Jack Bigham is looking to kick on from a season where he threatened leaderboards, made every cut and earned his place in the England set-up.
The Hertfordshire teenager is a key member of the boys’ squad for 2020 after showing fine form at under 16 level.
Bigham has always been a naturally powerful hitter and it’s amazing to watch him smash drives 290 yards down the range.
This winter the 16-year-old has spent time working on his wedge play with England coach Rob Watts and leaning on putting expert Mike Kanski for tips with the flatstick.
Stints at the National Golf centre at Woodhall Spa have helped him focus on what he must improve for the year ahead.
Now a great week of work in the sunshine at Quinta Do Lago with the boys’ squad two weeks ago (see picture below) has him energised for the opportunities that lie in store.
Bigham said: “Last year I started the season strongly at the McEvoy and Fairhaven and I got picked for the under 16s v Spain.
“I was undefeated and the highest points scorer in that one.
“I carried on and had more top tens and made every cut and was selected again.
“My game has become technically better and throughout 2019 I was consistent.
“But I’m always looking to get better and I’ve been working with Rob on wedge play and Mike on putting. I’ve seen improvements already.”
Bigham will combine his golf this spring with preparing for GCSEs in Business Studies, History and PE.
But once the books are packed away he has his eyes on some prizes with England.
“I want to play in the Home Internationals and European Boys – they are great experiences,” added Bigham who plays out of Harpenden Golf Club.
“You get more of a buzz playing for your country and it’s great to win.
“I used to play a bit of football, but stopped that to carry on with golf.
“My dad started me off. My brother plays as well and, because he was older, I followed them up the range and I loved it from the start.
“I was naturally good from the start – I could hit it straight away.
“Now I do hit it far for my age. The stats show that my long game is good.”
Bigham admits he loves to study Tiger Woods’ game as much for his attitude as his skills on the course.
“Tiger is unreal,” said Bigham with a smile.
“I’ve watched all the videos of him and he’s just different. He always wanted to win. Even when he was behind you knew he would come back and never give up.
“I like watching Justin Rose and the younger ones such as Matt Wallace. He’s from Hertfordshire too and that’s good for me.
“I just want to be like them. I want to be a professional.
“That’s been the case for a few years.
“It’s hard work – especially when you have school as well. But you have to put in the work to achieve.”
There’s an obvious camaraderie within the boys’ squad this season and that was shown at the last gathering at Woodhall Spa.
The fun forfeits for losing out in tasks are now part of the weekend – and Bigham and team-mate Max Hopkins earned some strange glances when they headed for dinner after one of the challenges.
“Me and Max had to carry weights from the gym into the restaurant and back to the hotel!” said Bigham with a wry smile.
“I only lost out by a shot. We got some funny looks!
“The get-togethers are intense and that’s good. You’re always learning either with work in the gym or on the range.
“I enjoy the gym work. I do that with Hertfordshire every week and it’s about finding a way to fit in a couple of more days a week to boost my power and distance.”
Main photograph credit: Leaderboard