Golf: Sawgrass experience a real tonic for Denison

Sawgrass is one of the most picturesque places to play golf in the world, and a target that many a Tour professional aspires to compete at.

By Nick Westby
Wednesday, 3rd April 2013, 5:22 pm
Danny Denison.
Danny Denison.

Danny Denison readily accepts he is a long way from joining the planet’s elite in the annual gathering at the renowned TPC course every May for one of the more glamorous of the game’s event.

But in order to give himself the best possible chance of one day reaching those heights, the 28-year-old from Morley will be playing Sawgrass over the coming days as he bids to combat a long spell of inactivity.

Denison heads to Florida today for a 12-day sunshine break to help overcome a wrist injury and a slow start to the Challenge Tour calendar.

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“I’m just going out to get some golf in the sunshine under my belt,” said Denison, who slipped back to Europe’s second-tier circuit after one unproductive season on the European Tour.

“The guy I’m going with knows a guy who can get us in at Sawgrass so I’m really looking forward to playing TPC. It will be a real novelty factor playing Sawgrass.”

Despite the weather, and the fact that he is not in action again on the Challenge Tour until he heads to Madrid in three weeks, an expensive jaunt across the pond could be seen as a luxury he can ill afford.

After all, Denison has earned just 917 euros (£778) so far from the one cut he has made from two tournaments.

But Denison said: “I’m more than happy spending the money to go to America because I know it’s going to benefit me more than sitting at home waiting for the snow to thaw out.

“It’s an investment in myself. That’s the way I see it.

“I’m not playing the Challenge Tour this year to make a bundle of cash. The bottom line is to make enough to cover my expenses. The main goal is getting back on to the European Tour.”

To that end he has linked back up with the coach who helped him on the road to a life in golf when he was a young boy, Graham Walker.

Walker, the head professional at The Oaks in York, is also the English Golf Union’s lead coach and has been a great help down the years for Denison.

“We are getting my short game back together, but it’s taking a while to be honest,” said Denison of the work they have done since reuniting at the turn of the year.

“Graham’s been instilling a bit more confidence back in my short game, which is helping.

“That work feeds into my long game, because with all the work you’re doing from 50 metres to 100 metres out, it’s just an extension of that.”

After that 12-day break in Florida, Denison gets into the thick of the Challenge Tour’s summer programme with back-to-back events in Madrid and Venice from April 24.

“If I can keep my wrist healthy and my work ethic high then I’ll be able to enjoy it,” said Denison, who is also hoping to get into the co-sanctioned Saint-Omer Open in June when the chance to earn the bigger money comes along.

“It’s been frustrating with the inactivity and this wrist issue, although that has meant this poor weather has been quite good timing for me.

“I’ve been trying to take it easy with the wrist, I’ve played a couple of pro-ams.

“That’s why this America trip will be so important.”