Sport Scholar Josh Bristow – Golf

Bristow, JoshI first got into Golf at the age of 10.  This was just meant to be a little hobby to run alongside my rugby, which was my passion at the time. My grandparents, who are a huge part of my life as role models and supportive family members, first took me to the driving range at Great Chart in Ashford. This became regular and, over time, my love for the sport grew and grew. This love for the game exploded as I started attending Teaching Clinics to hone my skills.  I eventually got my first handicap at 11 years old, playing off 28.

The following year of golf started to take up more and more of my time, resulting in a reduction of handicap to 17.   A Regional County coach spotted me and decided to invite me into the County setup, where I gained knowledge and experience from the coaches and my fellow players. This support took my game forward leaps and bounds. I eventually got selected to play for the U14’s County squad. This selection gave me confidence in my ability and made me think that I could potentially turn pro and compete. So I decided to concentrate on my golf and stopped playing rugby competitively.

1493596_802409886438210_7665419667242771701_o[1]My golf continued to improve and I stayed within the County ranks where I progressed into the U16’ and U18’s squads. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I began to break through and begin to win gross events. I won the U17’s County championships and my Club championships, but these were nothing in comparison to my 2013 season. 2013 was a great year for me, I reduced my handicap down to scratch, I won a couple of events, made the cut in my first national event and I was selected to Captain England School Boys Against Wales and Scotland.

In the July period of 2013 I began to kick forward and win. After a disappointing second round at the U18’s National championships I missed the cut by 2 shots. This disappointment fired me up for my next event, the Kent Junior Championships. I then went on to win the event with a record score of -12 and my first course record of -8 at St. Augustine’s golf course. In my next 2 events, I finished runner up losing by 1 shot in both. These results propelled me forward in junior golf world where I qualified to play in the Daily Telegraph Junior Golf Championship (The biggest junior golfing competition in the world). I qualified by beating 40,000 other junior golfers to make it to the final; only the top 12 golfers out of the 40,000 qualified to play in Portugal, televised by Sky Sports. Previous top professional golfers to play in the event are: Chris Wood, Mathew Fitzpatrick, Luke Donald and Major champion Justin Rose.

Following these achievements, my biggest achievement to date happened. I had the privilege of Captaining England against Wales and Scotland. I felt great pride representing my country but to captain a side was even bigger. To think I couldn’t make it better, my team and I went on to win both matches. It was a great delight to our manager, it was his last year managing the squad.

2014 was a quiet year for me with new experiences happening all around me. I joined Canterbury Christ Church University and it was my first year of competing on the adult stage, with some of the Top Amateur Golfers in the game. The year had many downs though; I was unable to enter events because of the handicap limit and fitness levels hindered my performance in 4 day events, but what it did give me was a new found love of the game and the fuel to succeed. This year made me realise what was needed to improve even further than what I had previously achieved.  The introduction of gym work and hours more of training set up my 2015 season to be better than expected.

CSR_JoshBristowThis year golf elevated to a new level with the help of the Elite Scholarship Program at Canterbury Christ Church University. We have devised a thorough gym work out regime and I planned out the year’s tournaments in advance. The fitness element of my training has allowed me to become stronger, to increase distance in my game, as well as improve my concentration on the golf course, improving performance consistency.  This has been shown through my results this year. I finished 8th in the Hinge trophy early in the year, 5th in the Romer Bowl, 34th in the South of England Links Championship, won the Tiese Trophy – with a New course record 67(-5), won the Qualifying of the County Championships (-4) – seeding me number 1 for the tournament – but was unfortunately knocked out in the Quarter finals, finishing the year by winning the Kent U25’s championships (-1). These results accumulated in 2nd place for the County Order of Merit.

Fortunately this year I was lucky to play for the County 1st team squad where I played every game for the season. The team had great expectations this year and we backed them up with win after win. This year we won the League for the first time in 8 years and went on to play the South Eastern County’s Final against Essex’s (rivals). In the end, we won the Final and became Undefeated all year and Champions once again after a long awaited 12 years.

2016 awaits and I can’t wait to get it started!

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