When Rory Dixon went on a family holiday to Cornwall a few years ago, little did he know that he would come away with a new favourite sport.
It was his dad and brother who were the keen golfers in his family and up until five years ago Dixon was only interested in football. Fast-forward to the present day and the University of Lincoln student plays off a +1 handicap, hitting the Carholme Golf Club fairways with little effort.
Dixon explains that he only started to take golf seriously in his last year of secondary school: “I started to put a few more hours into practice and then began playing every day pretty much and just trying to develop, in turn trying to get my handicap down as low as I could.”
Going into his second year studying an undergraduate degree in sports business management, Dixon insists it can become hard to get on the golf course at the same time as focusing on achieving a good degree.
“There’s a few of us that take golf pretty seriously. Obviously a few of the lads are just here for a laugh and trying to drink, but there are three of us who take it pretty seriously and like to practice. It’s tough as well, obviously you don’t get that much work in the first year, but trying to keep your handicap as low as possible is hard when you’re trying to manage your time,” the 20-year-old said.
In June this year Dixon played the Brabazon Trophy Championship at the prestigious Royal Hoylake in Liverpool, which in 2006 hosted the British Open that was won by Tiger Woods.
He finished 114th out of 153 players, yet actually it was the experience of playing a top course that really mattered to the young golfing hopeful.
“It was a great experience. We had four days up there playing an Open Championship golf course where some of the best players in the world have played. It was just an unbelievable experience and such a difficult golf course and nothing like I’ve ever played before. It was just amazing.”
The major players in Rory’s golfing career to date have been his Dad and his brother Ashley, who played with him in the university golf team before he graduated this year. Playing alongside his older brother is something that the 20-year-old has thoroughly enjoyed and feels that he’s always been pushed further by his close family and friends.
He said: “I’ve been playing around five years now and the whole time I’ve had my brother and Dad, who have both always been better than me as well, which helped my game a lot. Obviously playing with them week in week out and them beating me all the time — I didn’t like that.
“So I was always looking to improve and to become better than them. I ended up playing more and more, and just really began to see better results especially over the summer holidays in my last few school years and then through to Sixth Form.
“While my brother was studying here and I was at home I came up and we played Woodhall Spa a couple of times. Then he said hopefully when I come to Lincoln I’d get into the golf first team in my first year and then we’d play together. Then actually it happened, in every match we went out in the first group together, I was first and he was second, we just really enjoyed it.”
Earlier this year the University of Lincoln golf team made it to the quarter finals of the UK university golf championship, which was held at St Andrews and was a moment that Dixon says he will cherish forever.
“We played the Eden course at St Andrews, which overlooks the St Andrews bay. It’s a pretty surreal experience really seeing it in March when everywhere else wasn’t in very good condition at all, and then we’re playing there on greens like marble and the tees are just brilliant, it was just amazing.”
Knowing that if he continues to progress his game he could be playing at courses such as St Andrews every week is something that helps to motivate Dixon.
With a smile on his face he added: “It certainly drives you. If you’re going to be playing at courses like that every week on the tour it certainly opens your eyes as well, to see where you could be in a few years and playing on that type of course was just incredible. He knows that while he’s at university it’s near impossible to majorly further his golf career, but he admits that he is quite happy to wait until he’s got a respectable degree and then start to head for the big time.
“The standard is that much better than the amateur game and the university work takes a lot out of you and then just competing at this level is pretty hard let alone going a few steps up.
“I’m still looking at the amateur tour at least until I come out of university. I’ll keep doing the amateur stuff maybe a couple of years after university, see where I am in the amateur game then hopefully go and get my European tour card or a PGA tour card and crack on from there, and see how far I can go.”Tweet