9:21am Tuesday 19th August 2014
By Melanie Wallwork
WHEN golfer Tony Jacklin comes to Bolton next month, he will not be short of a tale or two to tell.
One of the most successful British golfers of all time, with 27 tournament wins under his belt, he has travelled the world and shared the green with presidents and film stars.
The 70-year-old will visit the Albert Halls on Tuesday, September 2, for An Evening with Tony Jacklin, to share stories from his astonishing career and life.
Born and raised in Scunthorpe, Tony picked up his first golf club when he was still at primary school, acting as a caddie for his truck driver father.
He left school at 15 and worked as an apprentice fitter at a steelworks for a year before abandoning the job to follow his true passion.
Tony said: “I started playing in the summer of ‘53, when I was eight or nine-years-old.
“I used to go with my father and have a go when we got far enough away from the members’ eyes.
“The golf club became my second home.
“I would spend my summers out there.
“I was always hanging around there, looking for games and practising and it became a big thing in my life.
“By the time I got to 13, I won the Lincolnshire Boys Championship, for under 19s.
“I won that when I was 13, 14, 15 and 16.
“My parents wanted me to have a trade. In those days, there were not many people made golf their profession.
“I went in the steelworks for a year which I hated.
“Turning professional meant leaving home and going to London because I had to get a job as an assistant.
“Really I have never looked back after that.”
Tony turned pro aged 17, kicking off a stellar career and a long line of historical golfing moments including being the first person to hit a televised hole-in-one in Britain and becoming the most successful European Ryder Cup captain ever.
The father-of-six said: “I was the first one in the UK to make a living from playing golf.
“Most of the other professionals in that day had club jobs in the winter.
“I spent the winter playing the circuit and came back in the summer.
“I went out to America to play their tour and got very proficient at it just by being among the best players in the world.
“I’ve had a really good time in the business.”
Tony, who married his second wife, Astrid, in 1988, retired from tournament golf in 2004, at the age of 60, but continues to play and says the game is fantastic for teaching youngsters life skills.
He said: “A bit of discipline in life is never bad.
“If we all did what we wanted all the time it would be a funny old world.
“I think golf is great, it’s a microcosm of life.
“It’s a valuable game for young people, to teach discipline and lots of other things, humility.”
Next month’s event in Bolton will be hosted by snooker legend, golfing nut and great friend of Tony, Willie Thorne.
Tony, a celebrity dancer on last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, said: “I’ve done lots of after dinner speaking and golf clubs and that sort of thing.
“I will be talking about some of my experiences.
“The second part of the show will be a Q and A to get the audience involved as well.
“I just want to have a good time with it and entertain people.
“Willie Thorne is coming along with me. There will be a few film clips, that sort of thing.”
Tony Jacklin will be at the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Tuesday, September 2, call 01204 334400 for tickets.
This show has been cancelled. Anyone who bought tickets via card will be automatically refunded or, for cheque or cash payments, contact the box office on 01204 334400.
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