I’d always fancied my chances of playing this beautiful game for a living having reached a single-figure handicap at the age of 16. That was until I discovered girls, clubs and student discounts.
So it was somewhat annoying when I caught up with 2010 Lee Westwood Trophy champion and England Golf sensation Ben Loughrey at The London Golf Club recently to learn he enjoys rolling in at silly o’clock after a stint in my favourite bar.
Only I quickly realised he’s there for an entirely different reason – to pave the way for a future pro career.
“I work as a bar tender at Vodka Revolution to help fund my golf,” revealed the 23-year-old from Wrag Barn Golf Club in Highworth.
“It helps that I really enjoy my job. I have to work a lot throughout the winter and in the summer, whenever I have week off golf, so I very rarely get a week off.”
Despite being rushed off his feet and strolling home in the early hours, Loughrey is still able to perform to a high standard on the course as was evident during his finest season-to-date in 2011.
Loughrey - who was introduced to the game as a youngster by his father, a head professional, and mother, a county champion (his brother Josh is also in the England A squad) - received his first full cap last May, won an international tournament in Australia and then helped Wiltshire become county champions for the first time in its 87-year history.
“Last year was incredible. I was selected for England against Spain and received my first full cap helping the side win 13½-10½. It was a dream come true and my family were very proud.
“I was later selected for the Home Internationals, which was a massive highlight as I won both my matches and held an undefeated singles record which I’m immensely proud of.”
Asked how he could possibly trump last season, as he looks on from the 123rd rung of the World Amateur Rankings following a seventh place at the Selbourne Salver and Hampshire Hog at the weekend, he replied with one word.
“I simply don’t want to finish outside the top-ten for the rest of the season. I have been struggling early season but have some positive things happening so I’m optimistic. I saw encouraging signs at the weekend.”
And just like the leading lights on the European Tour, which he hopes to join in the not too distant future, he’s got one eye on the majors.
“I am also aiming to win a major event this year. I am really looking forward to the Lytham Trophy and the Brabazon Trophy as they are both played around two of my favourite courses. And obviously, the British Amateur is a major highlight of the season, so I will be looking to play well there, for sure.
“On top of that, I will be trying my hardest to be selected for the European Team Championship and the Eisenhower Trophy for England, before representing GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy.
“That would really be the icing on the cake.”
Stay tuned for more from Loughrey as the season progresses.