Last Sunday I had the pleasure of representing this newspaper at a presentation night at Roscommon Golf Club.
There were no green jackets handed out but there were some nice prizes as well as a relatively good turnout considering the drama from the US Masters was being beamed into living rooms across Roscommon that very same evening.
I used to be a social golfer. I say social because I enjoyed the walk and the chat between swings more than searching for my ball following another wayward stroke. I was consistently brutal with flashes of what must have been accidental brilliance. But I enjoyed the fresh air and the whole ritual around it.
Like many potential Padraig Harringtons in Dublin at that time, I was forced to give up regular rounds due to finances. The membership fee at Lucan Golf Club back then was the equivalent of the GDP of a small Central American country. According to recent figures, I’m not the only former ‘golfer’ whose clubs are now more cobweb than iron!
It’s amazing, however, the amount of people who watched Senor Garcia last Sunday. It shows the potential for growth in the game in Ireland, provided it’s marketed correctly.
It is of course a two-way street and in a way we have become a nation of spectators and social media commentators.
I see it among young people and other sports especially. Kids grow up thinking a perfectly executed through ball on FIFA 17 is the best feeling in the world. If only they knew how the real thing felt. Unfortunately, without getting outside to practice, they never will.
Back to the golf, and now that the evenings are getting longer and the weather is (hopefully) improving, it’s a great opportunity to visit driving ranges, local pitch and putt or golf clubs and get a little taste of how Sergio felt following his second shot to the green at the 18th. Chances are your ball will land in the sand, but at least you’ll be outside enjoying a walk!