THE recent wet weather closed some courses, but Cork Golf Centre, in Ballincollig, offers golfers protection from the elements and the soft ground, and it’s an ideal place to keep golfers swinging through the wet and cold winter months.
Many golfers continue to play all year round, but there are a number who stay away from the course during the winter.
The centre is one of just a few driving ranges in Cork, and it’s an ideal alternative for golfers looking to keep their swing in shape, but not head out to the course.
The centre has been busy over the past 12 months, with a big increase in the number of golfers. When the centre opened in May 2017, it was a much-needed addition to the western side of the city.
It was within easy reach of a large number of golfers, stretching from the city to Macroom.
David Keating was behind the development and his vision was to provide golfers of all levels with a positive experience.
Putting the range back into use was a big undertaking, and Keating and the team have continued to work on the facility to improve on the range experience.
Last year, the replacement of the lights with new LEDs gave golfers an enhanced view of ball flight and distance.
The driving distance was extended by clearing the gorse at the far end of the range.
The clearance work and new netting were needed. During the clearance work, 10,000 balls were found. That highlighted the need for additional space and the installation of nets.
Having used the Covid-19 lockdowns to accelerate the improvements, the team made the most of the closures.
It looks like those days are now a memory and one positive from 2020 and 2021 was the large increase in the number of people playing golf. That included many recreational golfers, as well as club members and those more serious about improving their game.
From the opening four years ago, Cork Golf Centre offered coaching and lessons for anyone looking to start or improve.
In addition to the three PGA professionals currently based at the range, two more have joined the line-up for 2022, Sergio Coyle Diaz and Stephen Hayes.
Late last year, Hayes finished up in Douglas Golf Club, where he had been a club professional for over 11 years. Having trained under Paddy O’Boyle in Bandon, Stephen quickly earned a reputation as a top-level teaching professional.
In the past few years, he also carved out a reputation as a putting coach, and that, along with his Trackman experience, means that he’s ideally placed to help all levels of golfers.
Sergio Coyle Diaz has also joined the team in Ballincollig. The Dublin-based teaching pro will be available for lessons several times a month and his experience in 3D analysis is a new feature for Cork Golf Centre.
Originally from Spain, Sergio is a PGA professional who has developed a large business for professional and amateur clients. Before this, he was only providing analysis and lessons in Dublin and from this month he will also be working in Cork.
One of his specialties is biometrics and, using high-tech 3D equipment, Sergio can provide detailed and real time information on posture, motion, and performance in the golf swing.
This approach helps golfers looking to improve and can also assist golfers who are troubled with injuries, with the aim of adapting posture and movements to optimise their game.
The roster of five leading teaching professionals means that the centre is far more than just a range, and the experience and pecialisations means that it’s a one-stop shop for all levels of players.
Wayne O’Callaghan is the only teaching pro at the centre full time, offering individual lessons, a junior academy, and a trackman studio. He has been based at Cork Golf Centre since it opened and he has been behind many of the developments.
He kitted out the first Trackman studio in 2018 and more recently he has been developing the putting facilities.
Wayne has been very focused on putting for about three years, and he has invested both time and money in this element of the game.
As well as investing in the latest analysis and training tools, Wayne has also studied under top tour coach Phil Kenyon to ensure he’s the leading edge of the growing area of putting coaching.
David Keating is still the driving force behind the centre and he’s delighted with how the range has developed since 2017.
“Our new LED lighting system has greatly enhanced the range experience and the feedback has been super,” said David. “The netting project has certainly reduced the number of ball losses and we think that hitting the net with a quality strike gives our customers great satisfaction.
“We had a solid year, but December was quiet and we expect a big pick-up again as golfers start to prepare for the season.”
He’s also delighted with the new PGA professionals that are joining the team.
“We are extremely lucky to have Stephen and Sergio onboard for 2022.
“Stephen, who is very well known in Cork, has a strong coaching business and that will grow rapidly at the centre.
“He’s a model professional, who brings huge experience and fresh ideas to the centre. Sergio is also hugely committed to his craft and he specialises in 3D assessments, which have become very popular worldwide in coaching circles.
“He will visit Cork regularly and provide Cork golfers with one of the most modern and effective physical assessments available today.”