How did you get into golf?
I was introduced to golf by my grandfather, who was a member of Hartlepool Golf Club for many years. I was about seven years old when I first played with just a seven iron, but I didn’t actually take the game up until I was 11.
Football was always my greatest childhood passion, playing for two local teams every weekend, but golf soon took over once I knew I had more of a talent for it.
What do you remember about golf in the North East when you were growing up?
Golf was always perceived as an expensive sport to play. It was also not a sport/hobby that most kids that I knew played and when I was at secondary school I kind of got teased for playing.
This never deterred me from fulfilling my ambition in becoming a professional golfer and wanting to compete on the biggest stage.
As I grew older and developed into a good player, I always tried to play with the best players in the golf club and the county, which then pushed me towards playing internationally by the age of 15.
I believe that my upbringing helped me stay grounded in my development and I always knew how fortunate I was to be able to play golf.
Your proudest achievement to date?
I have to say that I am lucky to have had so many proud moments during my career and that it’s extremely difficult to pick just one.
I suppose most people would say that when I beat the then world number two, Rory McIlroy, in a play-off to win the South African Open in 2017, that that would be the standout achievement of my career.
To be fair, it’s right up there with them all, but I truly believe that winning the British Amateur was the most amazing, career-changing moment for me. It catapulted me into major golf championships (The Open and The US Masters), which as an amateur was a dream come true.
It helped me to be the player I am today.
How does it feel to be launching the Graeme Storm Golf Academy at Richmond (Yorks) Golf Club?
Launching the Graeme Storm Golf Academy is something that I have wanted to do for quite a while, and it has always been in the back of my mind to give back to the sport that has given me so much.
It has been challenging so far, opening a business during a pandemic, but we are building a great team and looking forward to growing in 2021. Our teaching pro, Mark Robson, has great pedigree (Ganton and The Roehampton Club) and we have exciting plans in the pipeline.
How did a turbulent 2020 affect your game?
2020 was the year that I made my return to playing on the European Tour after two years of injury. Feeling fresh, fit and ready to go, I was hoping to be able to get a good run of tournaments under my belt to make sure that I retained my playing privileges for the following season.
Then the pandemic hit. Having only played in four events then having to take four and half months off, three of them without playing/practicing, wasn’t ideal at all. However, the European Tour did an amazing job in pulling together tournaments and the first week of the ‘UK Swing’ was a great week back for me.
At the British Masters at Close House, I tied 10th. I was very happy. However, my return was short lived as I had to pull out of Wentworth due to my recurring wrist injury and have just had my third wrist operation, which will certainly be my last.
With a great physio program and a lot of hard work I am very much hoping to return to the European Tour in the spring, pain free.
How is 2021 looking?
2021 at the Academy will be about growing the game of golf at grassroots level, nurturing talent within the game and focusing on the quality of coaching we deliver to all ages and abilities.
For me on a personal level, I am aiming to fulfil my own goals on the European Tour and get back into the winners’ circle.
What advice would you give to golfers getting back into action come the spring?
Meet up with friends, make new friends – young or old – and enjoy the fresh air! Remember, golf is only a game and you never have two rounds the same.