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Tour star Affleck changes course

PAUL Affleck moves in as club professional on April 1 - no fooling!

PAUL Affleck moves in as club professional on April 1 - no fooling!

The high-profile appointment may come as a surprise to many but the former European Tour star is deadly serious.

Little more than a year ago Affleck, who twice represented Wales in the Dunhill Cup, decided that he'd had enough after a decade of competing at the top.

"I'd become very disenchanted," he admitted. "It was a dog-eat-dog world out there. Players would ask you what you shot, but nine out of ten were not really interested and the other would wish it was one more than him!"

Now Affleck, 35, with career earnings a few quid short of half-a-million, plans to channel his experiences on tour into his new role.

"In truth I always wanted to be a club pro from the day I joined the PGA as a trainee at Heswall, but as I got better as a player I took that route instead," he said.

"I won the Leeds Cup in 1989 and played in the Open the same year, which spurred me on to play the Challenge Tour. I won that in 1992 and joined the main circuit.

"It was just a progression and I had a good ranking that got me into most events. I suppose the Dunhill Cup was the highlight of my career. I played with Ian Woosnam and my very first match was against Nick Price, who was number two in the world at that time. That was a great experience."

Chester-based Affleck's most lucrative year was in 1996 when he picked up £97,000 and the following season saw his best finish when he was second in the Madeira Island Open.

"I could have carried on with the Tour because I had a ranking for playing in the Dunhill Cup but I decided I did not enjoy competing day in, day out to earn a living.

"It's a very fine line between winning a lot of money and not getting enough to cover your expenses, which happens to a lot of guys.

"Players like Phil Archer and Gary Houston do well in the region then spend about £25,000 trying to establish themselves on Tour. But it takes two or three years to build up the experience to start making some money."

Affleck could have played in Madeira in this year's tournament but he admitted that when he went back there last year it confirmed his feelings that he had made the right decision to quit.

"In time I would like to become known as a coach rather than a player," he said with unshakeable conviction.

"I have the knowledge from one of the best teachers there is, Alan Thompson, who I worked with at Heswall.

"He's got a great reputation and has looked after many players, including Jamie Donaldson and Sandeep Grewal.

"Heyrose is a progressive club and the teaching facilities are being updated in the next few months. It's a great challenge. I feel I have spent all those years touring to find myself and feel I can blend everything together in a complete package."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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