A Westhoughton golfer found himself playing a round of golf with Bolton's very own Vernon Kay - as well as some of the game's top sports personalities.

Chris Hayes was a winner of a national draw which gave him the chance to play at the world-famous Wentworth golf course.

His prize, a Pro-Am spot and admission tickets to the BMW PGA Championship, was thanks to his participation in the latest challenge on the TrackMan Range at Hart Common Golf Club which is based in Westhoughton.

The family-owned club recently invested half a million pounds in the installation of the TrackMan system, which uses golf-ball tracking technology to allow anyone regardless of skill level to practice and play virtually at the world’s top golf courses.

Chris, who took up golf seven years ago, teed up in the BMW Championship professional and amateurs’ day at the Wentworth Club.

He shared the course with golfing greats including Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, as well as a host of celebrities including Gareth Bale, Stuart Broad, and Vernon Kay.

The Bolton News: Chris Hayes with Jamie Chadwick, Adrian Meronk and Alice SampoChris Hayes with Jamie Chadwick, Adrian Meronk and Alice Sampo (Image: Hart Common Golf Club)

Chris was joined by his brother-in-law and fellow Hart Common member Mark Harrison who accompanied him as his caddy.

The pair played 18 holes in a group with European Tour professional golfer Adrian Meronk as well as watching all four days of the championship.

Speaking about the opportunity and what it meant to him, Chris said: “Once I started playing golf the bug bit me, though I’d never been to watch a professional golf tournament let alone play at one alongside the game’s superstars.

“As a golf lover it was incredible being on the course at the same time as those players and being cheered on by the crowds.

“I had a good laugh with one parent whose son was desperate for my autograph.

“But the best bit was how everyone at Hart Common was so chuffed for me to have the luck to play at Wentworth and bring back the stories.

“We all love the TrackMan at the club – the information it gives you really helps you improve your game.”

Local golf players of all abilities have the chance to enter the next TrackMan competition at Hart Common.

Club owner, Peter Roberts explains: “Coming out of Covid was the right time for us to invest in this fantastic equipment.

The Bolton News: Mark Harrison, Chris Hayes and TV's Anton Du BekeMark Harrison, Chris Hayes and TV's Anton Du Beke (Image: Hart Common Golf Club)“It’s a new interactive experience, and whether you're a seasoned player or just discovering the sport, you're about to encounter a whole new way to practice, play and have fun.

“Many other golf courses have a mobile TrackMan and can charge £50 an hour to play. But at Hart Common, playing TrackMan comes free with your balls on the driving range.

“To encourage more people into golf they can access this facility affordably – and what’s more, you might win a national competition like Chris did.”

For more information visit www.hartcommongolfclub.co.uk

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @chloewjourno.