I remember it well – it was late 2013 pre-season and I was hitting balls above the shop at Woodsome Hall on John Eyre’s launch monitor getting ready for the upcoming season.
I had just had an ok year on the Challenge Tour and managed to retain my playing rights for the next season. But the only thing I didn’t retain was my sponsor.
I was just finishing off hitting balls before John’s next lesson, Mr David Pitts, was in the hot seat. I didn’t know him from Adam; John introduced me briefly and David said “go on then, show me how it’s done”.
Thankfully it went straight, that was maybe the selling point, along with bit of John Eyre’s magic sweet talk too.
On leaving, David asked about sponsorship and, finding out I had recently lost a sponsor, without hesitation said, “I’ll do something, come and have a chat with me”.
And that was the start of a great 6-year friendship and golf partnership.
I went to meet David at his house with my sponsorship proposal. I think he was slightly impressed with the effort I had put into it and my ambition to succeed but his big question was…
“How on earth do you afford to do it?”
My reply, “I don’t know, we just do!”
We struck a deal there and then, and David kept me playing golf from that moment!
Over the next 6 years we shared some incredible highlights; that first year I qualified for the Open Championship at Hoylake where Rory won!
David and a group of members actually chartered a helicopter to the Open which landed on the first fairway at Woodsome and then flew over to the Wirral to cheer me on!
That year I had another ok year on the Challenge Tour, just treading water really, but kept my card again for the 2015 season!
Throughout that season nothing really went to plan, but I’d got myself close to the grand final with a few weeks in China to go.
A top ten (6th) out there got me to the final in Oman and a ticket straight to the final stage of Q-School; that was a bonus but even with David’s help it was a make or break week this time round!
Somehow I found the strength to get my card for the European Tour after 6 rounds – that’s possibly the highlight of my career along with retaining my card the following season, which was arguably a tougher ask!
So much support from so many people went into achieving the above but I certainly wouldn’t have got to that point without the support from David.
So much off course pressure was taken away with the financial support, along with the support of some lovely cars along the way and many extra perks…
- Sunday lunch at Marbella Beach Club – Spain
- Afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace – Madeira
- Luxury Northern Belle Trip
As an avid golf fan David certainly knew the ins and outs, he followed it closely and knew what to say over a text when things went good or bad on the course!!
Normally “Just go have a beer” but he knew me too well and that wasn’t ever the case!!
One memory along the way which certainly stands out was the KLM Dutch Open in 2016. I was in contention after three rounds and was drawn to play with Bernd Wiesberger in the last round, who went onto finish 2nd.
David was in Spain Saturday afternoon and by the back nine Sunday had appeared to watch me complete the tournament and finish 8th , which got me into the Italian Open the following week.
As I mentioned, to keep my card that first year was amazing, especially from the category and limited playing opportunities I had, so come the Portugal Masters at the end of 2016 I had everyone cheering me home!
I made the cut and a final round 67 made certain that I kept my card for the next season!!
Over the following two seasons there were some really memorable highlights…
- Another Top 5 in Morocco to go with the T4th in 2016
- T11th in the British Masters, leading through 54+ holes
- T6th in the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic
- Climbing to 288th in the World
But again keeping my card, this time comfortably by the end of 2017 at Valderrama, was a huge achievement and having family/friends, including the Pitts family, at the event watching the season conclude was fantastic.
Over the past few seasons, 2018 European Tour/2019 Challenge Tour my golf has been somewhat mixed; there have been many on and off course factors that have created some hurdles along the way, from being burgled whilst asleep, to constant financial battles with a former management company.
And I will be the first to say I’ve never dealt particularly well with anything that has unsettled me or the family and I’m sure that must have had some effect subconsciously on the golf course.
It’s probably taken 12 months to really get settled again but unfortunately in that time my golf went into reverse, but even whilst that was happening it certainly didn’t stop me from learning more about the game, myself and what I need to do to get back to competing against some of the best players in the world.
I’m now really looking ahead again and excited to build a strong team around me and I would love to share the next chapter of my golfing career with a sponsor/partner who is equally as ambitious to achieve their dreams!!
I am currently starting the 2020 season with no partners/sponsors in place so I have lots of options/ideas for any potential sponsorship.
If you would potentially be interested in some more information I would love to send through a #TeamHanson information pack or even better get together to chat through it with you.
I really hope you have enjoyed a little insight into the last 6 years of an amazing partnership and appreciate how truly thankful I am to David Pitts for helping me achieve so many of my golfing dreams.
Look forward to blogging again soon.
Kind regards – Chris Hanson