A golf coach who helped put Jamie Donaldson on the road to success will be eagerly watching his exploits at the Ryder Cup. PGA professional Alan Thompson (pictured) shares a close bond with the Welshman stretching back more than two decades to when Donaldson first pitched up with Cheshire’s county juniors as a 17 year old playing off a six handicap. Thompson, the former head PGA pro at Heswall Golf Club where he still coaches, helped Donaldson remodel his swing to equip him for the demands of competing on the European Tour.
Thompson recalled, “He wasn’t going to play Ryder Cup the way he was swinging it as a 17 year old. But he worked really hard and completely revamped his swing over an 18 month period. By the end it became a very simple and effective swing which is pretty much what he’s got today. Jamie was very committed, near enough was not good enough and he grafted, hitting balls until he was blue in the face.
“I will be chuffed and delighted to see him tee off at Gleneagles, as he has earned it. He’s had tough times with his back injury and I remember a couple of times he came close to packing it in before he made his breakthrough on the Challenge Tour. Jamie has steel and determination. He’s one of those lads who fixes you with his eyes, and you think, I’d better get this right and inspires you to want to do the best you can.”
Thompson, at 66, remains passionate about coaching and currently works with Tour players Matt Baldwin, Matt Nixon and Simon Wakefield, having previously coached Paul Affleck, Tom Fleetwood and Lee Slattery.