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'You definitely owe it to the game to give back.'

​​​​Best known for his exploits as a player, former professional Stephen Browne regained his amateur status in 2011 and is currently a member of the GUI's High Performance Committee .

  • 06 December 2017

Picture: Stephen Browne, assistant manager with Leinster, at the 2015 Interprovincial Championship - Cashman Photography

Tuesday 5th December marks International Day of the Volunteer. Golf in Ireland would not thrive without the dedication and committment of volunteers across the island who give of their time freely to grow, develop and bring to life the sport that we all love. The Golfing Union of Ireland thanks all those that volunteer in golf and ​to mark the occasion, each day this week we will take a look at some volunteers that work with their club and the GUI.

Giving back to the game was a concept that always resonated with Stephen Browne.

"I do believe you get way more from golf than you give," he maintains. "Having received so much support from the GUI, I just think that you definitely owe it to the game to give back. It's a pleasure and privilege to be able to give back a little of what you've learned over the years from the people that went ahead of you."

Conscious of the support he had received during his playing career, Browne jumped at the chance to become assistant manager with the Leinster interprovincial team in 2015.

"I was thrilled to help out," he says. "It was nice when the younger players would come to me and ask what life was like on tour. They were interested in what they could learn."

Browne played at the highest level during amateur days, representing Leinster and Ireland. in 2001, he captured the European Amateur Championship. Victory at the Kazakhstan Open in 2005 was the highlight of a professional career that saw him rub shoulders with the best.

"I remember Paul McGinley was very helpful to me when I started," says Browne. "It's just having somebody who's been there and done it. They can give you a lot of wisdom."

Now a father of three, Browne has to contend with the demands of work and family life. Managing time is always a challenge.

"The Leinster job was great but it involved quite a bit of travelling and with family pressures, I wasn't able to get to as many events as I wanted," says Browne, explaining his decision to step away from the interprovincial team and take up his current position as Leinster's representative on the GUI's High Performance Committee.

"High Performance was a no-brainer," he says. "It was achievable for me to do with three young kids. I loved the opportunity of being able to bring whatever experience I had to the top players."

In that respect, Browne is replicating the role played by previous generations.

"When I was growing up as well, you'd always be looking to the guys who had represented Ireland," he recalls. "You'd love the stories, the war stories from the Home Internationals. You were picking up information off them. It does help you when you get out there if you know what it is like."

For Browne's generation, players like Philip Walton and Padraig Harrington were big influences. 

"It's a pleasure to pass on their wisdom to younger players," says Browne. "You can definitely make less mistakes if you listen to people who have done it before you."

Now that he's making his way in the financial world with Davy Stockbrokers, perhaps it is not surprising that a line from Warren Buffet comes to mind when he thinks further on the subject: "It's good to learn from your mistakes but it's better to learn from others."

And when he sits around the table with fellow members of High Performance, Buffet's words ring true.

"I don't think you could go into something thinking that you know everything," Browne cautions. "Even listening to Neil Manchip [GUI National Coach] and all the various coaches and other Committee members, who are out in the field with the players, you learn an awful lot about what's going on."

Although golf is often a singular pursuit, as the old saying goes, together is better.​​

*​​Have you ever wondered what the GUI does? Find out all you need to know by reading, The GUI: What We Do - Click Here​