Hawkins is keen for tee off
HE may be a wizard with golfing facts and figures but Chris Hawkins is now determined to show he's no mug with the sticks either.
The Ballina Golf Club trainee pro is preparing to face counterparts from across the country at the forthcoming Coca-Cola Rich River Trainee Classic.
Twenty-six-year-old Hawkins will take time out from his important administrative duties at the Jameson Ave club to play the prestigious 72-hole competition.
The Ballina player, who took up golf about 10 years ago, is relishing the opportunity to pit his skills against other trainees.
"I like the individual challenge with golf," he said. "I like how it's you challenging yourself and you are out there to do your best.
"I'm looking forward to going down there and seeing how I go."
Hawkins is into the second year of his full time, 38-hour a week role at his home club.
His job includes helping oversee the club's regular competitions, which can attract about 200 entrants on a good day.
Other duties including manning the club shop, coaching, and working towards a Certificate Three in Sports Coaching.
Hawkins, who is interested in a career in sports management, said the job was a real labour of love.
"You are surrounded by golf," he said.
"I enjoy the social aspect as well. The members here are really encouraging.
"The down side is that you don't get to practise on your own game as much as you'd like.
"There are times on a Saturday when I'm behind the counter thinking, 'I wish I could be out there'.
"It is very enjoyable though."
Hawkins will be joined at the event by two other trainees from the region's clubs, Brenton Parrish (Lismore) and Byron Bay's Dylan Stollery.
Trainee pros from across Australia will play the 72-hole event, which has run for more than 25 years and offers about $30,000 prize-money.
Hawkins is optimistic of a strong performance at the tournament.
It will take place at the par 72 club at Moama, on the New South Wales/Victoria border.
"My game is getting better , so I'm feeling confident," Hawkins, who plays off +1, said.
"I'm not feeling much pressure, so hopefully I will go all right."