Chris Hanson: Aiming for the topJanuary, 2012
We meet the talented and ambitious new EuroPro Tour No.1
What is the EuroPro?
ONCE upon a time Ross Fisher and Louis Oosthuizen played on the EuroPro Tour. Founded in 2001 it is a partnership between the PGA and Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport.
For the top five, it is a stepping stone to the Challenge Tour and top of this year’s tree was Chris Hanson.
The 26-year-old started 2012 playing on a local Alliance tour and finished with three wins and a place in Chubby Chandler’s ISM stable.
The art of winning
You had three wins, two where you also won the pro-am. How seriously do you take them?
It’s a great opportunity to have a competitive practice round.
Even though I am trying different clubs and learning the way to plot my way around the course you are still trying to score which is the key to playing good golf.
Has there been a specific reason for such an improvement this year?
My bad shots have become a lot better and are not as destructive.
For me that is how players should improve. Galgorm Castle stood out the most. I had family there, played great and it was run like a European Tour event.
I also hit two of the best shots of my life in the play-off.
The finances of tour life
There are not enormous riches on the EuroPro Tour. Was it a difficult decision to play it?
Not at all, I’ve wanted to play on the European Tour for years and the top 20 on the Challenge Tour Order Of Merit gain a tour card. So to play the EuroPro Tour and finish top five gets you that step closer.
How are you supported by sponsors?
I am fortunate to have some great relationships with many of the top companies. They either help me out financially or with equipment and they make it so much easier for me to just focus on my game.
I can’t thank John Letters, Stromberg, FMG Support, Glenbrae and Woodsome Hall enough for their support.
Dealing with setbacks
You led by five at Collingtree Park in 2009 but finished with an 81 – how long do these setbacks take to deal with?
They take a while, you do think about them but it’s well and truly gone now. I’ve had so many good results since then and matured as person and a golfer. I’m never one to get too down about bad results, worse things are happening out there in the world than me making a mess down the last hole.
Have you ever been close to giving up?
Never. I have the best job in the world and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to play a sport I love around the world. Everyone has up and downs but I would rather be struggling in the rain on a golf course than sat in an office.
Making the most of his time
How do you split your time between events/teaching and working in the pro shop?
I did start my PGA training a few years back but it’s now on hold as I concentrate full time on my playing ambitions. I want to be a European Tour player and to do that you can only have one focus.
What is the plan for the Challenge Tour and is there a big difference in standard to the EuroPro Tour?
I played at the second stage of Qualifying School but that didn’t work out so the plan is to play a full schedule on the Challenge Tour with the aim to finish in the top 15.
I appreciate that it’s a learning curve but I believe I’m doing a lot of the right things to progress next year. There is a lot of strength in depth on the Challenge Tour but I believe the guys at the top of the EuroPro Tour can compete and win on the Challenge Tour.
Names to look out for on the Europro Tour for 2012?
A friend who follows results very closely tips Billy Hempstock to win soon. I think Zane Scotland will get back on the main stage soon and I would really like to see George Woolgar progress, he works so hard and is one of the nicest guys.
The relief of winning after five years on the EuroPro.
Not really. I knew I could win and would win again at some point. I’m pretty laid back and a pretty patient guy so I just kept doing what I knew worked and continued to work hard on my game.
Having a full-time caddy.
It’s a massive help. Steve (Tooby) does a fantastic job and is the most professional caddy I have ever seen. A top 10 player in the world would snap up his services. I guess only 10 per cent of the players have someone on the bag so it’s a big help.
In Chris’ bag
Driver: Callaway FT Tour
Irons: John Letters Master Model
Putter: John Letters Golden Goose
Ball: Titleist ProV1x
Glove: J Letters Players