Bobby’s girls doLaytown proud

Bobby Browne is nothing short of a legend at Laytown and Bettystown and the 71-year old PGA professional was beaming on Saturday as the ladies claimed the AIG Senior Cup for only the second time in the club’s 105-year history — 26 years after their breakthrough win in 1988 — with victory over a youthful Killarney. 

Back on his feet again after a recent illness, Bobby was instrumental in the formation of virtually every member of the side, especially the Wickham sisters, Carol and Phil, who took their first steps in the game at the maestro’s legendary Saturday morning golf classes.

“I remember going down to the club when I was eight or nine and Bobby giving us lessons on Saturday morning on the 18th fairway,” recalled Carol who claimed the winning point for the Co Meath club at Mount Wolseley last weekend.

Bobby has been the professional at the club for 47 years and despite battling skin cancer and some recent heart trouble, he has no plans to retire just yet.

Teaching gave him even more pleasure than playing mid-week money matches with Des Smyth and Declan Branigan. Indeed, his coaching of players such as the Wickhams, Philip Walton, 2001 British Amateur champion Michael Hoey, Oonagh Purfield, Sheena O’Brien-Kenney, Deirdre Smith, Suzanne and Jody Fanagan, and Damien McGrane is still a source of great pride.

“Bobby is a wonderful club pro,” Des Smyth said. “He was great for the kids, great for the juniors. He had a fantastic interest in the game and he was a marvellous addition to the club.”

Hoey recalled: “He was real old school, but a great teacher. He didn’t complicate things and I’ll always be grateful to him for the time and encouragement he gave me.”

Noeline Quirke was one of three members of the 1988 Laytown and Bettystown side who won the AIG Senior Cup again but there was also some new blood in Carol Wickham’s daughter Rachel Taylor.

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