Coulter looks right at home as she mixes it with the pros

Young amateur from Co Down shows her mettle as she battles back to post a 73 in her first ever appearance in a professional tournament

If you were to look at the way Beth Coulter goes about her business on the golf course, you’d think it was where she always belonged.

It wasn’t. Camogie, you see, was her first love.

But for the young girl who grew up with hurling DNA in her genes, with grandfather and uncles the heart and soul of Down teams down the years, the aspiration to wear the county camogie colours was overtaken by her prowess with golf club and ball which has seen her take her own sporting path.

On the 18th fairway, she’s the one down the middle of the fairway. The two seasoned professionals in her group – which had been first out in the bleak early morning – aren’t so sure-footed. One is in the trees, and by the time they get to the putting surface on the closing Par 5 the other needs to stand in a bunker to get a line out of the greenside rough.


In contrast, Coulter’s play is textbook. Drive down the fairway. Lay-up on the fairway. Approach to eight feet. Finally, with putter in hand, the 19-year-old from the Ards peninsula finishes with her fifth birdie of the back nine for an opening 73 in the KPMG Women’s Irish Open at Dromoland Castle, her first ever appearance in a professional tournament.

Not that she can get any pay-day, no matter how well she does here. Coulter is still very much an amateur, on a golfing scholarship to Arizona State – a Sun Devils yardage book cover in her back pocket – and wearing the Golf Ireland green and the thoughts of life on the professional circuit is some time away.

Yet, there was much to admire about how she went about her business in the opening round of the Co Clare resort. Some context: Coulter was five-over par after 10 holes, her round going from bad to worse when a number of early bogeys were compounded with a double bogey on the 10th where she was in the water off the tee and then, in a bad lie, was unable to reach the green with her recovery.

On the short walk from the 10th green to the 11th tee, Coulter had a talk with herself.

“I needed that double on 10 to reset me. I freed up a bit. I kind of find it hard to reset after the bogeys but the double I reset totally . . . . in my head I was thinking, ‘there is nothing more I can do about this. I have nothing to lose’ and I was happy with that. I was a bit more aggressive.”

The upshot was a sight to behold, as she rebounded with three straight birdies. From two feet on the 11th after reaching the edge of the green in two with a hybrid. From two feet on the 12th, after a 9-iron approach. A nice putt on the 13th.

And a two-putt birdie on the 15th after reaching the green on the Par 4. A failure to get up and down after flying the green on the 17th was followed by that textbook birdie on the 18th to sign for a 73 and hope that her time in Dromoland will include the weekend before she flies back stateside to resume college life in Arizona come Monday.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times