Golf: Turning pro gives Neil Henderson new drive

Neil Henderson
Neil Henderson
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Lothians’ latest recruit to pro golf made the switch after he found amateur golf was no longer getting the juices flowing.

“I had lost the motivation to play in amateur events,” said Neil Henderson.

He was a Glen member when he won the Scottish Junior Champion of Champions in 2007 but is now based at The Renaissance Club.

“I had played in them for six years and, though I still enjoyed the big amateur events, I didn’t have motivation for the 72-hole Order of Merit tournaments played over two days.”

The 23-year-old, who lives in North Berwick, has wasted no time getting his new career up and running, winning a testimonial pro-am at Dunblane New for retiring club pro Robert Jamieson.

Next week Henderson is in action on the PGA EuroPro in the last of that circuit’s four visits to Scotland this season at Montrose and he is gearing up for a crack at qualifying for the third-tier Alps Tour later in the year.

“I felt that turning pro would give me a fresh outlook on things and thankfully I was right,” he added.

“In the last two weeks since I made the switch, I have enjoyed practising for full days and going to the gym a lot more and I am once again excited to play in tournaments.

“I am 24 in October, so I thought it would be the right time to give it a go and follow my dream of one day playing on Tour.”

Henderson already has experience of playing competitively abroad from his spell at the Old Dominion University in Virginia. “I had a great time on a golf scholarship in America and I always felt like I would turn pro at the end of summer 2013, so I didn’t see any point in delaying it any longer,” he said.

“The amateur game is expensive and at least as a pro if you go and play well there is an opportunity to start making a living out of it.

“I am playing the EuroPro tour event at Montrose next week, then I’m going to sit down and do some work on getting sponsors for the 2014 season as its not possible to fund it on your own without the backing of people who are willing to take a chance on you, as much as you believe in yourself.

“This time would be a good time to try and find sponsors as I don’t have much on during October and November and feel like these months would be a perfect time.

“I am going to Alps Tour qualifying in December, which I am very excited about. I haven’t played La Cala for about eight years but I will go out a week early with one of my college team-mates and get some extra practice in on the courses.

“I will try and go out to my parents house in Florida in January for a few weeks and maybe play some of the Egolf and NGA tour events there for some warm weather practice before the start of the 2014 season, and then I shall hopefully play on the Alps Tour and if not then maybe EuroPro.

“I will be working hard with Alex Woods at Golf Fit over the winter to try and gain that crucial 15 yards off the tee and I have been working with Sandy Smith at Ladybank on a few things.

“My confidence is getting quite high as I have been hitting it a lot more consistently and am now working hard on my putting as well to ensure I am holing the putts when I need to.”