Golf: Heraty is raising the stakes in pro ranks

Joe Heraty
Joe Heraty
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An ambitious young professional has turned to the stockmarket to help him forge a career in the cut-throat world of the paid ranks.

Joe Heraty, 23, of Leeds, is selling shares in himself to help fund his first full season as a professional.

Priced at £800 a share, Heraty is seeking 20 investors to help fund him through 15 events on the EuroPro Tour from next month and a further seven tournaments on the MENA Tour in the Middle East and North Africa in the autumn.

“I’m selling shares in myself to cover the costs,” said Heraty, the former Leeds Union and Yorkshire county player on his unique idea.

“I worked out that I will play in 22 events on the EuroPro Tour and the MENA Tour and would need around £16,000 for flights and accommodation etc.

“I broke it down to 20 shares at £800 each.

“At present I’ve got a few ‘investors’, enough to get me through to middle of the year, and hopefully I can get enough to see me through to the end.”

Players on the EuroPro Tour – a satellite circuit for the Challenge Tour and beyond – barely scrape enough together to survive the year, even if they are highly successful, and are reliant on sponsors to keep them competitive.

Heraty devised his novel way to approach his first year on the EuroPro Tour because at this early juncture of his career, playing competitively on a regular basis is more important than money.

“I did plenty of research on it,” added Heraty. “I spoke with Simon Hurd, whose been on Tour, and James Morrison at Moor Allerton and proposed a business plan and a sponsorship programme that I could put to people who were interested.

“There’s plenty for investors to get out of it as well, including pro-am days, lessons and clinics.

“All the shareholders get quite a large payout at the end, to the extent where it’s almost like an interest free loan.

“Investors get 80 per cent of anything I earn, and I pocket the rest. That may not sound like much of a return for me but in my first year I’m not too focused on the money at this stage of my career.

“Hopefully it can give me a big boost this year.

“Initially I did the investment programme more for close friends and family who were interested in helping me.

“But I’ve got a few from Abu Dhabi now as well.”

Heraty has close ties to the Middle East from his time spent as an assistant at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he now has an affiliation that grants him free practice and playing time at the revered club.

On turning professional last September, he went straight out to the region to play on the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) Tour where he made six cuts out of seven, finishing in the top 15 twice and consistently inside the top 30.

“I’ll definitely go back out there at the end of the year,” said Heraty, who then followed that up by winning his playing rights on the EuroPro Tour, the first event of a busy summer coming at Celtic Manor in Wales from May 13-15.

“I qualified the other week with a good category so can play in all the events, including the big four-day event here at Moor Allerton in August, which is one I am keen to do well in.”