x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hendry ready, willing and able to give golf career a shot

Dubai 17-year-old Dan Hendry has the drive, ambition and many say the playing ability to make it as a professional golfer.

Daniel Hendry says he is ready to put in the work into being a pro.
Daniel Hendry says he is ready to put in the work into being a pro.

Dubai schoolboy Dan Hendry is not being arrogant when insisting it is a case of when, not if, he makes it as a professional golfer.

When you have the talent and record this 17 year old can boast - he is already arguably the best player to have ever emerged from the UAE - what is the point in being overly modest?

Hendry is the Middle East Junior Golfer of the Year, the Emirates Golf Federation's (EGF) Order of Merit winner for the second year in succession and he came seventh in the Men's UAE Order of Merit playing in only five of the eleven events.

Profile: Dan Hendry

2010 titles
• Emirates U18 Club Champion
• Sharjah U18 Open Champion
• UAE U18 Match Play
2011 titles

• Abu Dhabi U18 Open
• Sharjah U18 Open Champion
• Abu Dhabi Men’s Open Amateur Champion
• Emirates U18 Open Champion
Awards

• UAE U18 Emirates Golf Federation Order of Merit (2010 & 2011)
• 2011 Middle East Junior Golfer of the Year
• 2011 UAE Junior Player of the Year

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While the best Emirati players in the country admitted that they would prefer to stay amateur instead of taking a risk on making it as a pro. Hendry is cut from a different cloth.

The Scot - he was born in Aberdeen - will travel all over the UK and Europe this summer to take part in numerous top-class amateur events at both men and junior level. Then the plan is to take up a college golf scholarship in the US like so many current stars, such as newly crowned world No 1 Luke Donald, did at the start of their careers.

The UAE golfing family has been waiting rather impatiently for one of their own to make the big breakthrough. This Dubai College pupil seems to tick every box.

"I'm absolutely sure that I will become a professional," Hendry said. "I genuinely believe it's a case of when it happens, not if it happens. You have got to have that attitude if you want to become a professional. There is no point in not being utterly confident in yourself.

"My whole life is dedicated to golf. I obviously have school, but I'm at my club three days out of five during the week for four hours at a time, working on the range and putting green. Then I have tournaments every weekend.

"I have played with a lot of the UAE national guys such as Khalid Yousuf, who is a good friend of mine, and I know he said last week that he was going to stay amateur, but that's not for me.

"I know there are a lot of pitfalls out there because you have to make a lot of sacrifices and there have been plenty of good players who, for whatever reason, haven't made it onto the tour. But I'm ready to put the work in. My coach, Mark Gregson-Walters, is over here and he's been great with me for the past few years. The positives of being in the UAE, and I have lived here almost all my life, is that the weather is great for practicing all year round and the courses are terrific.

"My aim is to go to the [United] States next year for a golf scholarship. Nothing is certain, but there have been a few schools sniffing about and that's great."

Hendry's handicap of +2.8 is believed to be the lowest in the Middle East. Not bad for a teenager who is still learning the game.

This summer will see him play for the Scottish Amateur Team again. He will also play in the British Boys Open Championship in Somerset, England in August.

"I'm on 10 per cent of his first winning cheque," says his father, Andy, who part-time caddies for his son and is quick to offer a reminder about how hard a golfing life can be.

"I tell Dan that everyone else works 10 hours a day, five days a week, and that's what he has to do as well.

"Dan has the desire to make it. I'm not sure what else he would do if he didn't have a club in his hand."

So what is it like having dad on the bag?

"I do frustrate him because I'm such an aggressive player," Hendry junior admitted. "I'm not scared of a tight pin. He does advise me to lay-up at times, but that's not me. I'll go for my shots because I'm always trying to win."

ncameron@thenational.ae