KENDAL personal trainer Graham Parsons is preparing to take his place in Europe’s largest pro-am tournament little more than a year after stepping onto a golf course for the first time.
The 21-year-old Cardiff Metropolitan University graduate had never struck a golf ball anywhere other than a driving range until a PGA Professional visited a facility close to his university.
Persuading him to take his interest in the game to the next level, Parsons has since flourished and struck six off his handicap since joining Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club.
He also picked up the Lombard Trophy club qualifying event to claim a place alongside the club’s PGA pro Kieron Gaskell in the regional final at Lindrick on July 7.
The tournament, which has a total prize fund of £80,000, features 16 regional events with the winner of each invited to play in the grand final over Gleneagles’ King’s Course in September.
Despite having the lure of playing at such an historic venue just days before it stages the Ryder Cup, Parsons is keen to remain grounded ahead of only his second competitive appearance.
“Gleneagles is something that we have mentioned,” he said.
“It would be good and of course the aim is to make it to the final but we know that first we have to go to Lindrick and play well.
“I joined the club last November and since then I’ve been growing in confidence all the time. As long as the right Graham turns up on the day I think we have a good chance!
“I played in a few winter events and then in a pro-am more recently where I feel I did okay – it’s just been about making as much time to practise as possible so far.”
Parsons met his coach Sam Matthews at Oxenholme Driving Range last January and enquired about the possibility of golf lessons as he looked to get a foothold in the game.
Fast-forward to the present day and Matthews is extremely proud of the progress made by his protégée and believes a golfing gem could well have been unearthed.
“Graham has had regular tuition with me since taking up the game, attending and indeed winning my Skills League during the pre-season months,” said Matthews.
“He has also played winter open events at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club and scored a best round of 76 gross, and is now part way through his first season as a golf club member.
“Graham gained a first handicap of 16 which he has now nearly halved and has had five first-place finishes already so it’s fair to say he’s got off to a good start.
“As we continue to work through the performance programme I currently have in place, I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds for his golf, as he has the potential to be a superb talent.”