31 Jan 18
In an historic break with tradition, Gillian Burrell, has taken over the reins as PGA in Ireland captain.
The 55-year-old, born in Athy, Co Kildare succeeded Joe Frawley at the AGM, becoming the first woman to hold the post.
“I never had any aspirations to pull on the captain's blazer,” said Burrell, who was recently awarded the status of PGA Advanced Fellow professional at Ireland's Regional Members' Meeting.
“It never dawned on me and I nearly crashed the car when Joe Frawley rung me to ask me last year.”
Burrell played her amateur golf at Athy and Royal Curragh Golf Clubs and represented Ireland at junior level.
“I really wanted to be a coach. I was fascinated with golf and I was fascinated with learning,” she recalled.
“The performance aspect of the game was also important to me. I was very lucky to be around at the same time as Mary McKenna, Lillian Behan, and Isabella Robertson. I spent a lot of time with those elite players.”
Currently based at the Carr Golf Centre, Burrell actually started her career as an assistant working for Ciaran Monaghan at the same venue some 27 years ago.
From there she progressed to Newlands Golf Club with Paul Heeney and went with him when he moved to Charlesland Golf Club.
Having finished her apprenticeship with Heeney, she worked at a driving range for a number of years later moving to Stepaside Driving Range in 2000 and then around 2012 she returned to Spawell, partnering with Carr Golf.
“I'm not going to play much, I haven't played in so long but I will be attending as many events as I can,” she added.
“My focus will be on the business of golf and how I can promote the work of PGA Professionals as I go around the country. I will be talking about the skill sets, the expansion of their roles at clubs into other areas like operations, management and membership recruitment.”