HIS passport has been stamped more times than James Bond and – within the next 18 months – he could be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rory McIlroy.
James Robinson, from Billinge, has made swift progress since turning professional four years ago.
He spent last season on the Europro Tour, winning a Sky Sports-televised tournament in the process.
And having finished sixth in the order of merit, he has been promoted to the European Challenge Tour for 2015 – just one-tier below the European Tour which boasts Ryder Cup superstars such as McIlroy and Lee Westwood. He said: “If I get into the top 20, or win three times on the Challenge Tour, I’ll be on the European Tour in 2016.
“I’m not sure of the average age most golfers are when they make the tour but I imagine it’s late-20s, which would put me on target.
“I don’t like to set specific goals, because it just creates pressure if you don’t meet them.
“I just believe in progression, and trying to improve all the time.”
Although he took up the sport aged 12, when he accompanied his dad around Gathurst Golf Club, it was only two years later when he began taking it more seriously.
He balanced his studies with hours on the course – he has since swapped Gathurst for Southport and Ainsdale, and recorded hole-in-ones at both. After representing England as an amateur, he reduced his handicap to +4.5 and took the plunge by turning professional.
Lack of funding – and adjusting to the travel demands – disrupted his debut season on the Challenge Tour.
But after four years as a professional, he now feels ready to make his mark on the competition in 2015.
He has played golf around the world, from America to Russia, India to Egypt, and travels extensively across Europe.
“Some of my friends who I used to go to school with think, ‘You’re so lucky’ because I get to travel so much, and it is good – but it’s hard work,” he said.
“Logistically there’s a lot of planning.
“I actually have two passports, because if I’m away, I may get into the following week’s event in Russia and need to send off for a visa.
“When I’m at home, I treat golf as a normal job – I’m at the course at 9am and don’t leave until 5pm or 6pm, so it’s full-on.
“But I really enjoy it.”
His schedule isn’t just hectic, it’s also expensive, with £1,000 a week needed to cover his Challenge Tour expenses next year.
Like boxing and athletics, the mega-salaries earned by the superstars paint a different picture to the amounts earned by those lower down the pecking order. “Your livelihood depends on every shot, and that’s definitely there in the back of your mind,” he said.
“But you have to blank it out. That’s what the best in the world do.”
Robinson is hunting a new main sponsor for next season, which gets under way in March and will include up to 27 events.
Anyone interested can get in touch via his website, jamesrobinsongolf.com.
“This year, my EuroPro season probably cost £18,000 in travels and entry fees – it’s £275 entrance fee each week – and the Challenge Tour will be more,” he said.
“Even though it’s the European Challenge Tour, it’s played in Russia, India, Colombia... all over the world.”
And longer-term, Robinson – who cites his tee shots as his strength – is hoping his continued progress will smooth a passage to the big-time.
He added: “My career goal is to make the top 50 in the world, and try my best to win a major. The Open would be the ultimate.”