Chris Hanson facing 'Groundhog Month' on European Tour - and he's loving it

Woodsome Hall's Chris Hanson with wife Laura and their daughters, three-year-old Jessica and Olivia, one.
Woodsome Hall's Chris Hanson with wife Laura and their daughters, three-year-old Jessica and Olivia, one.

JUST two months into his new job as a card-carrying member of the European Tour and already Chris Hanson's work is getting repetitive.

Not that you will find the Huddersfield professional complaining because when he won his Tour card back in November to step up to the top tier of European golf he described it as being the best job in the world.

The repetitious element involves his new year schedule taking him back to South Africa and then Australia, the two countries in which he took his first steps the week after his success at the six-round final qualifying school at PGA Catalunya Resort in northern Spain.

The Woodsome Hall man shared 44th place at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and the following week missed the cut by just one shot in the Australian PGA Championship in Queensland.

They were performances that offered great encouragement as he prepares to head for South Africa on January 3 to play in the South Africa Open and Joburg Open.

A spell back home will then be followed by a return to South Africa for the Tshwane Open in Pretoria before he moves on to Australia for the Perth International at the end of February.

It is a schedule that will tax both his finances and his physical strength, and with the latter in mind he has been working hard with his fitness coach at Oulton Hall, Rachael Tibbs.

He has also been fine-tuning his game with coach Mark Pearson, but was sufficiently encouraged by his displays in his first two tournaments to feel comfortable in his new surroundings after four years on the Challenge Tour, European golf's stepping stone to the Tour proper.

"There was a slight disappointment in the respect that both in Australia and at Leopards Creek I felt the courses were set up for me," he reflected.

"They were tough layouts and they were playing tougher because of the wind and that really suits my game.

"The first round in Australia (in which he shot 80) I played really nicely, but I just had a couple of bad holes (triple bogeys) that set me back.

"I still knew I had a good chance to make the cut (after shooting a one-under-par 71), but unfortunately when I walked off the course the wind died down a bit, and that is probably what kept me away from making the cut.

"But I wasn't in any way knocked back by the experience. I had another decent week and another week where I felt at home on the tour."

Several players he played alongside on the Challenge Tour have moved up to the top level like he has, and he added: "I know so many people who have progressed to the main tour and I knew a lot of people on the practice rounds in South Africa and Australia, and I had dinners with old friends, and it all just felt normal.

"I think what was so good about going straight out to play the events (he had only three days at home after winning his card) was that I didn't feel any different. I didn't have the chance to let anything sink in and I just went out and played. Maybe if I'd had five or six weeks off and had a lot of time to think about playing my first event it may have affected me, but it kind of got me straight into it and I felt settled."

Today golf will be pushed firmly to the back of his mind as he enjoys Christmas Day with his wife Laura and their daughters, Jessica, three, and one-year-old Olivia.

"Laura has been at work since I got back from Australia and it's been nice to spend time with the two girls. Laura is finished until the new year now and with Jessica being three and a half the idea of Christmas is really kicking in for her and it's going to be a fun one."