Signs are positive for grafter Martin

For Max Martin, the writing was on the wall over the winter months. Quite literally.

The England ‘A’ squad player combined practice with shifts in the family business.

Martin’s grandfather Mick started a sign writing company years ago and now dad Ryan has kept the family firm going.

Grafting over recent months with his dad and grandad has confirmed one thing in the 22-year-old’s mind; he wants a career in golf!

This week, the Warwickshire county player is with his England team-mates at a warm-weather training camp in Portugal.

The Quinta do Lago resort offers the best facilities for any golfer wanting to hone his skills with the sun on his back.

Martin is taking advantage of the excellent coaching on offer with short game coach Graham Walker and putting expert Mike Kanski helping to make tweaks and improvements to his game.

The Harborne Golf Club member is not afraid of hard work – but would prefer it to be in the Portuguese sunshine than the rain and sleet of the Midlands.

“Over the winter I worked with my dad in the family firm and it does mean you don’t take for granted all the opportunities in golf,” confirmed Martin.

“My grandad started the firm years ago and even though he’s now 79, he still works three days a week.

“I was fitting the signs in the freezing cold and at times couldn’t feel my hands!

“It’s hard going, but it keeps you grounded.

“I’ve also done a bit of work with my mum, Ann. She works in mental health and that puts things into perspective too.

“I know I have to work hard at my golf game to get to where I want and I’m not afraid to do it.

“Don’t get me wrong – there are enjoyable moments working with my family, but I’m focused on making a career in golf.

”The weather in England has been so bad it’s hard to practice all the time. My own golf club – like most – has suffered with closure during the worst of the rain and has been forced to use some temporary greens when open.

“Coming to Portugal just allows you to put in so much work.”

Over recent years, Martin’s dedication to his sport has allowed him to graduate from the England boys’ set-up to the ‘A’ squad.

In the last few months, Martin has enjoyed some encouraging performances during his winter playing schedule.

In January, he was thrilled to play a key role in helping the England squad win the Costa Balllena Octangular in Spain.

Last month, he enjoyed a storming run in the Spanish Men’s International Amateur in Seville – reaching the semi-finals before bowing out.

With the English season now just around the corner, Martin is excited about what lies ahead.

“Being with the lads in Costa Ballena for that week was amazing,“ said Martin, pictured below with the winning squad.

“Myself and Sam Bairstow played really well when paired together in foursomes. It was just a bit annoying losing all of my singles games on the 18th.

“The weather on the final day was horrific. There was driving rain and 50mph winds and had it been a stroke play event it wouldn’t have carried on. Because it was a final between England and Ireland no-one wanted to stop!

“The Spanish amateur started badly as I shot +4 in my first round, but on the second day I was four under par and there were a lot of positive to take from my form in the match play and the run to the semis.

“It’s been a great start to the year for the England players with so many wins on the board and I hope it can continue.

“My next big event is the Lytham Trophy and I need to make sure I’m mentally prepared for that one.

“Lytham is such a tough golf course that half the field play themselves out of it by becoming frustrated.

“Last year I finished eighth, but I needed a week off to recover from playing 36 holes a day on such a hard course.”

Martin is also a keen student of the English players in the pro ranks and recalls a day spent with Matt Wallace a few years ago as he strives to make his own way in the game.

“You look at Tommy Fleetwood and know that his place in the game now is down to all his hard work,” added Martin.

“I played with Matt a few years ago in the Sunningdale Foursomes and at that time he didn’t have his card and was working his way on the EuroPro Tour.

“Now he’s earning stupid money and is one of the best talents on tour and that’s down to his work ethic as much as anything.

“I’m really enjoying working with the men’s squad this season. I feel I’m getting lots out of it.

“Tapping into the brains of the coaches such as Graham and Mike is priceless for me as I look to keep making progress.”

Photograph credit: Leaderboard