a scratch golfer himself and won the Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy four years ago when he beat his dad John in a Howard family final. From there he saw his handicap tumble and he was soon playing at a higher level.
The pair hit the ground running last week, just after arriving in Orlando they got a couple of games in to acclimatise to the firm ground and different playing conditions.
Fota Island Golf Club recently made a presentation to Jack and Fota Captain Brad O’Donoghue explained how it came about.
“Helping Jack Howard to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional golfer is something that any club would be only too delighted to do, knowing Jack and his family for many years I knew the club would get behind him 100% with sponsorship and they came up trumps as expected, Jack is a credit to his family and Fota island Golf Club and as Captain for 2022 I and all our members wish him well on his trip to America.”
Fota Island President Anthony O’Connell is very familiar with the Howards, he was junior officer when the three boys were juniors in the club.
“The surname Howard is well respected in golfing circles around Cork.
"John Howard who represented Raffeen Creek at all levels of amateur golf and his three sons Michael, Jack and David have all represented Fota Juniors in Fred Daly, Irish Junior foursomes and the Harbour Shield.
"In 2014 Mallow Golf Club won the Fred Daly Trophy beating Fota in the semi-final. Jack and Michael both playing on the day with Michael beating James Sugrue on the 17th hole.
"David went on to win the Ford Scratch Trophy in Muskerry beating his Dad in the final and they have several scratch cups to his name.
"Jack went on to represent Fota in the Jimmy Bruen Shield, Junior Cup and Senior Cup before becoming a professional golfer.
"The support Jack received from the club was overwhelming and on behalf of all Fota members we wish Jack the very best of luck in the next stage of his golfing journey in America.”