Life as a golf pro: It’s better than working in an office from 9 to 5

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It sounds like the ideal job - travelling around Britain and Europe playing golf. Plenty of people would do anything to spend every hour of every working day on the fairways.

For the past deacde, Bridlington’s Alex Belt has been a professional golfer, earning a living from the sport he loves.

Once again in 2013, he will be travelling all around the UK and Ireland on the Europro Tour, playing at some of the best courses in the country.

It sounds great, and anyone who plays golf for a hobby will be jealous of his lifestyle.

He admitted: “The best thing about being a golfer is travelling the world and seeing all sorts of cultures.

“Also, I like the instability income-wise and the challenge of working towards something that isn’t guaranteed, such as the European Tour card.

“I think that’s the bit that drives me personally to leave no stone unturned.

“Then if it doesn’t work out I can say to myself that I did everything I could in my power to get better without kidding myself.”

Being a professional golfer doesn’t come cheap. Finding sponsorship to fund everything gets harder by the year, and the entry into some of the more prestigious tournaments open to the 27-year-old can run into several hundreds of pounds.

Throw in travel and accommodation costs on top of that and you realise it is not just a case of banking all the cash you are able to win.

Belt said: “The downside is the physical aspect of travelling, whether its driving up and down the country or sat in airports.

“It seems to wear me out if I’m not careful.

“I reckon I clock up around 30,000 miles in my own car on average in eight or nine months of the year, as I’m generally away for three.”

2013 started with a spell in Spain, playing tournaments over there. Again, it sounds a wonderful way of getting away from the awful British winter weather which had played havoc with all golfers’ training plans.

Now, Belt is getting ready for the start of his busiest time of year.

He said: “As I said before I have no golf achievement goals. I’m just going to aim to prepare and play my best in each tournament.

“My real goals for 2013 are to manage my time in a way that allows time to reflect on performances, nutrition and all-round golf improvement, also to maintain a schedule that allows productive practice and not get mentally tangled up through over playing tournaments.

This year I suppose you could say that my mantra is ‘less is more’.

That slogan is not quite true of Oulton Hall, Belt’s Yorkshire base, which is situated between Leeds and Wakefield.

It is a Grade II listed, 18th century converted family mansion, which has an 18-hole course, a nine-hole course, a hotel, state-of-the-art spa, gym, award-winning restaurants and surroundings which make it clear that things don’t come cheap there.

As part of his attachment to the De Vere club, which has courses and hotels up and down the UK, Belt can take advantage of all their facilities.

He said: “The base I have at Oulton is perfect for a few reasons, the practice facilities and fantastic gym are all on site.

“Also it’s location is just off the motorway so it’s great for stopping over while in between tournaments. “

Life isn’t just about competitive golf though. As a professional golfer, Belt has learnt all about breathing techniques, how eyesight works and the psychology needed to give yourself the best chance of being successful at the highest level.

There are technical aspects to pay the closest detail to as well.

He said: “I have my equipment checked regularly in terms of the loft and lie angle, so the swing and weight of the clubs are all exact to how I want them.

“I work closely with a psychologist, a physio and a putting manufacturer company called Zen based in Sheffield. We all get together a couple of times a year and look to see how we can keep moving onwards and upwards.

“When training the obvious side of golf - hitting balls and practising putting - I try to split it into different areas of structured practice and if its relevant to upcoming courses I’m about to play.

It’s this attention to detail which separates the pros from those who fall by the wayside, but Belt appreciates the chance he has been given.

“If I wasn’t a golfer, although you wouldn’t tell if you met me but I’d probably have hoped to be a neurologist or some kind of mathematical analyst as I really enjoyed science and maths at school.

“Failing that I would have liked to have gone into the family business at Nicholas Belt estate agency.”

But with no offence to estate agents, when you compare life in a nine-to-five office to a career on the fairways, you can see why golf won.