LIVERPOOL fan Mark Ramsdale is pursuing his dream of reaching the European Tour – with a little help from Mersey football rivals Everton.
The Formby golfer saw his 2011 season wiped out by a serious wrist injury before battling his way back to reach next week’s second stage of qualifying school.
The 32 year-old’s rehabilitation has been helped along the way by the physio team at Goodison Park as he recovered from split tendons to rekindle his ambition of playing tournament golf at the highest level.
Since turning professional in 2004, Ramsdale has been a regular at Tour school but is making only his second appearance at the middle level, having last survived round one in 2007.
However he knows that if he can make final qualifying his prospects for 2013 can rapidly change from continuing to ply his trade on the mini tours to gaining a foothold on the Challenge Tour, at least.
“The dream of playing on the European Tour is what gets me going every morning, going to the gym or the practice ground and working on all aspects of my game,” he says. “I have spent this year trying to find some form after coming back from injury and it takes time to get it back. They told me the injury would only take three months or so to clear up, but I couldn’t hit the ball more than 10 or 15 yards so 2011 became a write-off. The physio team at Everton helped me a lot and I believe I am getting back to where I was.
“It was really painful and you do start to think bad things about the future, but it also helps put things in perspective.
“Now when things are going wrong on the course, I can appreciate how good it is just to be out there playing golf.”
Ramsdale, who has done some teaching work in Portugal to help pay the bills, still sees playing competitively as his priority.
“I want to be a tournament pro rather than a teaching pro, although that is something to fall back on,” he said. “I really love the buzz of being out there playing competitively.”
Ramsdale, who has also worked in a shop to maintain an income, is working with new coach Darren Hopwood at Penwortham and sports psychologist Lee Crombleholme, who has been such a positive influence on the career of Matthew Baldwin, a former Lancashire amateur teammate of Ramsden.
Baldwin made steady progress from the satellite tours to the main Tour after turning pro, but Ramsdale saw his first couple of seasons undermined by glandular fever.
Since recovering, he has been a regular on the EuroPro and 1836 tours and is a former winner on the now defunct Tamsel Tour, but admits that away from the non-stop calendar of the top players it is not always easy to find events that provide a sufficient standard of living.
But that has not deflected him from his chosen target.
“Tour School is my main focus of the year and I am trying to gear up my game so it is at its sharpest for these few weeks ,” he says. “I really want to play at the highest level I can.”