Golf

Carlow Golf Club appoint European Tour winner Damien McGrane as club professional

Carlow Golf Club appoint European Tour winner Damien McGrane as club professional

European Tour winner Damien McGrane is gearing up for the next stage of his career when he takes up the role of club professional at the ambitious Carlow Golf Club in February.

The 46-year-old former China Open winner will take over from current pro Andrew Gilbert who is set to retire early in the New Year.

A return to the retail side of the golf business and to coaching is a natural progression for McGrane who quit the European Tour two years ago.

And his capture is a major boost for the 27-hole Carlow track.

Having served his PGA apprenticeship under Joey Purcell at Portmarnock and qualified under Brendan McGovern at Headfort in his native Kells in 1996, McGrane went on to enjoy his time at Wexford Golf Club as head professional from 1997 to Christmas 2005.

A successful European Tour career then saw him win €5million in prize money with his 2008 win at the Volvo China Open an undoubted highlight.

Now Damien is looking forward to a return to the role of club professional at one of the country’s oldest and most highly regarded parkland courses.

“I can’t wait to get started at Carlow in the New Year,” said McGrane.

“This is an exciting new phase in my career and I am really looking forward to getting back to the retail side of the business as well as to coaching with golfers young and old.

“The reason I took up the game was to qualify as a club professional atHeadfort so I am going back to my roots now with this move to Carlow.

“The club are as ambitious going forward as I am and I know we will complement each other so well in the coming years. I have a great platform now to excel in the golf business.

“Carlow is renowned as one of the top parkland courses in the country and offers a great set-up with the traditional Deerpark course as well as the nine hole Oakpark course which has developed into a fantastic challenge.

“And I know the area well from so many happy years in Wexford which is not a million miles away.

“I’m a proud Kells man and Carlow offers the sort of environment that I grew up in and thrive in.

“Andrew Gilbert will leave a fitting legacy when he retires and I am honoured and excited to be the one chosen to succeed him by Carlow Golf Club.”

Since retiring from the European Tour, Damien has dominated the Irish PGA circuit as well as featuring on the Great Britain and Ireland team which beat the USA in the PGA Cup at Foxhills in Surrey last September.

He will continue to play on the home circuit and abroad next year.

“Carlow are very keen that I represent the club on the circuit and that is also something to look forward to,” added McGrane.

“I will be proud to stand on the first tee next season with Carlow Golf Club as my attachment.

Stephen Byrne

Stephen Byrne is the Head of Sport and News in KCLR96FM. He's an avid rugby fan and can be seen frequenting Leinster and local clubs games. He loves his GAA too and is a former hurler and footballer and stood between the posts for his home club of Kiltegan for many years. He's also a Man U fan for his troubles and shouts for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

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