A STAFFORD golfer on a sports scholarship in the USA is aiming to get on the green with a professional career after a storming year in 2013.
Louis Birchalll, 19, has been studying at the University of Akron in Ohio in the USA for the last 12 months on a golf scholarship he was awarded in 2010.
Louis told the Newsletter that being part of the tight-knit team of Akron athletes – nicknamed Zips - who regularly travel the country to support each other in competition, had helped him a stressful first year away from home.
He said the move from Stafford to Akron could have a major effect on anyone’s golf game and having to adjust to the warmer weather, harder courses and faster conditions, had not been an easy transition.
“I would say I know what to expect now,” said Louis. “A lot of the tournaments we play will be returning to the same courses and experiencing a full year out there stands me in good stead for next year.”
2013 was a successful year for Louis who capped his achievements by being crowned the Staffordshire Amateur Champion at Oxley Park in Wolverhampton, with a second round, course record-breaking 61.
“If you get the ball in play off the tee at Oxley, you can attack the greens, which is what I did,” said Louis, speaking after his victory. “Nearly every putt I hit dropped, my playing partners were just laughing.
“It was quite easily my best round of golf to date.”
While Louis admits he had a solid 2013 he said he would like to show more consistency in 2014 despite recent statistics putting him in the top 10 of driving accuracy nationally amongst collegiate golfers with 90% of fairways hit.
“I achieved a lot last year; it was a good year for making progress and setting the foundations for bigger success,” said Louis. “When looking towards next year I would like to build on the performances of last year, and be able to challenge for events at a more consistent level.”
Louis will enter 2014 as defending Staffordshire Amateur Champion as well as Ingestre Park Club Champion, but he admits he may not get the chance to retain his titles.
“I will have to go into those tournaments with the same mind set as before, but the bigger tournaments are the main focus next year and my schedule will be made around those.”
While 2014 holds a lot of promise for the Ingestre Park golfer, who is hoping to challenge for his first collegiate win, Louis insists improving his game is vital to taking the next step.
Louis’ first tournament of the New Year is in Mobile, Alabama.