The Irish Girls Open Stroke Play takes place at Roganstown Hotel and Country Club from April 5th to 7th

A discussion on the use of breathing techniques and mindfulness in golf at a recent ILGU Warm Weather Training week in Desert Springs, Spain, is what Aine Donegan (Woodstock) has attributed to her improved mental game and a boost in form since the beginning of 2019.

“Donal [Scott] did a talk that week on breathing and mindfulness, which was really good. I’m doing mindfulness now nearly every day and I’ve really noticed the difference, even in school it helps so much.”

Donegan, who has just turned 17, travelled with a team of ILGU High Performance Coaches as part of the Horizon Performance Panel to Spain in February which she admits was a very productive week.

“The Warm Weather Training was really helpful, it was a really great week. You could go to all the coaches whenever you wanted, you’d full access to all of them and any questions you had they were there to answer. I learned so much from that week…I spent a good bit of time with Donal on the green and then a bit of time with Johnny [Foster] on my bunker play.”

Having begun the year with disappointing results at the Andalucía Cup and the Portuguese International Ladies Amateur, Donegan’s fortune turned as she claimed the Carlow Scratch Cup in early March shortly after returning home from Desert Springs.

“My mental game was a lot better going into Carlow. Even with the weather, which wasn’t ideal, I knew more or less half the field would be gone already mentally. I noticed the effects of the mindfulness I had been doing big time there and it paid off.”

“I have been working hard on improving my posture, particularly for my wedge play, and the effects of that are showing too also in my statistics.” 

The Ennis native will join 104 other players representing 15 countries to compete for the Irish Girls’ Open Stroke Play Championship at Roganstown Hotel and Country Club and despite missing the cut on her previous two attempts at the event. Donegan has outlined some specific goals to ensure she finishes where she wants to be.

“I’ve only recently started looking more closely at statistics so I’ll be looking to get my number of putts down to less than 30 a rounds which, from looking at Shots To Hole [a statistics analysis tool], would improve my scores by a huge amount.”

“The last two years I hit the ball to the wrong spots on the greens. I don’t think there is one green on the course that doesn’t have at least two tiers at Roganstown. On the practice days I am going to keep a good eye on where to hit it so that I have the easiest putt to specific pins and then be aware of holes where you don’t need to make birdie, just take par. I’m going to be strategic about it.”

In recent years it has been the International contingent who have been successful at the event. Ingrid Lindblad and Kajsa Arwefjall, both from Sweden, have taken the title on the last two occasions but Aine is confident that the first Irish win since Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) in 2015 could be written in the stars this year.

“I think there’s a good chance. All the Horizon girls are playing really well after Warm Weather Training and the first two scratch cups have been won by Horizon Panelists so I think there’s a really good chance, everyone is playing well and everyone’s practicing loads.”


Aine was also keen to express her thoughts on the 20×20 Campaign which she believes will make a big difference to the coverage of women and girls’ sports.

“When I was younger I used to ask, why there isn’t any girls’ sports on the TV! I played on lads GAA teams up until U14’s level as well so it would be nice to have more girls playing all sports.”

One third of the campaign aims to increase attendance at women’s sports events by 20% by 2020 and Donegan knows all about following her local women’s sports teams.

“A lot of my friends are playing for the county or play Rugby [for Ennis RFC] as well so I go to those matches when I can. One of my best friends plays for Munster Rugby so I would go to a few of her matches too. I think it’s brilliant, the amount of high profile people who have gotten involved with it [20×20] already is making a big difference.”

If you have pledged to attend more female sports events in 2019, why not visit Roganstown from April 5th to 7th to view some of Europe’s future stars compete. Entry is free and all are welcome.