Charities make plans to tee up for JP McManus Pro-Am pot as new rules are revealed

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

Tiger Woods with JP McManus on the first tee box during the 2010 event Picture: Sportsfile

Tiger Woods with JP McManus on the first tee box during the 2010 event Picture: Sportsfile

THE FIRST stage of JP McManus’ next Pro-Am has officially kicked off, and it was all about the money in Adare Manor’s ‘ballroom of finance’.

An information meeting, attended by over 200 people, was convened last week for hopeful hosts of the preliminary golf classics. Pro-Am committee members presented not-for-profit groups with instructions and rules for the classics – the first of three stages golfers will have to surpass for a chance to play at the main event.

The unique charity Pro-Am event, which raised in excess of €43.7m for local charities in 2010, offers amateur and hobby golfers the chance to play alongside some of the best in the world. At the last Pro-Am, local people teed up with the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els, as well as celebrities from the realm of showbiz, such as Samuel L Jackson, Michael Flatley and Hugh Grant.

“An organising group must raise a net amount of €12,500 from the proceeds of a single golf classic event to progress one team to the Grand Qualifier,” said Noel Earlie at the meeting.

“Multiples of €12,500 from a single classic will qualify additional teams. For example, €25,000 raised will qualify two teams,” he added.

The money has to be raised for the classic, through the entry fees of €100 per player. Corporate or personal sponsorship for the event from non-players will also be accepted.

The golf classics can take place from April 2018 until April 2020, while the Grand Qualifier stage will happen at Adare Manor on Thursday and Friday, May 28 and 29, 2020.

Those who successfully go through these stages will qualify to play with the professionals at the Pro-Am on July 6 and 7, 2020.

To host a golf classic, a group must be a not-for-profit or a charitable organisation. The group must propose to undertake an important capital project in the Mid-West, which will be approved by the Pro-Am committee.

But an organisation does not necessarily need to hold a classic to be eligible for funding from the Pro-Am, and holding a classic doesn’t guarantee future funding from the main Pro-Am event, according to the committee members.

If a project is deemed important enough, a group may be found eligible to receive funding by the committee.

For each classic, the Pro-Am organisers will provide 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes -crystal trophies - with additional prizes being at the discretion of each individual group.

Tee up: How to enter the Pro-Am race for a slice of competition

KEEN golfers will be eager to find out how they can qualify to play alongside their heroes, when July 2020, and JP McManus’ Pro-Am, rolls around.

The first stage, preliminary golf classics, will be hosted by many nearby charitable organisations – but you best read the rules closely.

For starters, there is a stricter focus on player handicaps than there was in previous years. For the golf classics, men must play with a maximum handicap of 18, and women at a maximum of 24.

Each player has to have an official certificate of their current handicap from their home club, the Golfing Union of Ireland or the Irish Ladies Golf Union.

Those lucky enough to be on a team progressing to the next stage, the Grand Qualifier, will be limited to a maximum handicap of 18, regardless of gender.

Each classic will be held on a Singles Stableford Scoring Format, and all players must complete 18 holes.

Individual score cards will eventually be returned to a player’s home club, but players must return the card to the classic organisers after their round.

Teams of three will be selected from the returned cards after each classic. These will be picked at random by special software at an open draw. The team or teams picked with the highest cumulative total, based on two scores to count at each hole, will go forward to the Grand Qualifier. The main Pro-Am teams will consist of one professional and three amateurs.

To enter one of the classics, there is a minimum fee of €100 per person, which includes a Pro-Am cap valued at €50. The cap entitles the bearer to spectator entry at the Pro-Am for both days.

One player can enter and play in different fundraising classics.

But how many amateurs in total will make it to the Pro-Am? Well, the money raised in all of the classics combined will dictate the number of teams. Every €150,000 raised will equate to one team going forward. So, €600,000 raised would mean the progression of four teams, and €900,000 would progress six teams.

The only age limit: players have to have been 20 years old as of January 1, 2018.