HOW did a champion junior hurler (someone who plays hurling) end up the general manager at Bowral Golf Club?

After a bit more digging, it actually made some kind of strange Irish sense.  

Kevin Kenny was born in the city of Kilkenny where hurling is, in Kevin’s words, “a rite of passage bordering on a religion”. He started wielding a hurling stick pretty much right after he was toilet trained and played for one of the top sides in Ireland.

At the age of 16, Kenny became a member of the nine-hole golf course at Castlecomer and inherited a set of golf sticks consisting of three woman’s and two men’s clubs. 

To find out a bit more about the game he caddied for a week for the local hairdresser and learnt not only how to properly trim a sideburn but also that a golf club required you to swap hands over from a reverse grip to right hand low. He won his first comp, a pair of shoes which he traded in for a golf bag. 

“Well, my Doc Martins were doing just fine,” Kenny said. “A little bit later I had a new set of Mizuno clubs and six months later I was playing off a one handicap.”

I ask Kenny what brought him to Australia?

“My wife said I followed her, but I reckon she dragged me here,” he laughed. “That was in November 1994.

“I played some amateur golf in Melbourne and as if I needed to break some more bones wound up playing full forward in the Victorian state hurling team.” 

Bowral Golf Club general manager Kevin Kenny. 

In 2004, Kevin and Bronwyn Kenny moved to Sydney and he hung the hurling stick in the garage and began his PGA apprenticeship at Bondi, moved to Bonnie Doon and wound up at Cammeray Golf Club under Joel Duggan and Shannon Ryan. 

Then, a spur of the moment decision resulted in Kevin and Bronwyn landing in the Southern Highlands?

“Bronwyn and I were about to buy something on the Central Coast, but got gazumped on the house there,” Kenny explained. “I was playing a series of pro-ams and had just shot 65 and broke the course record in the Kangaroo Valley tournament. 

“I drove back through to Bowral to take a look around and the area just reminded me of Ireland with the environment and buildings and people saying hello in the streets. I was really taken with the place.

“A week later I was four-under par at the NSW PGA at Riverside Oaks, checked online for my Saturday tee time and saw the cut had wound up at minus five. So I was headless! 

“Bronwyn said let’s go for a drive down to Mittagong where we wound up buying a house. It turned out that missed cut cost me a lot more than some prize money.”

Prior to taking on the top job at Bowral Golf Club, Kenny worked at a number of other clubs in the Highlands.

“I did some teaching at Highlands Golf Club and some full-time work at Mount Broughton Golf Club,” he said. 

“I was approached by Bowral Golf Club president Ian McKenzie to take over as general manager in 2012 and I’ve been here ever since.”   

So, what was Kenny’s first impression of Bowral Golf Club?

“It was a beautiful old golf club with a rich history dating back to 1901, but it appeared to have become a little cold,” he said. 

“I could see the members were still loyal to their club and wanted it to be successful so with the help of club captain Kevin Burke and the support of the Board, we went about plugging up the financial holes to bring back the warmth to the club.” 

With Covid-19, and now the ridiculous amount of rain, Bowral Golf Club, like so many others, has had to endure and that meant the hurling player, PGA professional, general manager has had to wear even more hats including cleaner, carpet layer, golf coach, barman, chief of security, social coordinator, et al.

But his obvious love for Bowral Golf Club along with his willingness to do whatever it takes to keep it afloat and moving forward is infectious.

“I can’t thank the members, committees, Boards and in particular Kevin Burke enough for giving me their unwavering support over the past 10 years,” Kenny told Inside Golf.

“And I want to make sure Bowral Golf Club continues to be a place everyone wants to join or play when they come to the NSW Southern Highlands.”

To book a game or inquire about membership or just to share a pint of Guinness with Kevin Kenny (aka “Irish”), call Bowral Golf Club on (02) 4861-1042.

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