Sarah Cunningham leading a generation of healthy golfers

​​​Speaking to Carla Reynolds, Sarah Cunningham explain's that she has come on board with the Golf4Girls4Life Programme to introduce young girls to fitness for golf

  • 19 February 2019

​Caption: Sarah competing for Lahinch in the All-Ireland Senior Cup Finals in 2018 (Photo: Pat Cashman Photography)

Sarah Cunningham first played for Ireland when she was fifteen-years-old and in the years since she has competed across the World and continues to play at a high level, most recently winning the All-Ireland Senior Cup title with Lahinch Golf Club in August last year. 

Now a qualified Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach, Sarah has been asked to share her experiences and expertise with the upcoming generation of young golfers in Ireland. As part of the Golf4Girls4Life programme, Sarah will be touring the country introducing girls to fitness for golf, however her presence is hoped to not only increase the girls’ awareness of physical skills, but allow them to get to know another female golfer who has been through it all before them. 

Sarah, how did you get started in golf? Why did you continue to play? 
My older sister started playing a few years ahead of me, so I had to try everything she did! That’s what younger sisters do isn’t it? Both my parents play too so that was probably half the reason, it was a family thing.

Did you play other sports growing up?
I played everything I had time for! Camogie, football, tennis, badminton, I even did cross country for a while, until I realised it was boring running after nothing! 
Did you have a female golfing role model?
I never really had a golf role model… but Serena Williams would still be my sports role model to this day! It’s great to see initiatives like the 20x20 coming on stream now to promote female sports participation and show young girls that the male athletes aren’t the only ones to look up to. Stephanie [Meadow] and Leona [Maguire] competing on a world stage should help also.
What are your proudest moments on the golf course to date?
Has to be playing for Ireland! Apart from that, winning the Senior Cup All-Ireland with Ennis and then Lahinch, it’s hard to beat team golf.
I am sure there are lots of memories from off the course too? 
Definitely, I have made some really good friends over the years. I’ve also travelled quite a bit with golf too so that’s a bonus!
What has playing golf taught you?
That you need to be very patient! 

Where did you go to college? What did you study?
I went to Maynooth University, it was NUIM at the time! I studied Business & Management there and a few years later I went back to University of Limerick to study Sports Performance.
When did you decide you wanted to work in S&C? Particularly Golf S&C?
It was from working in other industries that I realised sport was where I wanted to work. What I love most about my job is that I work with athletes from all different sports, so it’s nice to get different perspectives about training and competition and relate that back to golf if possible.
How does it feel to be a Golf4Girls4Life Ambassador?
It sounds very professional!! But no, it is pretty cool to be able to share advice and experience from what I have done over the years with girls starting out now. It’s very hard to get to the next level (whatever level that may be) without a good support network, if I didn’t have it I’m not sure I’d still be playing the game! Golf4Girls4Life is a great initiative.

What change would you like to see in golf over the next 5 years?
Quicker rounds and more girls getting involved in the game.

You can check out Sarah's Golf4Girls4Life Fitness Videos HERE