Doyle enjoying life as one of Ireland’s top PGA Professionals

Doyle enjoying life as one of Ireland’s top PGA Professionals


Sometimes the best things in life are unexpected, unplanned. You can’t plan everything in your life and it’s best to just roll the dice and hope the right number comes up.

For Mary Doyle, that number was undoubtedly two sixes when the Golf Ireland Academy came calling and offered her a role as a PGA Trainee in the facility at Carton House. Now, after a few years of uncertainty, she is one of the brightest up-and-coming PGA Professionals in Ireland.

One of few females in the industry, the Portlaoise native has taken to life as a PGA pro like a duck to water, winning successive PGA Trainee of the Year awards. Having just completed her third year of training, she has eyes on a hat-trick of gongs.

“I originally got a golf scholarship to America, went there for what was supposed to be four years but turned into four months,” Doyle recalls.

“I came back and went to Maynooth on the Paddy Harrington Scholarship. I was always down here in Carton House practicing and I got to know the lads at the Academy. They asked me to do some part time work and if I would be interested in doing the PGA, so I fell into it but I’m happy that I did!

“I didn’t know much about the PGA at all until the lads mentioned it. I looked into it and straightaway I thought this was the thing for me. We are really lucky with the facilities here, the range, the chipping and bunker greens, the putting green and the quality of golf balls, lots of areas to coach on so very lucky.

“When I was in Maynooth I was playing golf, studying and working part-time writing for Irish Golfer, and in Portlaoise and at the Academy part-time so it was tough to balance but I like being busy so it’s different now. I am able to play more which is great!”

The former Irish international has a burning love and passion for the game, but that flame was in danger of going out after a four-year scholarship in the States turned into an abrupt four months as she struggled to adapt to the U.S. collegiate system.

“It was a bit of a culture shock both on and off the golf course,” Doyle admits. “The courses were set up for all carry but I really liked links which was completely different so I had to change my game a little bit which I struggled with.

“In America, they want you to score well, it’s up to you to take care of your own game which is one approach. I suppose Maynooth are more about trying to develop you as a player rather than get the best out of you straight away. They don’t put as much pressure on you, it’s more about long term goals rather than results.

“Just the food and the people, the sense of humour was all different so that took a while to get used to but yeah, definitely an experience. The weather was nice. At least I got a tan!”

Doyle always planned on working in golf, whether it was playing or writing about the sport. A career as a PGA professional was never on the radar but she feels extremely lucky to be in the position she currently finds herself in,  combining her bubbly personality with the sport she loves.

“I didn’t really plan it,” she says. “When I was in Maynooth I did a media and anthropology degree while working for Irish Golfer Magazine so I was planning on going down the route of something with golf and media.

“Maynooth has an excellent scholarship programme, the best in Ireland for me. Barry Fennelly does a great job. When I was there ,we had two gym sessions a week, yoga, psychology and access to really good coaches like Kenny Fahy, Noel Fox, Jonny Foster and Donal Scott who all helped us with different parts of our game.

“The coaching experience was second to none and the events in the R&A and events in Ireland were also second to none. I really enjoyed them.

“I'm delighted I have done the PGA, I feel I am naturally good at coaching. I don’t feel like I need to work too hard at it whereas as a player, I felt like I had to put a lot of work in so this comes a little easier and I'm delighted I found this, I really like it, I really enjoy it.

“Since Covid, it has just taken off here so it proved to be good timing for me with the trainee programme and lots of people want to play golf so we are really busy.

“Everyone wants to play so it’s good. Just working with the lads, Kenny, Niall, Calum and Neil Manchip; just having access to those different coaches is very helpful, certainly helpful for my career. Just watching them and shadowing them has furthered my coaching so I feel very lucky.”

Ireland needs more female PGA Professionals and Mary hopes that the exploits of Leona Maguire, Stephanie Meadow and Olivia Mehaffey can inspire the next generation of girls to pursue a professional golf career.

“It gives me a niche in the market that there aren’t many women PGA Pros which is good for me I guess because I get lots of females and juniors coming to me for lessons which is great, I really enjoy that,” she says.

“But yeah, looking at the likes of Leona and Olivia, they are doing so well in their field and that pushes me on to do well on the coaching side of things.

“I enjoy meeting people; I am definitely a people person. I like working on their game and trying to figure out different approaches to suit the player that I'm working with. I always try to adapt my approach based on their personality and needs so I like trying to figure out that puzzle every day.

“Golf is my passion so I love talking about golf so this is a great combination.

“I was down at the JP McManus Pro-Am watching Leona and that was great, she’s doing really well so I am buzzing with that but it’s great to be a female in the golf world right now.”

The Heath Golf Club woman is certainly fun personified but during her amateur career she was a ruthless, serial winner, boasting an Irish Close Championship, back-to-back Mid-Leinster Girls titles, Munster Girls, Munster Students and Irish Students as well as representing Ireland at various levels.

While she doesn’t get to play competitive golf as much as she would like, she still manages to find the time to practice with her eye on some PGA events over the summer.

“I’m not playing as much as I would like to obviously - I am coaching golf all day and afterwards you don’t really want to stay in work an extra two hours but I do practice a good bit, usually before work, 3-4 times a week. I will play on my days off too,” Doyle says.

“I have the Assistants Championship in August and a few different Pro-Ams so hopefully I will have some wins, that’s the goal!”

Mary Doyle is certainly one of the rising PGA Professionals and golfers of all levels can book a lesson with Mary via the website.


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