History-maker Michael turns professional
A young man from New Ross has created his own bit of history by becoming the first ever member of New Ross Golf Club to turn professional.
Michael Ryan (21), from Ballylane East, has played the game since he was around 8-years-of-age and has already enjoyed some considerable success at amateur level having won some very prestigious competitions and titles including the News of the World title when he was just 12-years-of-age.
Speaking to this newspaper about his decision to turn professional Michael said he felt the time had arrived for him to take his career to the next level.
His family has a long association with New Ross Golf Club and that's something that he is very proud of. His grand-parents, Paddy and Catherine Ryan, both were involved with the club and his father, Michael, has also spent his life with active involvement.
'My father was closely associated with Martin O'Brien who was the best golfer to come out of New Ross,' said Michael Jnr.
Mr O'Brien was one of the top amateur golfers in Ireland during the early 1970s and Michael's father caddied for him.
'It was through my father that my interest in the game came about,' said Michael.
'I became a member of the club when I was 10 and have been competing since I was around 11,' he added.
The News of the World competition success led to Michael competing at St Andrews, one of the world's most famous courses, where he participated in the World Boys' U12 category.
Having gone to school at St Canice's National School, Rosbercon, and then the Good Counsel College, Michael was part of the latter's team that came third in the All-Ireland U16 championships in 2012.
He followed that success up by securing the Kerry Boys' U18 title, when he was 17-years-of-age and then eclipsed that by him the winning the 2015 Leinster Boys' Championship at U18 - which is one of the most prestigious golf competitions in the country.
He then represented Leinster in the inter-provincial competition and in helping secure the title for the province was the only player involved to win all six of his games.
He attended the Good Counsel College up to Junior Certificate level and continued his secondary education in the Darren Clarke Golf School in Northern Ireland where he completed his A levels and graduated after two years with a Sports Diploma.
Asked when he knew he wanted to become a professional golfer he said he knew in 2015 that he was good enough but felt at the time that he was a bit young.
Although he has been playing at adult level since he was 17-years-of-age Michael feels it's only now that he is ready for the challenge of becoming a pro.
'I now feel I am ready and that the time is right,' he said.
'It's something I want to do now and see where it takes me,' he added.
He will now attend the European Qualification School in the UK which is the first stage in the process of qualification for a full tour card and that will enable him to participate on the European Pro-Tour circuit.
If all goes according to plan Michael hopes to have secured his full pro-tour card by the middle of next year.
He praised New Ross Golf Club for its ongoing support to his career and highlighted the fact that he has been an honorary member of the club since he was 17.
However, he is immensely proud of his, and his families association with the club, and when he plays in competitions he is acutely aware of the fact that he is representing his club, town and county.
He has three final competitions to complete at amateur level, in the North, South and the Irish Close competition and he will hope to follow in the footsteps of Mr O'Brien who was one of the only people to ever win two Irish Close competitions.
Michael has set up Go Fund Me campaign to enable local businesses and individuals get involved in his career path. Anyone interested in offering support can log on to www.gofundme.com/manage/michael-ryan-golf-sponsorship or contact Michael directly on 087-6744537.
New Ross Standard