Walking through the clubhouse at La Canada GC the Gecko on the Wall bumped into last week’s winner on The Gecko Pro Tour, Chris Hanson, one of the new faces on the tour who had flown over to Spain to prepare for his upcoming season on the Challenge tour. Chris turned professional in 2006 and is a four-time winner on the PGA Europro Tour, earning him top spot on their Order of Merit and consequently a full card on The Challenge Tour. Since joining the Challenge Tour he has gone on to record five top10 finishes. Leading the qualifying event at Hillside GC, Chris also earned himself a place to play at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Taking time out from the practise ground, Chris joined me for a quick coffee and chat before heading to the range to prepare for his first round. The Gecko on the Wall proceeded to ask him a few questions:
Q When did you arrive in Spain and how long have you been training out here for?
“I arrived on the first of February. My original plan was to practise for three weeks and then enter this event at La Canada, but my wife convinced me to play last week.”
Q How long are you here for?
“I am leaving after this event and I fly back on Thursday to start my Challenge Tour season (the Madeira Islands Open).”
Q Was last week’s event the first time you have played on The Gecko Pro Tour?
“Yes the first one as I have not played on The Gecko Pro Tour before. I played a few events in the Jamega Winter Series a few years ago but my sponsor has a place down in Marbella (Aloha) which he said I could use for a month for my preparation. It has worked out perfectly because you guys were here so I could get in some competitive tournament golf as well.”
Q One tournament and one win! You must be happy with that?
“I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I have been training and practising for the last few months back home in the cold and when I arrived in Spain I wasn’t playing that well for the first two weeks. I think it took the initial two weeks in Spain to loosen up and also like teeing it up and getting competitive and against the strong competition on The Gecko Pro Tour it got my juices going, it got me fired up. It was great to play one and win one.”
Q I know you are a Rugby League supporter from Huddersfield so I won’t hold that against you (I am an avid Rugby Union fan) but how did you get into golf?
“Jeez, My whole family was a golfing family. They have been driving me to golf courses since I was about three, so I almost grew up on one. When I turned about thirteen it was Junior medals or Sunday league football and golf took over. From there I got the bug really and I went to a golf college in Preston before turning pro when I was 20.”
Q So what are your plans when this event finishes?
“I fly back home for one day then fly back to Spain to play in an event in Barcelona where I have a friend at Catalunya. Then I am home for a week before heading out to start the Challenge Tour in Madiera.”
Q Do you know the schedule of events you will be playing?
“No, I am hopefully going to play in all of the events as I am not planning any breaks. I am just going to keep on going until my batteries run out and think about it then. Over the years I have tried to pick my weeks but I think if I am feeling well and playing well, then I want to just keep going and ride my form.”
Q How did you hear about The Gecko Pro Tour?
“I know a few friends who have played it over the years. The guys spoke very highly of the Tour and that this is a fantastic place to come play golf. Over the years I have just been practising back home in the cold. My preparation has been decent, but I haven’t been fully match fit by March or April when I should have been. I know the lads that play all year round tend to play better. So I spoke to a few of the lads on the tour and they spoke very highly of it and said it was a great tour and worth coming out for.”
Q What are your goals this year as you approach the start of the Challenge Tour season?
“To get into the main tour! This is my fourth season on the Challenge Tour and I came close to winning a few times last season. I also got to play at The Open Championship which was a highlight for me. I played seven events on the main tour and I got a real taste for it. I also played in your country – South Africa -and made the cut at the Nelson Mandela event. I also played in the NH Collection at La Reserva last year and made the cut. I had a good year last year and played some good golf and it just gave me a good feel about where I want to be.”
Q I was caddying for Johan Edfords at the NH Collection se we must have walked past each other!
“Yeh Yeh I saw him there. I was there but sorry I didn’t realise you were his caddy! Come to think of it , it was cold and windy then but someone told me that I had came over during the worst month. Mind you, saying that, I wake up every morning and look out of the window and remind myself that it is a lot colder and wetter back home. I was playing with Anton, the young Swedish lad and he was telling me that back in Sweden it was -15 with three feet of snow so a little drizzle and a bit of wind is nothing really. And here you get a chance to play in good competition on some decent greens.”
Well, we all wish you the best of luck out there today in the “cold windy” conditions.
Ha Ha. Thanks
We hoped you enjoyed your time with us at The Gecko Pro Tour and we would be delighted to welcome you back anytime you wish to visit. On behalf of The Gecko Pro Tour, we wish Chris all the very best of luck as he pursues his goals.
Chris, you have made a number of friends and fans in Spain and we will all be following your success in the months to come.