Gents Notes w/e Sun 19th April 2020

Coronavirus will Pass

The first thing I’m going to do when golf resumes is go straight to my nearest course, walk onto the first tee, peg up my ball and take a brief moment to appreciate being back in my happy place before I hit my shot. The second thing I’m going to do is hit a provisional.

Our Two Golf Professionals

During the week I have been in contact with Seamus Power and Gary Hurley. Just like you, they are not playing golf at the moment and I thought you might be interested to see how they are coping with lockdown. I would like to thank them both for their courtesy and cooperation.

Update on Seamus Power USPGA Tour player

When was your last competitive round?

Last played a competitive round in Puerto Rico which was towards the end of February. Long expected gap for sure

What is your typical daily routine?

I’m lucky, courses in North Carolina are still open so I have been able to continue to practice and get out and about. Also have a home gym set up so gives me a chance to stay in shape and ready to play.

Do you have access to practising facilities?

 I do, courses still open just with some stricter rules about touching stuff and distancing.

Any idea when USPGA events will resume?

 We were notified today that June 8th is the week they plan to get going. I think they realize it’s really out of their hands but I’m glad they have a plan to get started no matter what.

Do you have many events remaining in 2020?

Number of events is such an unknown. Totally new territory so will be a bit of a waiting game. Hopefully plenty but hard to know really.

Are there many travel restrictions at the moment?

Very much so. Very limited movement. Most if not all international flights are on hold and within the US most travel has stopped. 

What do you do to socialize?

Social life is probably similar to home. All bars and restaurants closed, practically all social activities closed. Not seeing many people at all

Do you have any plans for a trip home?

 No plans as of now. I would love to but with all the unknowns and recommendations it’s better and safer to stay in place at least until countries and get the virus some what under control. I think that’s the best we can do individually right now to help and keep safe as many people as we can.

Update on Gary Hurley European Challenge Tour Player

Where are you based at present? 

I’m at home in Aglish.

When and where was your last competitive round?

My last tournament round was in Egypt on the Alps Tour on the 25th of February. My last competitive round was at Carton House on the 23rd of March in a one day competition part of the Paddy Pro Tour series. A group of us Irish Pros set up the PPT to stay competitive when all our tours were cancelled. But shortly after, full lockdown came into effect and that was shut down also. 

Any idea when your tour will resume? 

At present, like most of the world, it’s all a bit up in the air. Every week we receive updates from the tour but they are only guessing also. It will not be before July anyway and in my opinion I can’t really see it being back this year at all. Tour Pro life involves travelling mostly by plane around Europe, staying in hotels, usually with a roommate to minimise costs and sharing rental cars, again, usually with 2 or more to minimise costs. All these are things that we are currently trying to avoid so social distancing will be almost impossible to achieve and even if it is achievable, the travel costs will be extremely high. I’m trying not to think about it too much to be honest and I’m just focusing on improving the parts of me, my game and my life that I can, with what I have available to me. This way, I’m staying present and making sure I’m ready when we return. 

Do you have access to any practice facilities? 

Unfortunately no, but I have a net at home that I can hit balls into and a garden to chip around in. Physical practice hasn’t been too plentiful but I have been keeping busy with some very challenging mental work and physical training that I probably couldn’t do if I was on tour right now. 

What is your typical day? 

My days are up and down in a lot of ways, some very productive and some, like everyone I’m assuming, are lacking in motivation. My diet has been quite consistent actually, as one of the things I actually enjoy doing is preparing and eating healthy. I’m training a lot too, I’ve set up a gym at home so I have no excuses not to be a better athlete for when I return. I don’t particularly like hitting balls into a net so I don’t do that a whole lot. A big part of my day revolves around reflection and preparation tasks that come from some in depth phone calls with Ed Coughlan my coach. So in general my typical day consists of;

Preparing meals

Couple hours of Strength & Mobility

Little bit of short game in the garden 

Very challenging performance related tasks.

Walking my dog, Scott 

Some DIY home/shed/gym improvements 

And spending too much time scrolling through my phone. 

Do you have any social life at present? 

Online, Yes. In real life, No haha! Most of my socialising is usually with my friends on WhatsApp or some evenings on Zoom or the Houseparty app. 

Do you have any non golf activities? 

I like to make things from wood and sometimes metal at home. Building and improvement projects is something I really enjoy doing. For example, I rebuilt and reassembled our garden furniture. I find it’s a great way for me to switch off from golf and the world in general. I also get great satisfaction in creating something useful out of nothing! 

Happy Birthday Justin

It took the arrival of Covid-19 and a directive from the NHS to convince Justin Spratt to celebrate his 84th birthday at his home in Touranore on Tuesday 14th April 2020. No golf, no meal in the Old Bank, and no pint in The Local, hard to believe it’s the same Justin we have come to know and love. Proof as if we need it that we are currently living in unprecedented times.

With a career that spans 8 decades it would take a book to record the sporting exploits of Justin but I will attempt to give you a brief summary. It started with him winning a Munster medal with Dungarvan CBS in the Dean Ryan Cup. While playing for Brickey Rangers he won county medals in hurling and football. He represented Waterford in hurling and football and boasts a trophy which he won for being a sub on the Waterford team vs Rest of Ireland in the early 60’s. His crowning glory in GAA was playing against Kerry in the 1961 Munster final having beaten Cork in Lismore in the semi final.

During the past 50 years, Justin can boast a distinguished career as a player and team manager in golf. He won 3 All Ireland medals as captain of West Waterford Junior Foursomes. Seamus Power and Gary Hurley were beneficiaries of his experience and advice, and he recalls he had Philip Walsh and Philip Spratt on the 3 All Ireland winning teams. His motto which he instilled in the junior golfers was “Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing”. On a personal level Justin has a number of accolades on his golfing c.v. He is a past president and past captain of West Waterford golf club. He also served as captain of Dungarvan 9-hole in 1984. As an opponent on the golf course Justin Spratt will emerge victorious most of the time. You might be playing the better golf but he will find a way to upset you. “Dont stand behind me when I’m putting, don’t stand near me when I’m teeing off, and rattling the bunch of keys when youre putting” are but a few of the antics which have won him plenty matches. If you plan on winning the money from him you may need more than a set of golf clubs. In summary Justin Spratt is a loyal club man, a diehard competitor, who attributes his long life to a cigar and a glass of red wine. Happy birthday Justin and may you celebrate lots more birthdays with your many friends.

Sensational All Ireland Double for West Waterford Boys 2008

The West Waterford junior foursomes team of Philip Walsh, David Byrne, Philip Spratt and Gary Hurley set off for Massereene Golf Club in Co Antrim for the All-Ireland semi- finals and finals as reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions. Hopes were high as they took on the Connaught Champions Galway in the semi-final. The Galway boys raced into a seven hole lead after ten holes and the huge supporting contingent thought the worst and an early exit was inevitable. But the discipline and experience of the champions showed through as they fought their way back to snatch victory on the eighteenth green over a shattered Galway side.

A quick sandwich and it was back to the course to face the Leinster champions Enniscorthy who had earlier knocked out the home favourites Hollywood in the other semi-final. The Leinster boys took command early on and held a four hole lead after 9 holes and looked likely champions. But the West Waterford boys had other ideas and a barrage of birdies and pars ensured the Munster boys would retain the title and an unprecedented two-in-a-row and three in four years.

Great credit must go to the boys and their back room team not least team captain and Junior Officer Justin Spratt who had them so well prepared, not forgetting the loyal supporters who travelled a long distance to be with them all the way.

As the endless list of achievements continues to grow, West Waterford can look forward to future success as there are dozens of young tigers waiting in the wings. Celebrations are on hold until after the hurling final when hopefully another All-Ireland trophy will be back in the Decies.