Compleat Golfer’s playing editor tells of his unique experience at the JP McManus Pro-Am.
Golf is the only sport that has the capability of bringing people from all walks of life together. It’s because of this that so many of the world’s elite have developed an unwavering love for the great game. It’s these individuals who help solidify golf’s future as a game unlike any other.
A local example would be Mr Johann Rupert. His love for the game and its South African representatives has helped our country become one of the greatest golfing nations in the history of the sport. Now, while Mr Rupert is exceptional in his own right, he is not alone in his undeniable love for the game of golf.
Another such person is Mr JP McManus, a hugely successful businessman and racehorse owner. In July he hosted a pro-am at his incredible Adare Manor in Limerick, Ireland, where the world’s top golfers were joined by those at the very top of their fields, all in the name of giving back to the Irish community. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to participate in the two-day event and all I can say is, ‘Wow!’
Let’s start with the venue. Adare Manor could quite easily be the most beautiful estate I have ever seen. The ‘calendar house’-designed manor is so inspiring.
It dates back as far as the 1700s, but was renovated in 2017. The manor looks over the 15th, 16th and 18th holes and one can’t help but stare at the building at any occasion to admire its beauty.
It is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you have the opportunity to stay there, with the average night costing around €1 500. But once you’ve made the decision to pay that, enter the pearly gates and travel along the winding road through the perfectly manicured gardens, you’ll see it is worth every penny.
The course seems artificial. It’s that perfect. It really is borderline unnatural. There isn’t a blade of grass out a place, not a leaf on the ground or a dead patch of grass in sight. I honestly believe it might even be better than Augusta National, which seems like a mountain of a claim to make. What I have failed to mention is that the 2027 Ryder Cup will be played at Adare Manor, and what an event that will be. The course is filled with risk-and-reward opportunities, and the elevated greens punish any golfer who slightly misses their mark. It therefore rewards good shots and severely punishes the bad ones. That’s exactly what makes a good venue for a matchplay event.
Last, but not least, we get to the event’s guest list. Attendees varied from Irish pop band Westlife to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. While the amateur list was impressive, the professional lineup was sensational. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were all there, and that’s just to name a few. But it was the manner in which the pros and amateurs came together that made the couple of days so special.
Everyone’s guard was down. They were all there to have a great time, and raise money for the less fortunate while doing so. This was all in the presence of 40,000 spectators a day. Each one of whom bought a hat as their ticket, which sounds weird, but when you see it in person it truly is unique. There were videos that went viral of Tiger chatting with spectators on almost every tee box, something that would never occur when he’s in tournament mode. And that was my biggest takeaway from the two days.
Even the greatest golfer of all time loves this game and the impact it has on the world around him. No matter who you are, as a golfer, you will always love the social aspect that golf provides. While you might be one of the world’s elite golfers, you still love chatting to a complete stranger about the sport we’re all so addicted to. And that’s why golf will forever be the greatest game ever played.
– This column first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!