Gary Wardlow (1980 -2022)

Gary Wardlow (1980 -2022)

11/11/2022

The Irish golfing family is in mourning following the untimely and sudden passing of Gary Wardlow, the much-loved and respected head PGA Professional at Spa Golf Club, Ballynahinch, Co Down.

Gary, who was 42, was working in his pro shop when he was taken ill and passed away in hospital a couple of days later.

He had joined the club in 2015 following three years with American Golf in Belfast, a role he combined with that of teaching pro at Cliftonville Golf Club in the city. In the subsequent seven years at Spa, Gary enhanced his reputation as a gifted and innovative coach as well as becoming an integral part of the club.

“Gary has been the heart and soul of Spa Golf Club for many years,” a club spokesperson posted on social media.

“Never without a smile and a kind word, Gary was always on hand to help out in any way he could, and his loss will leave a void in all of our lives.”

Similar tributes have been paid by other clubs in Ulster, including Carrickfergus, Shandon Park and Cliftonville.

“Gary was very popular here and a great friend to many of us,” said Tim Devine, a director at Cliftonville.

“He was highly regarded not only for his teaching skills but his personality. Gary always had a ready smile and a warm way about him.”

Shandon Park, meanwhile, remembered Gary for the part he played in its triumphant European Club Championship teams in 2000 and 2001.

Gary joined the PGA in the following year after a glittering career as an amateur during which he represented Ireland at every level and won the respective Ireland Under 18 and Ulster Under 21 Championships.

He continued to play while training to become a PGA Professional and made many friends, including Gary Chambers, the current PGA in Ireland chairman who reflected: “I have known Gary for a very long time, going back to his early days in the PGA when we were both playing on the Irish tournament circuit.

“I got to know him better in more recent years while we both served on PGA branch and regional committees.

“It was very evident from Gary’s time on committee that he had the best interests of all the PGA Members at heart and wanted to improve their lives.

“That will not surprise anyone who knew Gary and it goes without saying he will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and the PGA membership as a whole.”

Having become a PGA Member, himself when he was elected in 2007 while in the first of two spells at Dunmurry Golf Club, Gary was initially a TP4 (tour player) before becoming a PGA Professional three years later.

He continued to play in PGA events and qualified for the Northern Ireland Open in 2015. By then, however, Gary was more focused on coaching and the business aspect of life as a PGA pro. As a result, he joined the TGI Group and they, in common with his peers and golfing fraternity in Ireland, were ‘devastated’ at the news of his passing.

“We are absolutely devastated to hear of the death of Gary Wardlow, PGA Professional at Spa Golf Club,” said Matt Millard, TGI’s director of communications.

“Gary was a valued member of the TGI family, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, three young sons, friends and family during this heart-breaking time.”

Those sentiments are echoed by the PGA and heartfelt condolences are extended to Gary’s wife Susanne, his sons Jaxon, Luke, and Carter, other family members and countless friends.

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