Team Ireland Golf was established in 1999 to assist Irish professional golfers, both male and female, in the early stages of their careers. The most notable recent successes for Team Ireland Golf have been Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Michael Hoey, Gareth Maybin, Shane Lowry and Simon Thornton, who are all full members of the European Tour. Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane won tournaments for the first time on the European Tour in 2008, while there were wins on tour for Michael Hoey (2011 Dunhill Links Champion) and Shane Lowry (2009 Irish Open Champion as an amateur). Team Ireland Golf has also assisted a number of lady golfers on tour, the most prominent are - Rebecca Coakley, Martina Gillen, Tara Delaney and Danielle McVeigh.
The objective of Team Ireland Golf is to support golfers who have the potential to become established players on the main international tours, such as the European Tour, US PGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour. Team Ireland Golf is designed to provide support, both financial and non-financial, to selected young professional golfers to help them achieve their potential to perform successfully at international level. The success of professional golfers on international tours also helps to promote Ireland as a golf tourism destination. In the twelve years since it was established over €2.9m in grants has been allocated to aspiring young golfers. Team Ireland Golf allocated funding of €195,500 to 17 golfers in 2011.
Team Ireland Golf grant allocations 2012
|Paul Cutler||European Tour/Challenge Tour||€15,000|
|Niall Kearney||Challenge Tour||€15,000|
|Simon Thornton||European Tour||€10,000|
|Jonathan Caldwell||Challenge Tour/Europro Tour||€10,000|
|Niall Turner||Challenge Tour/Europro Tour||€10,000|
|Seamus Power||E Golf Tour United States||€10,000|
|Chris Devlin||Challenge Tour||€10,000|
|Cian McNamara||Challenge Tour||€10,000|
|Tara Delaney||LET Access Tour||€7,000|
|Danielle McVeigh||LET Access Tour||€7,000|
|Gareth Shaw||Alps Tour||€7,000|
|Richard Kilpatrick||Alps Tour||€7,000|
|Brendan McCarroll||Alps Tour||€7,000|
|Dara Lernihan||Alps Tour||€7,000|
|Cian Curley||Europro Tour||€7,000|
In addition to the financial support, Team Ireland Golf also provides non-financial support services to the golfers in the form of:
- Free access to the state of the art practice facilities at the GUI's National Academy in Carton House.
- Access to Sport Science and Medicine services, coordinated by the Irish Institute of Sport, similar to Carded athletes.
- One sponsor's invite, through Fáilte Ireland, to the Irish Open.