A round with… David Clark

Morpeth-based professional and regular NE/NW PGA winner David Clark shares stories from his career in golf, from his best rounds to his favourite places to play and his dream fourball

David Clark’s journey to turning professional was a quick one – first taking the game seriously at the age of 15, he won the club championship at Rothbury Golf Club then lifted the Champion of Champions trophy in 1996 – aged just 18. He would build on that success in 1997 before turning professional and joining the team at Morpeth Golf Club – where he remains today. David, 45, is a regular winner – successfully defending the NE/NW PGA Portugal pro am title in November 2023, and enjoying national success in 2022 in the SkyCaddie Pro-Captain Challenge with partner Steve Redpath. He also continues to rack up club pro am and PGA tournament wins in the region, while running a busy pro shop and coaching diary. Here’s more from our round…

How much golf do you get to play?
All my golf is competitive in the summer – there’s not too much time for practice these days with a business to run and two kids. I enjoy playing more these days, it’s a very different game when you’re older and playing isn’t your main source of income. I’m also still competitive, which helps, and while I’ve had some back issues I turned the corner on that and got a win in Portugal at the end of 2023.

How did you get into golf?
When I was 10, we went on a family holiday to Aviemore and I went to the big putting green in town every day for a week with my dad. That Christmas, I got some clubs and started walking over to Rothbury Golf Club during the following summer. The golf club was a brilliant place to grow up; loads of the lads I played football with played golf as well and we had some good players in the junior team, including Carl Nicholls and James Atthey, who are both PGA professionals.

Which is your favourite course in the North East?
I love Goswick, I’m a member there and enjoy how much the course changes depending on the wind. I’ve also done well there in Local Qualifying for The Open a few times over the years.

And further afield?
As all my golf is played in tournaments these days, I tend to favour the courses I play well at. Outside of the North East, I always like going to Archerfield – the whole experience is brilliant.

What’s your best score?
I’ve shot nine under-par twice, at Linden Hall and Barnard Castle.

Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Playing in a few European Tour events was a lot of fun, but the thing that stands out is going on holiday with my mam and dad. That was when golf was really fun. My mam got pretty good and was captain of Rothbury in 2023, and my dad always enjoyed the game.

Do you have any golfing superstitions?
I’m not superstitious, but my first boss, Martin Jackson, taught me to always look professional and I still can’t play golf in dirty shoes.

What about your most embarrassing moments on the course?
I don’t embarrass easily, which is good as I’ve hit plenty shockers over the years. At Final Qualifying for The Open in 2023, I forgot my golf shoes and bought a very expensive replacement pair at Dundonald Links, which I managed three holes in. I ended up borrowing my caddy’s very well-worn ones and was seriously concerned they wouldn’t let me play. Given my last answer, I wasn’t in a place to play my best golf that day.

What are your strengths on the course?
I’m pretty consistent across the board and don’t tend to make big mistakes.

And your weaknesses?
My fitness since injuring by back has let me down. I’ve done some physio in the last few months and I’m back on the right track though.

Which is your favourite club in the bag?
My driver – a Titleist TSR3 – is pretty reliable.

Who is your best golfing friend?
In NE/NW PGA tournaments, I always like to play alongside Mark Ridley – mainly because he makes me look like I hit it a long way. We’re very lucky to have a friendly bunch of pros in the region and singling one out is hard, but David Mather was my best man and I’d say he’s my favourite person to be out on the golf course with.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional golfer?
I wasn’t particularly academic as a kid, so I probably would have fallen into a job with my dad doing fencing work and stonemasonry.

Who is your favourite golfer?
I think everyone starts with Tiger and Jack, don’t they? From there, Faldo was the star when I was growing up. Right now, I enjoy watching Tyrrell Hatton as you never know what’s coming next.

Which golf event do you enjoy most?
Watching The Masters is always a good way to start the season. On the playing side, I enjoy going back to the Barnard Castle pro am as I’ve always done well there.

Who do you admire?
Bernhard Langer continues to impress me. I don’t think he has been blessed with great athleticism or a special natural ability, but he has maximised everything he can. His longevity – still winning at 66 when the gap to the guys turning 50 and joining the Champions Tour is so vast – is ridiculous.

Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
If it was just for me, I’d go on holiday to Scotland and play golf for fun again with my mam and dad. As a professional golfer, I’d have to pick tour players and I’d go for Faldo, Tiger and Jack – if you could make it so they were all in their prime that would be amazing to watch up close.

If you could have one mulligan, when would you have used it?
At Final Qualifying at Western Gailes, I double-bogeyed 17 then hit it out of bounds at 18 – playing the last two holes in three over-par. I missed out on playing in The Open at Royal Troon by two shots and it still stings a little bit. Also, on a stag do in Belfast, I gave a lad called Mick Foster a piggyback and my back has played up since, so I’d like to undo that as well please.