Patrick Dempsey has Cystic Fibrosis and took up golf in 2015 after having a double lung transplant three years prior.
Growing up in Donegal, Patrick’s mother was an avid golfer and was previously the Lady Captain in Letterkenny golf club. Although he played the odd bit of pitch and putt, soccer was his main sport while growing up. “I always thought golf was too slow and boring. It’s not until you start playing that you really understand how enjoyable and challenging it is”.
After moving to Galway, Patrick started playing with some work colleagues in Cregmore Park golf club as part as of works sports and social events. Living closer to Athenry golf club and getting lessons of Sean Whelan the PGA pro it made more sense for Patrick to join Athenry the following year.
After having a double lung transplant in 2012, Patrick needed to build up his fitness again and started taking up running. Tired of getting injured, the move to golf was perfect to suit his lifestyle.
“My life motto is to always try and improve myself and that’s the beauty about golf. No two rounds are the same and you constantly have to work to improve yourself”.
All physical activity has great benefits for both our physical and mental health and Patrick found golf introduced him to a whole new social side. He finds going into the clubhouse for a coffee and the chats with the ‘lads’ just as enjoyable as the round itself. Even if it hasn’t gone your way that day. “If you’ve had a bad day at work or in life, a couple of holes in the evening boosts your mood and can make a big difference”.
Having only started his golfing journey in 2015, Patrick loves the competitive side and quickly got his handicap. He took part in his very first captain’s day and is one of those golfing days he would rather forget. The following year he got a hole in one in stroke weekend competition and fast forward another year to 2017 and Patrick had won his first club Major.
He talked about how his win was written in the stars. “The wind and rain kept blowing my ball into the right places for me to qualify and to come out victorious on final day . My playing partner was playing well and as I went around, I didn’t even think I’d be in contention. Many of the members were delighted to see a higher handicapper winning. I think it gave everyone a bit of hope that they too, could do it someday too, especially with my track record in the previous years”.
Having represented his club in all Ireland fourball in 2019, Patrick finds the team aspect of golf very social and helps boost your confidence. This June, Patrick was due to represent Ireland in the European Heart and Lung Transplant games in Spain which has subsequently been cancelled due to Covid-19. “It was my motivation to keep practicing as you are not only representing your country but also your donor’s family. I hope I will have another opportunity to participate when things are back to ‘normal’”. Playing in Spain would’ve been a dream come true for Patrick as it is home to his favourite golfer Seve. “He was so competitive and I loved how imaginative he was”.
Patrick feels very lucky to have his health and be able to play golf and says with the right mindset you can always win in golf. Whether it’s the round itself or the cup of tea and a chat afterwards, the benefits and opportunities to improve are endless! “There are so many opportunities for people to take up golf with the get into golf programmes. You don’t even have to have your own clubs and there will always be people starting at the same level as you so give it a go”.
Patrick awaits the day when he can return to the course and says he won’t take playing a couple of holes for granted again. “I’ll play in rail, hail or shine”.