Local Profile: Jack Howard – Driving Towards Success
Writes Ciaran Dineen
“A lot of what I love is still being able to play with John and my brothers.”
Picture the scene; Fota Island Golf Resort, blue skies, soaring temperatures, a cool summer breeze providing some respite, flowers in full bloom, grass being cut, standing just metres from the first tee – heaven on earth? That is what Assistant-Pro and Carrigaline man, Jack Howard arrived to on a morning in early July, albeit at a very early hour.
While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, it would be difficult for even the most well-practiced cynic to not admire the picturesque surroundings on display. Jack had just finished giving some golfing enthusiasts a lesson, and with the Irish Open, which he himself could have been playing in, on show in the background, he was excited to talk about his recent success which has sent waves through local golfing circles.
Jack is currently in his second year of training to become a pro, under the watchful eye of veteran Fota Golf Pro, Kevin Morris. The 22 year-old joined the club back in 2012, along with his two brothers, Michael and David, as well as his father, John.
Prior to that Jack and the rest of the Howard clan had all been members of Raffeen Creek Golf Club in Ringaskiddy, playing both pitch ‘n’ putt and golf long into the evening during the school free summer months, much to the satisfaction of their mother, Eithne!
It’s fair to say that golf for the Howard’s is an all-family affair and will always remain so, no matter what success hopefully awaits in the future. “A lot of what I love is still being able to play with John and my brothers. We all have a massive passion for golf and to be honest if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I’d be with them half the time”, Jack says in a jocular manner.
The competition never dampens however, and when the quartet play, it’s every man for himself, with the unfortunate loser having to produce his wallet to pay for the well-earned dinner. It’s been an incredible medium for the four to bond over, and in that time John will have witnessed his children turning from boys into men.
Jack has many evocative anecdotes, but the most memorable of which only came last month, when he caddied for his brother David, while Michael tended to John’s bag, in a huge competition which ended with David and John facing off against one another, in an epic battle.
“That was the best highlight for me I think, it was just incredible, it’s definitely my favourite moment with the lads on the golf course. There’s a real team feel with us even here in the club. John might be the manager and we might be playing so I really like the idea that it’s a team because golf can be a selfish game and at the end of the day I will be selfish myself but it’s something that I really enjoy taking out of it.”
Jack pictured with brother’s Michael and David, and Father, John.
Blood, Sweat and Tears
While the former Carrigaline Community School student has always had a very good game, developing particularly during his late teens, he never put in the type of work ethic and commitment that he now knows was needed to get him to the next level. In the last 18 months he has become far more athletic, but more importantly is training in the right areas in order to maximize his performance enhancement.
“My game has really moved on of late and I have been putting in a lot of effort. I started with Tommy O’Flynn a personal trainer here in Fota and he really has got me to where I am fitness wise. I am a lot fitter and stronger now, and I feel like it’s starting to pay off with the results that I’m getting in competitions.”
That well and truly seems to be the case for Jack, who after losing out on a play-off to European Tour veteran Damien McGrane in May, was just inches away qualifying for the Irish Open following an exceptional 36-hole competition in Moyvalley Golf Club, where Jack finished just one shot outside a playoff, which could have potentially ended with him securing a place in Lahinch, at the national open.
While he was disappointed to miss out on the opportunity, Jack admits that had he been offered the chance to finish where he did at the start of the week he would have gladly accepted. “I played really well on the first day and felt good going into the second day. I got off to a really bad start but settled down after I got a long two putt on the third and played really well after that. I think that the experience it gave me will definitely help me in future events.”
Jack is firm in his belief that he can win a major competition before the end of the year, and he may even have since won one when this article is published. “The shop has been really good to me and they give me the opportunities to play as much as possible so I really want to win a competition not only for myself but because whenever I play, even when I was younger, I always try and represent the club as well as I can.”
In time the 22 year-old would love to be able to balance both coaching and playing, but also has hopes of travelling around Spain and Europe in tour events.
Whatever he decides to do, Jack is heading in the right direction and his ambitions are now as straight as his drives, and while there is still much work to be done, the future looks bright for this emerging golf star.
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