Yorkshire golf: White Rose champion Jamie Bower gets first chance to put new swing into play

Yorkshire champion Jamie Bower is on a six-week England Golf playing tour of South Africa (Picture: Chris Stratford).
Yorkshire champion Jamie Bower is on a six-week England Golf playing tour of South Africa (Picture: Chris Stratford).

YORKSHIRE champion Jamie Bower will put his winter's work to its first competitive test on Thursday.

Bower is part of a four-strong England Golf team taking part in a six-week tour of South Africa involving six events.

The first is the Gauteng North Stroke Play and the Meltham GC player is hopeful his close-season sessions with long-game coach Alan Thompson will be reflected in his scores.

He began the process of changing his swing shortly before an unsuccessful attempt to get through the European Tour's first stage of Qualifying School, at Frilford Heath, in Oxfordshire last autumn.

"I had started changing things about a month before and I guess it wasn't great timing with Q School coming up," he said, "I felt like it would make me play better in the short term as well as long term, but it took a bit of time to kick in."

Thompson is based at Heswall GC, on the Wirral, and Bower has been working with him for about two and a half years on his long game.

"Alan's been absolutely instrumental in my better performances," continued Bower. "He's been absolutely brilliant ever since I started working with him.

"He always gives me 100 per cent effort, always makes time to see me; he's been fantastic. I'd say he's one of the biggest reasons why I'm doing better now."

In 2015, Bower won the county title at Fulford, reached the semi-finals of the English Amateur championship – only losing in a sudden-death play-off to one of his squad-mates in South Africa, Alfie Plant (Sundridge Park) – made his senior England debut in the Home Internationals and earned selection for the 2016 England Golf men’s squad.

His elevation to England Golf men's squad means he will get more funding, additional coaching and - the thing he prizes the most - the honour of representing his country.

As well as working with Thompson at Heswall, he practised during the winter at Woodsome Hall, who have a covered range, and also used their indoor putting green.

After the Gauteng North Stroke Play he and his England Golf squad-mates will move on to compete in the South African Stroke Play, the African Open, the Southern Cape Open Stroke Play, the Cape Province Open and the South African Amateur.