Ronan Mullarney secured his maiden championship after a one-hole win at the AIG Irish Amateur Close in Ballybunion last year. The 24-year-old decided to leave the comfort of his nest and turn professional this year at the Alps Tour School in Spain.
Galway Golf Club’s Mullarney decided to take the plunge and turn pro sooner rather than later "There were loads of reasons to remain amateur with the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Galway next year and the chance to play in the US Amateur or try to make the Eisenhower Trophy or St Andrews Trophy teams. But I felt that if I was eventually going to turn pro anyway, I'd definitely learn more on the Alps Tour and the Europro Tour than I would as an amateur." Said Mullarney
Mullarney’s dad used to sneak him out to hit a few balls at Galway Golf Club before he was eligible. “I was addicted when I was younger, I spent all my time at Galway, it was just so much fun whereas now, it’s still fun but it’s a bit more serious.” Said Mullarney.
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The Galwegian graduated from Maynooth University with a Masters in Strategy and Innovation said that he had numerous offers from American colleges, but always knew he wanted to stay close to home. “I got a couple of good offers from colleges in America but I knew myself that I wasn’t ready to move away; I don’t know if it would’ve ended all that well,”
“The golf courses here suited me more. They’re maybe that bit shorter and tighter whereas over there – 7,000 yards is barely a golf course in America. They’re 7, 2, 3 or 4 and I wasn’t necessarily the longest hitter. I was definitely glad I went to Maynooth.” He added.
“I’m a bit obsessed with golf; whether it’s good or bad, but especially when it’s bad. I’m like, ‘why, how, what happened?’ I could take a day or more just trying to figure that out. I could be doing other things but not really thinking about what I’m at, I’d just be thinking about the golf.” Mullarney added.
Mullarney said that although America is a place where all the bidding golfers go, there are equal opportunities in Ireland with some fantastic courses and intense golf competition at the college level. Speaking with the Irish Times he added “And Maynooth is just so strong. If Maynooth were playing their best team – you had Caolan [Rafferty], Eanna [Griffin], Jordan [Hood], there’s a lot of quality in Maynooth alone before you look anywhere else. There’s a lot of good college players in Ireland so if you’re competing on that circuit, you’re giving yourself plenty of confidence to make the step up to the Bridgestone events throughout the year.”
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“There’s just no stress when you’re with the GUI,” Mullarney said. “Everything’s done for you. All you have to do is show up with your golf clubs, and the right clothes!”
After winning the Irish Amateur close, Mullarney advanced to stage two in Spain at Q-School “I would’ve done it last year but I was still in college,” Mullarney said. “I was fairly sure I was always going to go at some stage. I definitely wanted to give it a go. Of all formats, it should suit my game; consistency hopefully over 10 – 16 rounds. If you can produce consistent golf you should be there, thereabouts but I’m going to go as an amateur.”
“But that’s what you have to do. The amateur game is a very good start but the pro game is different. It’s like the transition I went through from Boys golf to Senior golf. I don’t think it’s as big a step but it is going to be different so you have to allow yourself an adjustment period. Ultimately, you have to invest in yourself to get the rewards down the line.” He added.
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Mullarney sought help from his father in his transition to the professional game. He has always had the same coach, his dad, and that has helped him grow and learn about his swing a lot more. “I know that’s not for everyone but I’m spoiled that way. Dad had my clubs bang on for me from the age of 12 when I didn’t even need them bang on and as a consequence, I’ve become very analytical and hands on with that stuff now too. I look at the likes of DeChambeau and I think he’s brilliant. I don’t know him personally, I’d like to, but I just think it’s the way he says things sometimes that gets him in a bit of trouble. I don’t think you have to put it out there that much.”
At Q School, things changed for the young Irishman. Earlier this year, Mullarney competed for at the Ein Bay Open in Egypt where he finished tied 13th on two under par for the tournament. Mullarney also represented Ireland by winning his way onto the International circuit for the Arnold Palmer Cup.
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Mullarney had a brilliant performance on the course in Spain and caught the eyes of a number of sponsors. The 24-year-old helped Galway Golf Club win the AIG Senior Cup. Earlier this month, he walked away with the keys to the new Toyota C-HR, one of Ireland’s best-selling SUV. Tony Burke of sponsors, Toyota and Lexus, said Ronan was a “fantastic role model for all young sportspeople. We hope that our sponsorship will greatly assist him in his golfing exploits this year and we wish him the very best of luck in his career going forward as a professional golfer.”
Ranked among the top 50 Amateur golfers of the world, Mullarney also signed a deal with Davy, Ireland’s leading wealth management provider. The new partnership will see Mullarney wear the Davy logo on his competition clothing. “I am so proud to become a Davy ambassador and represent them on my travels across the world as I begin my career as a professional golfer. It’s great to be supported by such a successful Irish company and I’m looking forward to working closely with the Davy team.” He added.
Mullarney has enjoyed his start to his professional career and his goal is to achieve full time membership of the European Tour within the next three – four years. The young Irishman has done a lot at such a young age and we are excited to see what his career has to offer him.