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Useless Bay golf instructor ready for Asian Tour
USELESS BAY — It takes a lot of confidence to try to qualify for a professional golf tour.
It also takes a lot of belief and money to do it on another continent.
That’s what Grant Lancaster will attempt early next year. The assistant golf pro at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club for the past six years is determined to make the Asian Tour.
“I finally woke up with a sense of believing in myself,” Lancaster said.
And he was quick to credit his girlfriend Whitney Christiansen, boss Brian Lubach and Useless Bay club members for supporting him while he chases after a dream and a hope.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without them — the community in the club is what awoke the dream,” Lancaster said.
His first stop in California, where Lancaster was raised, will be more familiar. The next two months will be full of tournaments where Lancaster, 31, wants to get back into the swing of things. There are only two elements of golf he will work on while in the Golden State: refine his putting and chipping and acclimate to competitive play.
“My life will be golf,” Lancaster said.
Then comes the major leap, all the way to Thailand. Lancaster is heading west for a shot, not a guarantee, at playing in professional tournaments. To get there, he has to advance through eight qualifying rounds and finish as a top-40 golfer out of 500.
He last played in a competitive tournament in May at the U.S. Open local qualifier. But regularly playing golf — even though he works at a course — has been a struggle with the some 500 golfers he instructed over the years. He’ll need to hone his competitive edge between now and January if he wants to qualify for the Asian Tour and finish in the top 60, which automatically secures his return bid in 2014.
The plus handicap Lancaster said he wants to drop a stroke and average about a 70.
“It doesn’t matter what course I’m on,” he said. “I should shoot between 70 and 71.”
Being a golfer in the Asia Pro Tour requires money, and a lot of it. Should he qualify, his aim is to compete in 20 to 25 events. Tournament registration fees, travel, dining and other living costs while on the tour will total $80,000 — the cost of full sponsorship. Lancaster said thanks to Useless Bay club members and businesses like China City and Sebo’s Hardware, he’s more than halfway toward his sponsorship goal.
“I’m not scared to fail,” Lancaster said. “I don’t have anything to lose.”