It is eleven years now since Brian McElhinney played at The Masters in Augusta and the Burnfoot man has lost none of his love for his sport.
If anything, the passing of time has added to it. He was shooting the breeze at North West Golf Club, where he is the teaching professional, last week to launch the St Eunan’s GAA club’s annual golf classic, in the company of 2012 All-Ireland winning Donegal footballer Rory Kavanagh.
Last week, McElhinney played in the PGA Irish Club Professional Tournament and finished tied for second with three over par, three shots behind the winner David Higgins at Dromoland Castle.
“Overall, I’m playing well,” McElhinney says.
“I’ll play a good bit in the EuroPro events, they’re mostly in Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales. It’ll take me away a good bit in the summer time.
“For the next few weeks I will be working on getting my game in as good a shape as possible and hopefully get a win on the EuroPro Tour.”
While he was an amateur, McElhinney defeated Scotland’s John Gallagher at Royal Birkdale in 2005 in the 5&4 British Amateur Championship before winning the Georgia Cup, overcoming future Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari.
The following year, he lined up at Augusta for the Masters and a year later he won a EuroPro Tour event at Roganstown and another in 2008 at The Shire.
McElhinney enjoys playing on the local greens in Donegal.
He says: “We have great golf courses here in Donegal. Conditions can be a bit tougher than normal at times which can be good as it gives you the experience of having played in different conditions when faced with them in tournaments.
“This can also make it tough though to get good productive practice on a regular basis. Travelling from Donegal to events can be tough as you need to fly to most events for the Europro tour. A lot of my flights being from Belfast or Dublin mean a lot of time travelling to and from these airports.”
The annual St Eunan’s GAA Club Golf Classic takes place on Saturday, May 20th, at Letterkenny Golf Club, Barnhill, Letterkenny.
The format is stableford and cost for team of 4 is €100. For bookings, contact James Friel on 086-8255474 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Carr on 087-2836567 or email@example.com