Padraig Harrington and Peter Lawrie cut the ribbon for the reopening of the Spawell Golf Centre. Picture: Thos Caffrey / Golffile

THE Spawell Golf Centre and Driving Range in Templeogue reopened last Friday under the new management of former tour professional, Peter Lawrie.

The four-time winner on the European Tour has taken over the facility under a lease from Dublin GAA, owners of the 35-acre Spawell site.

Lawrie and long time European Tour colleague and now Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington was on hand to cut the ribbon on the new venture.

Lawrie was born in the Templeogue area, going to school in Terenure College, and this marks his latest venture since stepping away from the touring life.

“I was driving over to see my Mum and Dad and I saw the sign that Carr Golf were closing down the driving range, so I made a few phone calls and Dublin GAA were looking for a tenant to run the driving range on a short term basis,” he said.

“I did a deal with them and I have taken a lease for nearly three years, which will possibly stretch to five.

“We will see what happens but I have put a lot of work into it to get it up and running. I have really got my hands dirty.”

In September 2016, he announced his retirement from the European Tour at the end of the season to take up a position as a golf professional in Luttrellstown Castle golf club

This latest move, though, is one which is close to his heart.

“This place is really close to my heart. I remember my Dad bringing me here to the late pro Peter O’Connor for lessons in the mid-80s.

“The Kennedy family ran it for years and did a great job with it and it has long been regarded as one of the best driving ranges in Ireland.

“I will be hands on and will be delighted to pass on tips to visitors at no extra cost.

“I have gotten a lot out of golf and it is nice to be able to give something back.

“For everyone who knows me, they are all welcome and hopefully we can give them a good experience” said Lawrie.

The driving range has been given a complete facelift and will feature brand new mats and brand new golf balls.

The Golf Centre will have a club fitting room, run by Johnny Dignam, where people can get shafts and grips fitted, clubs repaired or get measured up for new golf clubs. There will also be a fully stocked golf shop.

Lawrie also plans to introduce Toptracer technology to the 14 upstairs driving bays for private hire to individuals or corporate clients, who are looking for something different other than a regular driving range.

Players can play different golf courses on the Toptracer and have their shots tracked, with all the data going back to their mobile phone.

Among the professionals lined up to provide lessons at the Centre are Tim Rice, Colm Moriarty and Brendan McDaid, who will be returning to Spawell having worked there in the past.