Galgorm Castle’s latest chapter might well be the most exciting yet and will certainly be one of the most meaningful as the structures are now in place at the internationally renowned Ballymena venue to help develop the game at every level.
As Galgorm Castle celebrates 20 years of golf at the historic estate, work has completed on a range of projects, not least the Fun Golf Area, complete with six-hole short course and the must-play Himalayas Putting Green. Such investment complements the Simon Gidman designed championship course that tests Europe’s best players every year when record crowds arrive at Galgorm Castle to witness the NI Open.
The floodlit driving range and short game academy are well-established and it is the key changes in the coaching personnel in 2017 that will help deliver a golfing centre of excellence at Galgorm Castle.
The headline news is Gareth Maybin joining the Galgorm coaching ticket and the former European Tour player will coach players of all levels, from beginners to tour professionals. Gareth Maybin Golf at Galgorm Castle is a unique opportunity for golfers across the province to tap into the invaluable coaching and advice only a touring professional at the top level can provide. Maybin will work from his new teaching studio, fitted out with the latest technology.
“I am delighted to be here at Galgorm Castle as part of an exceptionally strong coaching team with like-minded individuals who all bring their own experience and expertise to what is undoubtedly one of the best coaching hubs in the country,” said Maybin, who is based back in Northern Ireland after injury forced the Ballyclare native to call time on his playing career.
“This is a very exciting time to be involved with everything that is happening at Galgorm Castle. The venue already enjoys an outstanding international reputation as the home of the NI Open, but what I and the rest of the PGA team provide are unparalleled coaching opportunities while using the best all-round golfing facilities anywhere in Northern Ireland.”
Alongside Maybin is Jason Thompson, an integral member of the Galgorm team who worked alongside former head professional Phil Collins, before he stepped down from the role in 2017 after 17 years at Galgorm. Thompson will continue to play a key role within the golf operations, while overseeing the successful running of the pro shop and retail.
Barrie McGoldrick recently completed his PGA training and joined Galgorm this year. He brings a wealth of experience on the custom fitting side of the business. McGoldrick served his time at Malone Golf Club under head professional Michael McGee. He coaches golfers of all abilities including professionals and his equipment technology knowledge is invaluable. Galgorm Castle uses the latest technology such as Trackman and is an official custom fit centre for TaylorMade and Cleveland/Srixon.
Deborah McCooke is another key member of the Galgorm team and as a PGA Level One coach she has been heavily involved in assisting junior and ladies section coaching programmes. Debbie’s dedicated approach has helped build a vibrant junior girls section and she hopes to begin her PGA training over the next year.
Alistair McDiarmid is a PGA teaching professional with vast experience who has been involved with Galgorm since the beginning. He has built up a large client base and teaches golfers of all ability.
With all the necessary structures now in place, the person overseeing it all is Ross Oliver in his role as Galgorm Castle’s new director of golf. Oliver will manage the traditional duties of being a head professional, while accounting for the additional golfing experiences at Galgorm plus his own coaching duties. His role will include the day-to-day running of golf operations across the estate; at the pro shop and driving range, the Fun Golf Area and McQuillans Lodge halfway hut while also coordinating the wide-ranging coaching services on offer at Galgorm.
“I am delighted to be taking on this new and enhanced role,” said Oliver, who joined Galgorm in 2013 as assistant professional and is also the NI Open event manager. “There are so many aspects to the golf offering at Galgorm now. It is fair to say we provide golf and coaching of the highest order for every member of the family. The great thing is it really doesn’t matter what level you play to or have never played golf before because we have coaching programmes and lessons to suit all abilities.”
Gary Henry, Managing Director Galgorm Castle, said: “We are delighted to now have such a strong team that offers wide ranging services and expertise. We want to grow the game of golf within the whole family and I believe we now have the perfect team to do so.”
Visitors travelling from further afield can also benefit from the Golfing at Galgorm initiative, which sees Galgorm Castle work closely with the magnificent Galgorm Resort & Spa to provide some of the country’s most attractive stay and play packages. The 2017 NI Open title sponsor is one of the finest hotel and spa destinations anywhere in Ireland or the UK.
Galgorm Castle www.galgormcastle.com