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TGtS Meets...Ian Bolt
Basset Down's Ian Bolt sat down with us to chat all things golf.
Tell us a little bit about how you got your start?
I started golf when I was 13 years of age at Anstruther Golf Club in Fife, Scotland. My first handicap was 12 and I won the Men’s club championship at the age of 16. I spent most of my time during the summer holidays on the golf course and by the time I reached the age 16 I had made up my mind that I wanted to become a Golf Professional. I wrote to the PGA at the Kennington Oval and put my name on a beginners list. One week later I received an invitation from David Haslam the professional at the Swindon Golf Club to become his assistant.
Why did you decide to pursue golf as a career?
Golf was something that I felt that I was potentially good at. On turning professional my wage was £1 a week plus full board and lodging (1969).
Describe a typical day for you and how much your job changes from day-to-day.
My working week is Friday through to Tuesday. Although I teach every day, my busiest two days are Monday and Tuesday. Tuesdays are a particularly busy because this is when I take the Ladies Clinic. Over the years it's built up into a very popular session. My duties at weekends incorporate working in the clubhouse, as well as coaching.
What have been your career highlights – playing or employment?
When I played in British Open 1974 and made the cut. Winning the West region PGA Golfer of the year twice and winning the Millennium Championship twice with scores of 68 and 67.
What do you enjoy most about working at Basset Down?
The thing I enjoy most is teaching - my regular pupils and new ones. I enjoy meeting people and the interaction with our members. I have always enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life who have golf as a common denominator.
What kind of training do you do to improve your game?
In my early days as a professional and indeed until my early 50s I put total faith in David Haslam and consulted him on a regular basis to keep my game in the best shape possible. I credit him for all the success I have had. Over the last 5 years my playing opportunities have become more limited and although I thoroughly enjoy golf, I realise that I am unlikely to be able to compete against the youth of today.
Which is more important technique or power?
A good technique will always overcome power. However a good short game is one of the biggest requirements to becoming a good player.
How does someone go about choosing golf clubs? What do you look for in clubs?
I am one of Ping Europe’s leading independent custom fit Golf Club advisors. I regularly take clients to Ping Europe’s Headquarters in Lincolnshire to find them the best equipment possible. Once a pupil has been fitted for the correct clubs the likelihood of strong improvement is almost a given.
What advice would you give young people striving to become a professional golfer?
Should a young player want to become a teaching professional or club professional they have a certain path to take. However a lot of youngsters have the dream of playing at the highest level. The standard required at this level is now truly amazing and it is my job to appraise the youngster’s honestly and to avoid the disappointment of not achieving this level. However there are many opportunities available around golf and becoming a good player will often help you get one of these jobs.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a day off?
Now I’m older I enjoy a rest on my days off and have become a fair weather golfer. I enjoy going home to Scotland to see my mum on my time off and appreciate my home country all the more for its history and beauty.
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