Level Par Coaches: Mary Doyle

​​For me, sports in general but golf in particular is a type of meditation

  • 28 May 2020

​Caption: Mary Doyle | Golffile

Mary Doyle is our final Level Par Coach profile to share. 

On turning Professional in 2019, Mary left a successful Amateur career behind having represented Ireland at numerous events, including the 2014 World Amateur Team Championships in Japan and winning the Irish Women’s Close Championship. 

Mary is currently undergoing her PGA Training and is based at the GUI National Golf Academy at Carton House. 

What is your first memory of sport?
My first sporting memory would be related to basketball, I used to spend hours on the weekends in an arcade playing a basketball scoring game. The aim of the game was to score as many baskets as quick as possible within a certain time limit, you had to get a certain amount of hoops per level to move on in the game. I used to set the new top score higher most weekends.

Tell us about your journey in golf to date
I started playing when I was 12 and at that time I played several other sports, such as; GAA, basketball, soccer, and swimming. I started competing properly at the age of 14 and once I made friends at the tournaments, I was excited to get better and I wanted to be able to beat my more competent competitors. It was the individual aspect of the sport that got me to turn all my focus onto golf, I liked the way that only I was accountable for my results on the course. From the age of 15 I spent all my summers competing in lots of different tournaments around the country and it was a cool way to see all of Ireland. 

I had a varied amount of success as an amateur and some of my highlights were winning the Irish Close in 2014 and competing for Ireland on various international stages. I continued competing when I was in college and once I completed my degree I still had an urge to include golf in my daily life; making the PGA course a great option for me. 

What are your hopes for the Level Par coaching programme?
I hope to gather many different perspectives with regards to the approaches that can be applied to golf coaching. I would like to use these perspectives to shape my own coaching style going forward. I would also like to change a small element or idea about the game and bring something new to the golfing scene that would increase girls participation in golf. 

Who was your role model growing up? Who do you look up to now?
Growing up I used to love Fernando Torres (some may say it was an obsession, and they would be right). 

I also admired my maths teacher, Geraldine O’Flynn. Miss O’Flynn played on the winning women’s Cork GAA football team for a number of consecutive years. She was extremely driven and had high standards for herself and her students, which I still admire. 

I have countless of role models or people who I look up to now. I suppose from a golf coaching perspective I admire all of my co-workers and coaches I’ve had the opportunity to work with or speak with about golf, namely; Kenny Fahey, Niall McGlynn, Callum Slater, Neil Manchip, Dave Kearney, Gillian Burrell, Donal Scott, Johnny Foster, Michelle Carroll, Noel Fox and Chris Jelly.

All these people have shaped my perspective on golf and I continue to admire their work. 

Do you have a favourite quote?
I love quotes!! So I have a few favourites;
“Be the person who you would like to be friends with” 
“Imagination is more important than knowledge” (Albert Einstein)
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly” (John F. Kennedy)

I also have a favourite piece from one of T.S Eliot’s poems that I want to include; 
“Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought;
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

A podcast/book recommendation:
(book) “The Power of Now” – Eckhart Tolle
(book) “Be a Player” – Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott 
(podcast) “Human skills x Technical skills = Performance w/Vision54” – Golf Science Lab
(book) “Leaders eat last” – Simon Sinek

Three learnings I have taken from the programme to date are:
Write down your goals.
Keep learning.
Trust your intuition. 
Back yourself. (more than three, but who’s counting?)

Outside of golf (work), what are your hobbies?
Spending time with friends (now replaced with Zoom calls) is a big part of my life. 

Also, I have recently started running! I used to detest running, since I wasn’t very good at it, but running has become one of the things I look forward to in my day now. I also do yoga most days. I tend to read, write and listen to music a lot as well.

What does sport/golf mean to you?
For me, sports in general but golf in particular is a type of meditation. It’s an outlet that can take me away from societal expectations/pressure or stress for a glimpse of a second or for hours at a time, depending on how easy I can access the present moment on a particular day. 

What advice would you give to young boys or girls who are considering a) playing golf, b) coaching golf?
a) Experiment, try and play as many different shots as you can with one club. Make your practise entertaining by being creative with it. There will be lots of times on the course when you will have to invent a shot; being able to adapt to changing circumstances is the most important element of golf and it is also the most exciting part. 

b) I do not believe I am in a position to give advice in this area, yet. I’m still at a stage where I am seeking advice. If I was to offer a bit of my perspective on the topic, I would say that a coach should grow the ability to see past the player and coach the person and work with their unique perspective on the game. 

If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing (if anything) would you change about golf? 
It would be cool if there were professional tours that had Women and Men compete against each other, but have the course set-up in such a way that the distance of the holes are relative to the physical (strength/distance) abilities of the two types of players. 

Anything else you would like to share?
I would hope my coaching style would enable people/players to develop their adaptability by improving their self-awareness. Having the ability to alter perspective in the face of adversity – whether that be external or internal obstacles – is an aspect of the game I believe is important to promote.  

Mary Doyle