The program designed to support and nurture the next generation of Irish golfing talent was launched, with two of the beneficiaries Olivia Mehaffey and Jonathan Yates on-site at the Golf Ireland Academy in Maynooth.
Five other professional golfers; Stuart Grehan, Gary Hurley, John Murphy, Conor Purcell, Dermot McElroy and will also receive the €35,000 in funding, while any players turning professional during 2023, that meet the criteria, may receive funding on a pro-rata basis.
Sport Ireland will provide €325,000 in government funding to Golf Ireland for the management and administration of the Golf Ireland Professional Scheme. The financial support provided by Sport Ireland will enable these golfers to progress further internationally. And former Arizona State golfer Mehaffey, one of the trailblazers in Irish women’s golf, said she is delighted to get the financial backing again, saying, “this opportunity is a game-changer for aspiring golfers in Ireland. With this backing, we can fully focus on reaching our potential and representing our country with pride.”
Naas golfer Jonathan Yates is another young talented golfer benefiting from the scheme and he echoed Mehaffey’s sentiments, “we’re extremely grateful for this chance to elevate our careers and showcase the incredible golfing talent Ireland has to offer on the world stage.”
Speaking about the news Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD said, “the outstanding performances of Irish golfers on the global stage is a source of great pride for the public. The delivery of this scheme will benefit many golfers in the years to come and I am confident, will lead to continued international success. As Ireland prepares to host the Ryder Cup, it is important that we continue to invest in our golfers.”
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland Dr Úna May commented, “investing in the future of Irish golf is vital for the continued success of our athletes. The Golf Ireland Professional Scheme provides funding to emerging professional players and has a history of supporting those who have gone on to reach the highest levels of professional golf, including Shane Lowry, Seamus Power, Leona Maguire, and Stephanie Meadow. Irish golfers who are in the early stages of their professional careers benefit from the financial, coaching and service supports which are necessary to take the next step and establish themselves on the major tours.”
Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly has highlighted the importance of the continued collaboration between Golf Ireland and Sport Ireland, saying, “this partnership signifies a shared commitment to the growth and development of golf in Ireland. The funding provided will be instrumental in helping these talented golfers compete at the highest level and inspiring future generations.”
Sport Ireland provides significant investment for professional golf tournaments in Ireland including Men’s Irish Open, Women’s Irish Open, Irish Challenge and the Irish Legends events. The increased funding from Sport Ireland is strategically important for professional players who can compete at these levels.
Sport Ireland has provided funding to the Golf Ireland Professional Scheme since 1999. The scheme gives players: direct funding; European Challenge Tour starts; coaching expertise; access to Golf Ireland’s National Academy and Quinta do Lago training base; and access to the Sport Ireland Institute.
Source: Sport Ireland