Designer Ken

Ken Kearney has been one of Co.  Roscommon’s leading sports stars over the past two and a half decades. He is the most decorated golfer ever to come from the county.  In a glittering amateur career, he represented his county, his province and his country on numerous occasions.    Kearney won many of the biggest titles in Irish amateur golf, including the Irish Close title and the West of Ireland and East of Ireland titles plus a host of scratch cups and other major titles over a twenty-five year period.    In his day Ken competed with, and often beat, such household names as Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and even the new British Open champion, Padraig Harrington. However as those players went on to make it big on the professional circuit in recent years, Ken did not. He attempted to get on to the European Tour in the 1980’s but after turning professional, he returned to the amateur ranks having failed at the Euro Tour Qualifying School.   Undeterred, Ken has now taken on a new career in the golfing world as a golf course designer. In 2006 he completed a two-year course in Golf Course Design at Edinburgh College and he is now a member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects. Ken now operates his own golf course design company and is currently involved in at least twenty different projects locally and throughout the country. Presently he is working on projects in Hungary and Greece.   With the explosion in the number of people playing golf in Ireland and also the huge increase in the number of new courses opening, I went to speak to Ken to find out more about his new career in the golf business. What about your playing career now? I have scaled it back a good bit. I am working hard at the business now and it is important that I get it up and running properly, so I am not playing as much as before.    It’s far more competitive now anyway and when you see what the likes of Rory McIlroy and other young players can do at amateur level then it’s probably right that I would be playing less.    I will be playing, but only for enjoyment from now on. I want to try and grow the business. Geoff Howes is the top man in this business in Ireland and I want to try and get to the level that he is at. I know that there are the Faldos and the Palmers and others but I’m talking about the Irish scene. What about the golf scene in 2007 and Padraig Harrington’s amazing year? Harrington is an amazing character altogether. He is such a determined guy. He is mentally so strong. When we were playing together all those years ago I would not have picked him out as British Open winning material. I thought he would make a journeyman pro but he has made it to the very top through sheer hard work.    I’m not surprised that he has done so well but he is something else now. He will be even more successful if he stays working as hard as he is at the moment.    With regard to the other guys