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Charlie Bags a Biggie...

If starting ‘em young and an appetite for hard work is a key secret to success, then Charlie Daughtrey’s future should be bright.

The Rotherham golfer, 23, had a major amateur career breakthrough in lifting the prestigious Berkhamsted Trophy to get the 2024 season underway. Still, given that he’s been wielding a golf club for nigh on 22 of his 23 years, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

“I first started playing golf when I was 14 months old,” he laughed. “I was an early walker and dad bought me a plastic golf club for my first birthday.”

Charlie likes laughing – he’s a character who’s become a key man in Yorkshire skipper David Appleyard’s team of County Champions. He’s usually first out alongside his Lindrick pal Tom Osborne.

Young Charlie played his first round aged three at Phoenix Golf Club in his home village of Brinsworth, where he became a junior member at five and joined Rotherham Golf Club aged eight – where he’s been ever since. In fact Charlie has just joined his home club’s greenkeeping team from his former day job at Waterfront Golf – which is a key part of his plan for the future.

Golf wasn’t a particular sporting theme in the Daughtrey family, though his dad played cricket to a good standard, and although Charlie enjoyed his schoolboy football until about 12, golf was the constant. It’s easy to understand why.

He got down to a 9-handicap at the age of 9 and played for the County under 16s before becoming a teenager – he made his senior Men’s county debut at 14, the age he got down to scratch. “I’m in my 9th year of representing the men!” said the 23-year-old.

He won the US Kids European Championships three times for his age group, first at Gullane aged eight when he came fourth in the World Kids Championships at Pinehurst, then the Europeans again aged 12 and 13.

The weather reduced the Berkhamsted Trophy to 54 holes and he ended up playing his last five second round holes right before the final 18 when he was in the second last group out.

“The first couple of holes I was asking the guy who was doing the scoring for score updates,” he said. “It wasn’t necessarily affecting my game but I was getting a bit twitchy, so I thought ‘forget that, stop asking and just concentrate on one shot at a time.’ You can only control your game at the end of the day.

“The course is tree-lined with gorse to either side so you had to be pretty accurate off the tee which luckily I was. They don’t have bunkers at Berkhamsted, instead there are mounds of long grass, so you could get some nasty lies.

“Most of my game was good, accurate off the tees, my iron play was consistent, and when I missed the green my chips were mostly good. There were a few that weren’t so good but I managed to clean up well with the putter. I didn’t miss anything I shouldn’t have, really.”

Back in Yorkshire he and regular county partner Osborne had a 3-up win over Adam Walker and Crow Nest Park and ex-Fixby pro James Edwards, the pair of them a combined 11-under round Ganton.

“It’s a good feeling because obviously with them being pro you can compare yourself with their games, so obviously that’s a big confidence booster at the start of the season, to know that I can compete with the pros moving forward.”

Reflecting on the secret to his current success, Daughtrey added: “When I turned 18 I lost a bit of love for the game and I was sort of playing just because I was good at it, if you can say that.

“I changed coach to Gareth Davies at Abbeydale and from the first lesson, almost with a click of the fingers, it transformed my game and boosted my confidence.

“After we won the County finals [at Southport & Ainsdale] I had a week off and then I said to myself ‘I’m going to hammer it this winter and see what I can do this year’. So I have literally not stopped since October – I might have had two days without hitting balls since October.

“It’s been a grind, but the goal for this year was to win a national event and I’ve won the first one. It’s a very good feeling knowing that the hard work is paying off.”

He moved greenkeeping jobs to Rotherham at the start of May but is dropping down to three days a week to allow him to play more golf.

And the future? “Depending how things go, I’d like to turn pro at the end of the year possibly, if I can raise the funding.”

So far, all the signs are good.


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