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John Glenn, a Qualified PGA Professional who has been part of the coaching team at The Grove since 2011, reflects on a week at the British Masters that he will never forget…
Moments before he was due to tee off alongside Alex Noren and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston on the first day of The 2016 British Masters, Danny Willett, the reigning Masters champion, was forced to pull out due to injury, which created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for stand-by caddy, John Glenn.
Four days after forming an unlikely partnership with European Tour professional Justin Walters, the pair had met only minutes before the South African’s first tee shot, John was able to reflect on a successful tournament, which saw the 35-year-old finish tied 33rd and secure his European Tour card for 2017.
“Having had some previous experience as a caddy, I was on the stand-by list at the start of the week, in case anyone dropped out, but not really expecting to be called up, especially once play had got underway.
“Then, while I was on the driving range on the Thursday, I was having a conversation with Justin’s agent Ally Mellor, who I had known previously, and he said there was a chance Justin may be playing in the afternoon and that he didn’t have a caddy, so I should go over and introduce myself.
“After a brief conversation, Justin simply told me to ‘get the bag’ and to follow him up onto the first tee, with neither of us sure at that point whether we were going to be teeing it up as we walked through the crowd.
“When it became clear that Danny Willett had pulled out and that Justin was going to be playing, we had a bit of a laugh on the first tee, as he wasn’t really sure where he was supposed to be going. Fortunately, I knew that he hit quite a long ball, so I handed him a 3-iron, told him where to aim and we were off.
“I remember that he pulled that first tee shot slightly, but he made a good par, before going birdie, birdie and we were underway in the tournament.
“We then got to the fourth hole and Alex Noren and Andrew Johnson both joked that this could be a bit like John Daly at the PGA Championship in 1991, with Justin unexpectedly playing in an event and doing well.”
“Although the end result wasn’t quite the same, when we were walking down the fairways we would often talk about what was a very surreal experience for us both. Finding ourselves in the marquee group, when three or four hours earlier Justin was shopping at Tesco and I was setting up the driving range, we just agreed that the key thing for the week was to really enjoy the experience and to make the most of the opportunity.
“Despite some occasionally tricky situations on the first day, as I was getting to know his game and it took a little time to get used to each other, I was able to keep him calm in certain situations and he had a really good round.
“Caddying is quite similar to coaching, in that to get the best out of anyone, you need to be able to build a rapport with them, which is something that I am passionate about doing. This ability to quickly build a relationship definitely came in handy throughout the week and, I would like to think, helped contribute to Justin’s successful tournament.
“I will never forget the British Masters week, being inside the ropes and caddying for a top European Tour professional at my home course, it really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
To book John, or another member of the caddying team, in order to make your experience at The Grove even more memorable, then contact the golf team on 01923 294266.