IT'S been a busy 2022 for Douglas Club Professional Davey Barry.
The popular PGA Professional had a whirlwind start to the year with a new job, a new house and new baby.
A few months ago he took up the role of head professional in Douglas and he’s delighted to return to the club where he started his PGA training.
And as one of the busiest clubs in Cork, Davey has seen big changes in his first few months back in Douglas – even though it’s only two years since he left.
“The membership has grown, and the playing membership has grown massively,” said Davey. “The timesheet is busy from first thing in the morning until late in the afternoon, but there’s so much more you can do here.
"There’s the driving range, the par-three course, the short game areas. I feel what happened in Douglas over the past few years is that it’s no longer just about playing your 18 holes.
"You can now enjoy your practice time, you can have a coffee in the clubhouse, you can even browse around the shop now that it has been extended.”
As well as the new job, Davey and his partner Ciara have just moved into a new house and three months ago they celebrated the birth of their daughter Alex.
With on-course pro shops often open for 100 hours per week, the demands on a head professional can be tough. But Davey is delighted to take on the challenge of establishing himself in Douglas, despite the heavy workload.
“That’s been the hardest job I’ve had, trying to balance everything. The upgraded shop means that we have more members and customers coming in, it means more stock and a busier footfall.
"You also have a large membership that needs to be looked after in terms of coaching and lessons, and you need to support the teams who are generally very competitive.
"We have a great team though, Jack Ahearne came down from Clonmel and he’s been a great hit, Clodagh has been working in the pro shop for several years, and Craig is also a great PGA Professional.”
Davey spent several years in Douglas, training under Stephen Hayes and then staying on a club pro once he completed his PGA studies. Originally he moved to Ballyneety driving range to work with Donal McSweeney.
A few months later he had the opportunity to become heal professional in Clonmel which was a big development for Davey and for the Tipperary club.
Although the move to Clonmel happened between the Covid lockdowns, Davey quickly settled into the new role and appreciates the important part that Clonmel played in his early days as a club professional.
“It was the first head professional role that I had so it was a great learning experience.
"It was the right size of club in terms of being a very established club” explained Davey. “As a club that was set out in the country, it was very relaxed. There was no rushing to the first tee, there was no rush at 5pm like you’d see in the Cork clubs.
"It was a really great experience. The club members also really appreciated having a PGA Professional working full time and they were happy to work with me and involved me in several aspects of the club.
Having Jack as an assistant was also an asset for Davey, he was a local and his knowledge was really important especially in the early days.
Davey’s decision to take the Douglas job wasn’t taken too lightly, but given his positive experiences in Douglas over the course of his training and his first years as a teaching pro, he didn’t turn down the opportunity to get back to Cork.
“I don’t think there would have been too many jobs that I would have applied for, it was really down to the history I had with Douglas.
"I had plans developing and expanding other areas in Clonmel and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. There was a great team there between the greenkeepers, the office and the catering team.”
While Davey has several competing priorities at work and at home this summer, he is hoping to get out and play during the season.
“The plan is to play on the PGA Irish Region, I won’t be able to get to every event like a few years ago but I’ll certainly get to as many as I can.
"I want to play and to be competitive but that means I need to practice. I try to get out with a few members to play while also spending a bit of time practicing.”