Robert Booth is half the man and twice the golfer he was a year ago.

Over the last 15 months the 29-year-old professional has shed eight-and-a-half stone and reduced his scoring by three full shots a round on the 1836 Tour.

This year he has already earned several times the money he won during the previous two years.

He now faces the biggest challenge of his life as he prepares for the First Qualifying Stage of the European Tour at Wychwood Park, Cheshire, from Tuesday to Friday this week.

Robert, from Moorlands Road, Mount, Outlane, started playing at Bradley Hall at the age of 15 and wasted no time in turning professional two years later.

He did his PGA training at Cleckheaton, where he was based for six years before getting a job as a teaching professional with Direct Golf, then based at The Stadium.

But it wasn’t until he linked up with Crosland Heath club professional Richard Lambert in July 2012 that he really began to move through the rankings.

Richard changed his swing and instigated a strict training regime, with the result that Robert is currently sixth in the 1836 Tour Order of Merit. He’s three places behind Howley Hall’s Marcus Armitage and three places ahead of another local golfer, Adam Cryer from West End.

Robert has been fortunate in having a sponsor who has stood by him over the last three years. Nigel Hudson, of Hudsons Office Furniture, Dewsbury, pledged his support after having lessons from him at the Stadium, and Slaithwaite-based Glenbrae provide his clothing.

Richard, said: “Rob’s long-term aim is to secure a place on the European Tour. A realistic aim this season would be for him to get some kind of ranking for the Challenge Tour.

Robert Booth
Robert Booth
 

“His strength is that he drives very, very accurately and long, and his progression this season has been fantastic. He has the potential to go a long way, his game is good enough, now it is down to the fine details and mental attitude.”

Two weeks ago at Selby, Robert, who is attached to Crosland Heath, broke his duck by winning his first Tour event at Selby. His victory followed a series of 16 second and third placings, where he was often within one or two shots of top spot.

He said: “It was perfect timing for me, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’ve got a game plan for Wychwood, I know what I can do and just have to forget about the size of the event.

“I’ve been working hard with Richard towards this, putting in between five and eight hours work a day, six days a week. I get up at 7am, do five hours practice and then play a round. I’m ready for the challenge.”

To qualify for Stage 2 in Spain from November 2 to 5, Robert will have to finish in the top 25% of the field at Wychwood. He will then be looking to finish among the Spanish leaders to qualify for the finals at the PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, from November 10 to 15.

In 15 months Robert lost over eight stones, reduced his weight to 12 stones and knocked 16 inches off his waistline. He said: “The weight just flew off.”

Golfers may be interested to learn he did no exercise other than golf. Here’s how he did it:

1. A hearty early morning breakfast, usually porridge

2. A normal lunch of beans on toast or similar

3. A final meal of the day – always before 6.30pm – of shepherd’s pie, lasagne or other home-cooked food

4. Most important, he cut out everything else, including sweets and snacks. Simple!