DAVID Howell was back where it all began earlier this month, with the former Ryder Cup star a guest speaker at the annual Wiltshire County Golf sporting dinner at Wrag Barn Golf Club.
The 36-year-old is undoubtedly the most famous golfer to come from the county, having started out at Broome Manor Golf Club as a junior member.
Howell went on to rack up numerous junior titles and county honours during the early 1990s – with highlights being the capture of a British Youth’s title and being invited to play in the Walker Cup.
Since turning professional, Howell has four European Tour wins to his name and has twice been part of a victorious Ryder Cup team.
“It was lovely to be back in Swindon,” he told the Advertiser. “County golf got me started and pushed me on into my professional career some 20 years ago.
“When you are a junior in county golf you grow up pretty fast and you develop friendships that have lasted right up until now, so it has been a big part of my life.”
Howell was back in Swindon to help celebrate what was a highly successful 2011 for Wiltshire golf after they were crowned English champions in October.
Captain of Wiltshire is Howell’s long-time friend Kevin Phillips, who caddied for him at the Walker Cup.
“Just about my best pal in the world is Kevin Phillips and he has been the county captain for the last two years and a very successful one,” added Howell.
“It was great to be back in the Swindon area and go to a nice dinner with lots of friendly, familiar faces and help celebrate what was a great year for Wiltshire golf last year.
“I still have roots here as my brother and my dad live here. I am not back as much as I used to be, I spend a lot of time in Dubai but I always love coming back to Swindon.
“It feels like my home and always will do.”
Meanwhile, Wrag Barn golfer Martin Sell has enjoyed a good week on the Jamega Tour.
The 32-year-old carded a three over 75 at High Post on Monday to finish tied fifth before claiming a share of third place at Aldwickbury Park on Thursday with a one under 70.