Ronan Mullarney capped off his amateur golf career in style however the Galway man isn’t resting on his laurels as he enters the professional ranks.
Mullarney turned pro in December 2019 having left a successful amateur career behind in style winning the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship in August of last year.
The 24-year-old admits he thought about turning professional as far back as 2014. However he wanted to win a championship title before making the jump.
AIG Irish Close champion
“I was thinking about it for a long time, probably since I was 17. I wanted to win one of the championships and winning the Irish Amateur Close was big. It probably helped me make my decision.”
Mullarney continued, citing the doubts he still has around his ability as a professional. However the Galway man has his feet firmly on the ground when it comes to how fickle the sport is.
— Paddy Harrington Scholars (@MU_Golf) August 7, 2019
“There were loads of doubts, there still are loads of doubts.
“I always try and look at the big picture. Once I can constantly see I’m improving, I’m happy enough with that and obviously you want to ramp up the improvements.
“There are so many good players, golf is so fickle, it’s up and it’s down so on the whole, if I can see that I’m getting better, I’m closer to where I want to be, I’m happy enough with that because I think golf will drive you crazy otherwise.”
Turning pro is always a risk in golf, no matter the standard of the player. Ronan Mullarney is no stranger to risks though. Aside from winning the AIG Irish Close title, the player had a glittering career with Maynooth University.
However it could have been very different for the Galway man had he taken the same path as most talented Irish golfers.
“I got a good offer to go to the States, to go to North Carolina. But I knew it wasn’t for me at the time and ended up doing a Masters in Maynooth. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was a home bird, but I hadn’t really been away from home much. It probably would have been a bit of a shock to the system.
“I did the Paddy Harrington Scholarship in Maynooth and it was probably the best decision I ever made.
“From 17/18, I always kind of practice looking long term rather than short term. So I always did want to make it my living but if I got to 19/20/21 and I didn’t see any improvement, then I wouldn’t have been hell-bent on turning pro.
“I wanted to reach a certain standard where I wouldn’t be afraid to turn pro.”
While studying in Maynooth, where he earned a degree in Business and Administration and a master’s degree in Strategy and Innovation, Mullarney represented Ireland in the Arnold Palmer Cup.
Golf’s most prestigious collegiate tournament gave Ronan Mullarney a chance to test his talents both alongside and against the best young golfers in the world including a certain American who is now the latest attraction in the sport.
“If you look, Matthew Wolff played it, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, they all are on the PGA Tour, have all won on the PGA Tour. So it was a nice taste of the standard they play at. But it was amazing.
“I’m fairly competitive so when I got picked on the team, it was brilliant. I had to win an event in Scotland to get picked on the team, in St Andrews. But then when I got on the team, I only really enjoyed it looking back on it. At the time I was there to do a job.”
27 pro starts.
1 missed cut. ?
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 10, 2020
At just 24, Mullarney has come a long way from the days of sneaking into Galway Golf Club just to play alongside his dad Tom, who’s also a professional.
“I know the pictures at home when he got me plastic clubs but I used them to hammer the wall!
“My first memory is probably Dad bringing me out to the golf course. I was too young to be a proper member so in Galway Golf Club the first four holes are on one side of the road and then the other 14 are at the other. So the first four can be quiet late in the evening in the summer so I’d put a few clubs in his bag and that’s probably how I started this.
“Dad never pushed me and he still doesn’t push me to play. At the start, I didn’t really like golf. Dad used to ask did I want to play with him when he was going up in the evening and I’d feel bad that he was playing by himself.
“I don’t really know how it happened. I just began to like it more and more. I’m very competitive so when I saw that I had some sort of ability, I wanted to get better and better and then it kind of took over.”
As for the future, Ronan Mullarney admits, like all young golfers, a European Tour victory would be the pinnacle. However such is the maturity of this young Galway man, so long as he can keep improving, he is content in his career choice.
“Ask anyone, they will all say that all they want is to win on the European Tour, win the PGA Tour, win the big events, that nearly goes without saying.
“Are there any long term goals? I suppose they would be the long term goals but I just want to make sure that by the time I’m finished I’ve made a good living from golf.
“And one thing I’d be quite good at is consistency. I know some guys when they’re on, they’re really really good. I would say when I’m on, I’m fairly good as well but one of my biggest assets would be consistency.
“So my average golf is pretty okay. It’s just kind of improving that baseline. So hopefully if I’m talking to you in two years time, my bad golf will be better again and my good golf will be better again. And hopefully, that’ll show in results.”