Golf

Pro golf proves costly for rising star Dermot McElroy

Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) driving at the 14th tee in the practice round of the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at The Royal Dublin Golf Club. Picture by Pat Cashman
Tony McGee

DERMOT McElroy may be a professional golfer for just around a month but he is quickly discovering the many differences between the amateur and professional game, not least of all the gap in cost.

The 23-year-old Ballymena man embarked on his new life in the recent NI Open at Galgorm Castle.

He played in that tournament as an amateur in the past but this time as a pro. He unfortunately didn't make the cut.

His next outing, he hopes, will be in the Volopa Irish Challenge, hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Golf and Spa, on September 8 to 11.

“I am hoping to get into that tournament but I haven't got any word yet if I will be successful,” McElroy reveals.

“My intention was to turn pro, of course, but after the North of Ireland Amateur Championship it happened quickly.

“I got an invite into the NI Open and, now, I'm hoping to get the same into the Irish Challenge event, next month.

“What I have learned in a short while is that playing professionally can be a costly business.

“It can take between £20 and £30,000 a year to play the Challenge Tour, so a player needs to earn some reasonable cheques to exist.”

With that in mind, Dermot hopes to ease the burden a little by staging a fund-raising event at Ballymena Golf Club on Sunday, September 4.

He would be extremely grateful to hear from anyone willing to sponsor a fourball, a hole, etc. He can be contacted on dermotmcelroy.com. A time-sheet will, of course, be in operation.

The former West of Ireland champion and Irish international – he was in the Irish men's team that won the Home International Matches at Royal Portrush last year – will return to the PGA Tour school next month when he tries his luck at Collingwood Park in England.

Two years ago, he reached the final stage of the Tour School but just fell a little short of getting his Tour Card.

He tried again last year but didn't get as far, so he now hopes it will be third time lucky.

Meanwhile, he is working hard to make his fund-raising day on September 4 a big success to help him on the new road that he has taken.

“I felt that the time was just right for me to turn pro. I have played amateur golf at top level for quite some time so the next step had to be professional golf. Hopefully, the fund-raising day will be a lift for me,” he reflected.

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