King’s Lynn’s Luke looking to continue his rise in the professional game

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The life of a golfer requires more than a powerful drive and accurate putting as Lynn’s Luke Johnson has found out going into his second year as a professional.

It can be a long and tedious road at times but Johnson wouldn’t change it for the world as he prepares for the season ahead.

“I thought it was going to be a little bit easier than what it has been,” admitted Johnson, who tees off his latest pro campaign at Newcastle next week.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve had to get my head around is keeping the business part of it aside from the golf.

“I’ve had to develop a great set of skills to market myself. Obviously I have people around me but a lot of it is self-driven.

“I also had to reconstruct my swing and that was a massive risk in my first year as a living.

“It was a poor year for scoring but a great year for learning. A lot of my work now has moved from the practise area to actually on the course.

“I’ve done the skill set to change my technicals. This year I want to get back into scoring as that’s obviously where I earn my money.”

The sport is as much mental as it is physical and Johnson works daily at mastering both ends of the spectrum.

He has quickly discovered the many differences between the amateur and professional games, not least of all the gap in cost.

“My expenses as an amateur were probably between £14,000 and £15,000 a year but this year my projected costs are likely to be between £20,000 and £25,000,” he said.

“My expenses are huge and I was overwhelmed by the costs you incur straight away.

“If I have seven events in a row you’re looking at £2100 in expenses and that’s just for entry fees. You have to deal with the money side of it.

“I’m trying to market myself more and get local companies supporting me from Lynn. I’m lucky to have a few on board, but I’m always looking for more.”

But support, in all forms, have never been far away for the 24-year-old, who dedicated himself to the sport over football despite spending several years playing for Norwich City Academy.

Johnson said: “Obviously my family and my girlfriend have been mega for me, but sponsors like King’s Lynn Website Design, Russen and Turner, a new one for me this season, and Sam O’Callaghan at the Norfolk Building Company are a real help.

“It’s good to have Mark Lock (Russen and Turner) and his team on board and behind me.

“I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them. I’m a loyal person back and if I can help make the companies who sponsor me grow then I feel like it’s a win-win situation for both parties.”

The youngster also has a close-knit support team behind him, making sure that he is fully prepared for whatever the game can throw at him.

“My main mentor is Brian Underwood, who has been with me since I was 17,” said Johnson.

“He’s been like a second father to me. If I have ever had a problem I’ve been able to turn to him.

“Jeremy Allen has been the as the eyes and ears over me and I have a great psychologist in Dave Woolley, who is based at Middleton.

“I’ve been back with him about eight or nine months now and he has got me back to me thinking the right way.”

Success has never been far away for the former King Edward VII pupil, who celebrated his first tournament victory as a pro on the Gecko Tour at the start of last year.

Played at the Los Naranjos Golf Club and La Quinta Club, in Marbella, Johnson, who led from the opening day, finished three shots clear of a strong field.

His 2017 plans have also been boosted by signing a deal with a major management company.

“I’ve just signed with Black Star Management, which is a big step as they can open doors for you,” he admitted.

“They have guaranteed me a certain amount of events and while I was in Egypt I earned my own place to the Prague Masters in July.

“On the back of that, I’ve obviously got the Europro Tour where the aim is to finish in the top five in the Order of Merit.

“Potentially I could earn nine to 10 Challenge Tour starts which could help get me my full ranking for next year.

“It’s about playing my way into new doors really but for me to do that I have to put the results on the board.

“The rest weeks are as important as the playing weeks. It’s easy to get stuck in momentum where your playing and you want to keep going, but it’s a 12-month season and I need to make sure I stay fresh.

“I’m playing really well and have trained hard. I want to get back out there now.”

To catch up with all of Luke’s progress, visit: www.lukejohnsongolf.com