HEAD professional Martin Smith is hoping to celebrate 25 years at Hartley Wintney Golf Club with success at the Senior PGA Professional Championship.
Smith is one of 195 pros who will be competing for the Bernard Hunt Memorial Trophy at the Senior PGA Professional Championship at Foxhills Resort next week.
The 55-year-old cut his competitive teeth in the early 1980s, alongside the likes of Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam, when he combined club pro duties with playing.
“It was the era of Monday qualifying, when club pros would juggle working, teaching and playing so it was difficult to get enough time to play,” Smith said.
“I think those three were the benchmark at the time. They were full time and didn’t have the distraction of having to work at golf clubs and just played for a living.”
The days of pre-qualifying are long gone but Smith relishes his role as head professional at Hartley Wintney, which has expanded from a nine to an 18-hole course in his time.
“It’s such a varied role which has changed dramatically over the 25 years,” Smith added. “I sit on several committees and also run all the society and corporate golf for the club plus club fitting, teaching and the retail business. I enjoy the variety.”
Despite his passion for Hartley Wintney, Smith is looking forward to competing in the 54-hole tournament, which carries a prize fund of £38,000.
He said: “I haven’t played Foxhills for a long time so I’m hoping to get a practice round in to reacquaint myself.
“I compete so little these days so I just hope I can hit a bit of form on the first few days and make the cut.
“That would be success for me, but either way I plan to enjoy it and look forward to catching up with a few familiar faces.”