HAVING teed off side by side for the majority of their amateur days, golfing brothers Ben and Josh Loughrey are finally going their separate ways as they both embark on their respective professional careers.
The Wrag Barn duo share the same aim - a place on the Challenge Tour but they will both take very different routes towards that target.
While Ben will be taking on courses in England, Ireland and Scotland on the EuroPro Tour, Josh will teeing off in places like France, Austria and Spain on the Alps Tour.
Both brothers have enjoyed successful amateur careers which included representing England at international level, but both are convinced now is the right time to turn professional.
For 25-year-old, Ben turning professional has given him more focus following a disappointing season last year.
“Last year and the year before I didn’t really play as well as I wanted,” admitted Ben. “I didn’t get the results I wanted to.
“It was mainly my fault because I didn’t practice as hard as I wanted to. But I’ve realised now and I’m putting the work in and my game is improving. “Every area that I am practising hard on is coming through now and I’m happy about that.
“Last year I didn’t get in the Walker Cup side and I didn’t get selected for England so I just thought ‘am I going to wait two years to play the Walker Cup?’ because that is really the only thing I haven’t done in my amateur career. The answer was no because I didn’t want to play the same events again, the hardest courses in the hardest conditions, off back tees, with pins on slopes and getting nothing out of it money wise. I’m 25 and I have to try and make some money so I thought I may as well get out there and give it a go.”
Young brother Josh, 23, also had a disappointing season last year and is now relishing his just to shine on the Alps Tour.
“I feel ready for it,” said Josh. “My amateur season last year went no where near as it did the year before. Ben talked about turning pro and we thought we would do it together.
“We had the plan to both do the Alps Tour but that hasn’t quite worked out. I’m looking forward to doing some travelling.
“I’m going to be playing courses I’ve never heard of before and it’s exciting to be playing in lots of different countries. The standard is quite high but it’s going to be good playing in the good weather. I think I may have got the better deal compared to Ben (playing in Europe) but I’ve also got the pricey one.”
Both will now target top five finishes in their respective tours in order to reach the Challenge Tour and Ben says it would be a dream come true if they both make it.
“That would be the dream come true (to both reach the Challenge Tour),” said Ben, who tees off in his first EuroPro Tour event at the Belfry next week.
“But it’s going to be tough (to get in the top five) because there are 200 guys trying to do exactly the same.
“I feel that I can now go out there and make money. I’ve just played the EuroPro Tour qualifying and played good but nowhere near as well as I can and yet I still made cuts and got my tour card.
“I’ve got my first event next week at the Belfrey and I feel I can go out there and compete I just need to sharpen up my short game. Once I do that I feel like I will be in contention.
“I want a top five finish but this is a learning curve and a stepping stone to the Challenge Tour and then European Tour. We are both good enough to compete but it’s just about getting there and staying there.
“I think Josh has a good chance to progress. It is a great tour and well organised and he is playing well. If we both work hard then I think we can both do well. If it takes a year or two to make it then that’s fine.”
Josh, who begins his Alps Tour campaign on May 1 in Paris, also has faith in his brother to do well on tour and revealed there might be some friendly rivalry along the way although neither can afford to put down a wager.
“I think they’ll be some friendly rivalry to see who is earning the most money,” said Josh. “We can’t afford a wager though so it will just be for pride.
“I think Ben will do well, I think he has found some form he just needs to sort his chipping and putting out. He is striking the ball well. All that let him down before was a few three putts here or there and a few up and downs.
“We are both going to have work along the way and we are looking for sponsorship to help us out. Both tours are quite expensive to play so we really need all the help we can get. My mum and dad run a farm shop in Gloucester and I’m lucky enough that they have agreed to sponsor me. They will help us along the way but we are both going to have to do things on a budget.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Ben or Josh should call 07775513339 or 07591415719.