Since we’re exploring the world of amateur golf currently, who better to ask than an amateur golfer themselves? Meet Louis Birchall, who was crowned amateur golf champion of Staffordshire a few years ago, and current sits 3664th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. We spoke to Louis about how he came to be an amateur golfer, and what the future holds.
Louis, at what age did you start playing golf?
I started swinging a club in my back garden when I was around 7 years old, later joining Stafford Castle Golf Club when I turned 9.
What made you start playing golf?
My dad got me into the game, he was already a member at Stafford Castle and after showing me the basics we used to sneak onto the golf course at night (our house is only a 2-minute walk from the 3rd tee) just so I could play a couple of holes. It clearly worked!
What is your Current Handicap?
Plus 3 (+3)
How difficult would you say is it to become a pro golfer?
It isn’t difficult turning pro if your handicap is low enough, as you just notify the R&A of your change of playing status.
The real difficulty is being a successful pro. That means gaining a tour status, generating the money to compete and finally, making a living from the game. The cost of travelling, lodging and entrance fees sometimes amounts to more than the winnings you make on lower tours, so getting a tour card for either the Europro Tour or Challenge Tour is crucial. From these Tours, if your game is good enough, you can gain a promotion to the next tour and ultimately the European Tour.
Is the plan to pursue pro golf directly after university?
The plan at the minute is wide open. I am unsure to whether my game will be sharp enough to enter tour school this November as my priority up to October has been my Masters Degree. Also, the costs/expenses of the pro game is another obstacle which will have to be sorted as I do not have the money to accommodate these costs currently. I shall be playing this by ear.
Will you be using/already have a coach?
Yes, I have been coached by Michael Beaumont since I was 12 years old. I have studied with other coaches through England Training and had a specific golf coach during my 4 years playing college golf at the University of Akron, but Mike has always been my swing coach who I have passed any new ideas through.
What is the ultimate ambition?
Firstly, to gain a tour card and to progress to a ranking which enables me to play in majors. From there, (as any golfer in the world would say) winning a major would have to be the ultimate ambition.
What are your plans for the next year?
As mentioned above, the focus for this year has been my Masters degree. In terms of the golf in the future, I shall be taking this step by step and seeing whether I have the game to compete as well as the financial backing.
Do you have golf insurance? How important do you think golf insurance is?
The whole team was put on a plan when I was in America playing college golf. The university paid for our insurance as we were constantly travelling.
Naturally, it’s a good idea to have insurance especially with the cost of clubs nowadays. I wouldn’t want to think about how much it would be to replace my current set of clubs if they were to be lost or stolen!
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