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Sport's a gas for Alan

PUBLISHED: 11:28 29 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:37 01 August 2010

A commercial gas engineer from Beccles has found a hidden talent as a golfer.

Alan Ereia, 41, only started playing golf just over three years ago, but is now a hot favourite to win new UK golf tournament, Real Open Golf (www.

A commercial gas engineer from Beccles has found a hidden talent as a golfer.

Alan Ereia, 41, only started playing golf just over three years ago, but is now a hot favourite to win new UK golf tournament, Real Open Golf (www.realopengolf.co.uk).

“Last year I was playing off a handicap of 17, now I'm playing off 11,” says Alan. “That puts me in with a fighting chance of taking the trophy. But I'm not resting on my laurels. There's a way to go yet.”

The Real Open Golf grand final will be held at the Belfry on May 9, 2009, with top European coach Gary Alliss on hand to offer tips and advice to contestants.

Considering Alan only started playing golf three years ago, he's made remarkable progress. But even the first time he picked up a golf club, he found he had a natural talent for the game.

“My brother had been playing golf for some time and he invited me to try out the game,” recalls Alan. “I'd never picked up a golf club before, but after playing 18 holes we finished even.

“My brother then went away to work for a while. Before he went I said to him 'I'm going to be practising while you're away and next time I'll beat you'.”

Alan duly bought himself a set of cheap golf clubs and hit the range on a regular basis.

“When my brother came back I beat him and have been beating him ever since!” says Alan.

Apart from becoming a finalist in the forthcoming Real Open Golf grand final, Alan's ambition is to become a single figure handicap player.

“The average handicap across the world is around 18,” says Alan. “So it would be great to be able to say I was playing off a five or even an eight. Anyone in that league has just got to be a bloody good golfer.”

Alan plays regularly at Beccles Golf Club and this year holds the captaincy, having been secretary of the club for nearly three years.

He admits to a secret admiration for Tiger Woods, but his real golfing hero is Lee Westwood. “I love the way he swings a club,” says Alan. “And it would be great to seem him and Padraig Harrington alongside each other challenging Tiger.”

In his determination to improve his game, Alan plays twice a week. But says the real key to his success is taking two or three video lessons from a local pro every year.

“I don't believe in weekly lessons, you just can't take in the information, not physically, anyway,” he says.

“But with video lessons you've got the whole thing on DVD and can watch it over and over again and really assimilate what your teacher has shown you. Then, and only then, do you go back for another lesson.”

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