Lurgan golf club’s professional has taken one of the top roles in the game.
Peter Hanna is determined to promote the virtues of good, honest, hard work as he takes over the PGA Captaincy.
He succeeds Royal Liverpool’s John Heggarty as the Association’s new captain and will take up the ambassadorial role from 2019 until 2021.
Peter moved back to his childhood club Lurgan in 2010 having previously been the longstanding pro at Fortwilliam Golf Club for almost 25 years.
“There’s no other way around it. If you want to do well, in any walk of life, you have to put the hours in,” said Peter.
“I am an ordinary working club professional from a normal golf club. I have worked hard to make a living and I’ve done reasonably well but I’m still going to be opening up the shop at 6.30am for the members at Lurgan.
“When Sandy Jones rang me to offer me the position it was a major shock. In fact, when I saw his number come up on my phone, I immediately thought, ‘what have I done wrong now?’.
“It just proves to people what can be achieved by putting in the time and effort.”
Whilst he may consider himself to be an ‘ordinary’ professional, Peter has always been committed to developing the PGA and improving the lives of PGA Members.
He has served on various regional, Irish and national committees in one role or another for the best of two decades, including two stints on the PGA Board. He was also the PGA in Ireland region captain in 2000.
His elevation to the PGA Captaincy for a two-year term lifts him into exalted company alongside Fred Daly (47/48) and Ernie Jones (91/93) as only the third Irishman to take on the role. That fact isn’t lost on the 60-year-old.
“I’d love to see a bit more recognition of the role, especially here in Ireland,” added Peter.
“It’s a great honour for the entire region as much as it is for my family and friends.”
Born and raised in Lurgan, Co Armagh, Peter’s father was a talented golfer and his three sons, Roy, Peter and Kenneth soon took up the game.
Peter made early strides and enjoyed some success at Ulster schoolboy level, eventually earning a place on the Irish Boys team. He turned professional as a 17-year-old with a two handicap and the ambition of playing golf for a living.
“That’s what you did back then. You turned professional to play golf and the PGA was seen as the back-up,” added Peter.
“I was lucky enough in that I did my training with Seamus Greene at Knock GC and he didn’t play much so I was able to play in the regional events.”
He progressed to the European Tour and spent a couple of seasons competing (79-81) without making much impact. It was a costly exercise, a ‘hard school’ and after a couple of seasons scraping by, he started looking around for other opportunities.
“I qualified while at Knock and spent a couple of years attached to the club. I also started doing a bit of coaching at a driving range,” added Peter.
“At the same time, I was helping out my Dad who had launched his own building firm. I could easily have gone down that route had a job not come along.”
In 1986, he was appointed to the position of club professional at Fortwilliam Golf Club in Belfast and spent the next 24 years there before heading back ‘home’ to Lurgan Golf Club where he has been Head Professional for the last nine and a half years.
“In the back of my mind I thought that heading back to Lurgan might give me the chance to wind down a bit, I’m not that type of person,” he said.
“I wasn’t going to just sit and let it tick along. We updated the shop, and there’s been a driving range built. We’re now a regional coaching centre for the GUI and there are so many youngsters playing here. Lurgan really is in my heart and I want it to be successful.”
Robert Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, welcomed Peter as the Association’s 80th captain, while also paying tribute to the outgoing captain, John Heggarty.
He said: “We are delighted to welcome Peter in joining a special band of PGA Professionals who have the honour of becoming captain of The PGA and only the third Irish PGA Member to take up the position as Captain of the Association.
“Peter is a well-respected PGA Professional who will be an excellent ambassador for the Association over the next two years.
“He has served the Association at committee level both regionally and nationally and will prove to be a very popular captain just like his predecessor John Heggarty.”