Nice work by a neophyte - Tadhg Harrington
Full-time golf instructor Tadhg Harrington is a relatively recent convert to competitive Pitch and Putt but he continues to achieve at the top level. The third place finisher in the 2022 All Ireland Over 55s Strokeplay championship recently claimed senior honours at the World Pitch and Putt Tour Masters event at Rong Commons.
How pleased was Tadhg with his play play during the Ringcommons tournament? "(I was) very pleased but knew it was coming as I had been playing well for a number of months. The biggest difference to my play in this event was that it was done in front of my peers (my handicap level) so was satisfying to play that well under pressure."
It was a three day event and 20 players (including Harrington) completed their opening two rounds on day one with the remainder playing on Saturday. Was it an advantage or a disadvantage to play on Friday? "Huge disadvantage because of the wind," declares the former Fairview CY and Portmarnock man. "The 10th and 15th (at 80 and 85 metres respectively, specially lengthened for the tournament) were hardly reachable on Friday because they played into the wind."
Tadhg's superb second round 45 didn't feel that different to his -4 opener. "(I) played the same as the morning (50) - just holed a few more putts. Again, because it was in the company of Chris Gallagher, one of Dublin's finest players, it was more satisfying."
Was there any stage on Sunday at the Ireland Masters when Tadhg felt he could catch Damian? "(For maybe,) first nine holes", reflects the now Lucan player. "After that it was head down and concentrate on winning the over 55’s."
What are Tadhg's impressions after his 24-month immersion in our beloved sport? "I’m playing exactly two years. (I) love the game, very skilful at the top level, quick to get a round in if necessary. It’s a pity more young people don’t take the game up?"
Tadhg agrees that Ringcommons was in pretty good condition given the time of the year "I thought the greens were very good for October. The emphasis was on hitting greens as the fairways were long due to the rain."
Sadly, there's no truth to the rumour that Tadhg's younger brother (and three-time major champion) Pádraig would challenge Tadhg and his other siblings at Pitch and Putt (rather than golf) during his time away from the golf tours of the world. But in his capacity as a golf teacher, Tadhg has had ample opprtunity to assess Pitch and Putt swings. Is there a single method of how to play Pitch and Putt well? "No," avers Tadhg. "(There are) many ways to do it. But all great players have the same club position at impact and tempo to die for!"
What ambitions does Tadhg have in Pitch and Putt? "Compete at national level, play for Dublin inter-county team and become the best player I can be. Because of the nature of my job, I get time to practice every day so at least I know the opposition won’t outwork me. Last but not least, enjoy the game!"