International golfer Ashton Turner will swap the chill Lincolnshire winter for Australian sun next month as he begins a big year in his exciting career.
The Kenwick Park golfer will play in four events of the Australian Tour, starting with the Australian Master of Amateurs Champimnship in Melbourne next Wednesday (Janury 6).
The 19-year-old travels Down Under as part of a four-man England men’s elite squad who will compete as individuals on the tour to gain experience and tournament sharpness ready for next season.
They will also compete at the Australian Men’s Amateur in Victora from January 12 to 17 and the Lake Macquarie Amateur from January 21 to 24 before ending the tour at the New South Wales Amateur.
Turner said: “Being part of the (England) squad you get all of the training durign the winter and access to the best coaching around. It’s priceless.
“They want the England players to get good results over there and get themselves noticed and keep playign over the winter.
“It’s goign to be an awesome experience.”
Turner made his England debut aged 15 with the under 16s and has worked his way through the national age group squads.
He made his senior elite bow this year at the England versus Spain international and went on to feature in the European Team Championships and home nations tournament.
“I had got used to playing team championships at boys’ golf, but this is a whole different level and set-up,” he added.
“The standard of men’s golf is a lot better. There are a lot of people fighting for first place now rather than havign a runaway leader so it’s never over until the last day.”
Turner, from Alford, was delighted with his start to a 2015 season which included victory in the Darwen Salver, a top five finish at the Spanish Amateur Championships and sixth place at the prestigious Lytham Trophy.
But like most golfers, amateur and professional, he is always aiming for greater consistency, particularly with the putter.
“My target at the start of the year was to get into the elite squad,” he said. “Luckily I had a really quick start to the year and was the first out of the boys’ squad to get a place.
“The rest of the season was okay, but it was bad compared to where I like to see myself. The middle of the year was average, but I finished the year well.”
Turner took up the game as a two-and-a-half year toddler and joined his father as a Kenwick Park member at the age of six.
The early grounding in the sport seems to be paying dividends, but as a top young amateur, queries about turning pro will never be far away.
On the course, Turner seems to be within touchign distance of his ultimate aim, but there are also practical business considerations to be met first.
“I went to Tour School this year to test myself and see what the standard was like,” he said.
“I got through the first stage and then shot eight under and missed out by two.
“I didn’t hit my best form for the whole week, but I wasn’t far away, so I just need a couple more years’ experience and see what happens.
“I haven’t set a date with it. You need the tour starts under your belt to make a name for yourself, otherwise you will always be struggling to make a living.
“For the time being I want to have a really good amateur season, get noticed by the right agencies and get those tour starts.”