The pro-am tournament at the KPMG Women’s Irish Open at Dromoland Castle is underway this morning. Among the sporting business and entertainment celebrities taking place alongside the players are three women who had never picked up a golf club when the tournament was played last year.
Lorraine Keane, Pamela Joyce and Valerie Wheeler have taken part in Golf Ireland’s latest initiative which looks to get more women and girls playing the sport of golf. The campaign began at the start of the summer where the three relative beginners started their quest.
It has been an extraordinary journey for the trio who have already played a practise round at Dromoland alongside leading amateur, Aideen Walsh, while they also had a round with Shane Lowry’s coach, Neil Manchip, in Carton House.
Throughout they have received lessons from their coaches, with Mary Doyle PGA, tutoring them now to teeing it up in front of spectators at Dromoland Castle.
“My teenage daughters keep telling me that I just manifest that the ball leaves the tee and goes in the air and doesn’t roll five feet in front of me. I am manifesting, that’s what the teenagers are doing, manifesting,” jokes Keane.
“I haven’t slept for the last few nights, it’s that first tee. It’s the same when we played Dromoland for the first time a couple of weeks ago with Aideen Walsh, the first tee shot wasn’t bad and it wasn’t great, the ball moved and headed in the right direction.
“But after that, once I got past the first tee I was flying it. So it’s to try and remember that, just one shot and the one thing I know for sure because of the experiences I have had over the last three months, is that I will have fun.”
“Breathing is really important and relaxing, trying to relax and focusing on the ball and not anybody that is watching really. I’m able to talk the talk, whether I walk the walk remains to be seen,” said Keane.
Keane spent much of her life walking the red carpet, working as an entertainment correspondent with TV3 and as an anchor with fashion and celebrity show Xpose.
More recently she created a gradual tan skincare brand, Decadance by Lorraine Keane, while her online influencer career goes from strength to strength across all platforms.
“There is no typical day, never mind a typical week,” said Keane.
“At the moment it’s trying to squeeze in the driving range or a couple of holes of golf. Even at the weekends, I am flat out with work which is lovely when you are self-employed to be busy, it’s lovely to be in demand in my line of work.
“But then at the weekends I am picking up stuff to do with the girls, to do with the house, to do with the dogs, to do with family, my parents. Trying to catch up with my nieces and nephews, all of that.
“It’s a bit of juggle at the moment but I am not complaining. It’s nice to be busy, I know I am very fortunate to be busy. It’s very different, very varied. A lot of the work I would do now would be for brands and mostly Irish brands I am passionate about working with. Nice companies and nice people which is really important to me.
“At this stage in my life I only work with nice people and with brands that I am genuinely passionate about and love and use myself. It’s lovely to be in that position.
“My own channels, Instagram and Facebook, keep me busy. That’s probably about 50 percent of what I do. The rest is working on different campaigns, working with my charity, working on my family and then doing TV, radio and I write still.”
“I am so grateful to Golf Ireland to have given me this opportunity and I am so glad that I took on the challenge,” said Keane.
“Anybody that knows me knows that I am always up for a challenge and I love learning new things but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do. It’s a privilege to be taught by a pro golfer like Mary Doyle and have the opportunity to go out on the course with amazing golfers like Aideen Walsh and coaches like Neil Manchip.
“They are pinch me moments, especially when I talk to people who have always loved golf and are into golf. They are extremely envious of the opportunities that I have already had and I know I am extremely lucky girl to have had that opportunity.
“I will encourage my girls to play now, my girls are going to have lessons as well as soon as I stop having mine with ‘The First Tee’ team, then we can continue this journey together. “When you are younger you pick up things easier. I want them to have opportunities I would have missed in my career when I was invited to play golf.”