Gareth Wright’s sporting credentials include playing short tennis for Wales, county rugby and football at Everton’s School of Excellence but it’s his golfing prowess that will be on display at Wentworth this week.
The West Linton head PGA pro qualified for the €5million BMW PGA Championship after winning the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey and is relishing a second appearance at the European Tour’s flagship event.
Fellow Tartan Tour regulars Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo) and Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) will also be in action having each bagged one of the 10 spots at the PGA Play-Offs which determine which PGA pros get the chance to line up against the likes of new Masters’ champion Danny Willett.
For Wright, who once as a young schoolboy played a short tennis exhibition in the tented village at Wimbledon, the prospect of teeing up in front of thousands of golf fans at the famed West Course in Surrey is one of the pinnacles for any club pro.
“It is a very special event, it’s why every PGA Member plays in the regional Order of Merits to try and qualify for the PGA Play-Offs and to get a place at Wentworth,” said Wright who was a key member of Great Britain & Ireland’s victorious PGA Cup team in California last year.
“It’s a big buzz playing with lots of people watching, it’s nice to get out and play golf in that atmosphere in front of large galleries.”
Wright, a serial PGA winner including victories in the PGA Professional Championship and Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship, now juggles playing with a busy role as head pro but is always eager to learn from the best.
“I think all the guys that play on tour, you need to try and learn from what they are doing,” he added.
“They are doing it week in and week out and making a successful living from it. I think there is always something to learn watching these guys, whether it’s small or big - there is always something.
“I love to play a bit on the Challenge Tour and the main tour – that’s always the goal. I’ve got a couple of Challenge Tour events and the British Masters to come.”
While Wright can look forward to pitting his skills against some of the leading lights on tour such as Willett, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, he is anticipating the challenge of the West Course too.
“Wentworth is a fantastic test of golf, it examines every part of your game. It’s long and it is a tough golf course – you have to have you’re A-game.
“It works to my advantage to be able to hit the ball a long way - as long as you can hit it straight.”