PGA professional and North East & North West PGA secretary Steve Harrison shares the highs and lows from his career in golf
A PGA professional for more than 20 years, Steve Harrison has won golf tournaments and pro ams across the region. Having started his career at City of Newcastle, he served as head professional at Stocksfield from 2005-2019 before becoming NE/NW PGA secretary in February 2020. Host of pro ams and tournaments, Steve’s golfing experiences stretch over tens of thousands of miles, at hundreds of events and with thousands of golfers. We caught up with him to share just some of the stories from his career so far…
1 How much golf do you get to play?
I tend to play once a month, though I’ll go through spells of playing a bit more when I really get into it. I’m a member at Goswick, where I play a bit of golf with some of my fellow PGA pros. While I’m playing less, I’m really enjoying running the NE/NW PGA events. I haven’t got a burning desire to tee it up in an event at the moment, but I’d never say I’ll never do it again.
2 How did you get into golf?
I first picked up the game a few weeks before my 15th birthday with a friend from cricket. Nobody in my family played and for about six months, I played in my cricket spikes as they were the only studded shoes I had. I played a bit between Parklands and Wallsend – where I had my first ever birdie 30 years ago on the old 12th hole – before I joined City of Newcastle and started taking it more seriously.
3 Which is your favourite course in the North East?
I’ve always liked links golf, so Goswick is right up there on my list. I’ve also really enjoyed the Hunting Course at Slaley Hall and I think Rockliffe Hall is a fabulous layout which will only get better as it matures.
4 And further afield?
I tend to favour links courses and Scotland has so many amazing ones. If I had to pick one, I’d say Turnberry as it’s a naturally beautiful place which is fantastic to play on a nice calm day. I’m also a big fan of Monte Rei and West Cliffs in Portugal.
5 What’s your best score ever?
I set the course record (64) at City of Newcastle in 1995, beating the old course record by three shots. Sadly, it’s since been beaten, but it stood for more than a decade.
6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
I’ve had some amazing experiences on trips with the PGA and at tournaments, playing courses with amazing history like Carnoustie, Turnberry and Wentworth. Golfers lose a lot more than we win, so very few of them are success stories, but I’ve taken away so many brilliant memories.
7 What about embarrassing moments on the course?
When I was in my early 20s, I’d won my first two county matches and needed a third to get my county colours. Northumberland played Durham at City of Newcastle and I was so full of myself, I thought I’d never be beaten at home. Jimmy Handy beat me 6&5, completely outplayed me, and put me right back in my place. I learned a lot that day.
8 Do you have any golfing superstitions?
I haven’t got any, but I’ve seen all sorts over the years at different events and in pro shops.
9 What are your strengths on the course?
I’ve always been a tidy wedge player and have a lot of confidence from inside 100 yards, which has held my game together when other things have been more of a challenge.
10 And your weaknesses?
I have two weaknesses. I’ve never been a great driver of the ball, so have tended to rely on being a good wood and long iron player. I’m also not pretty to watch with a short putter, though the broom-handle putter tends to behave itself.
11 Which is your favourite club in the bag?
My pitching wedge, I tend to go to it a lot.
12 Who is your best golfing friend?
I’ve played a lot of golf with Simon Coultas from City of Newcastle over the years and we’re incredibly good friends. We talk all the time, and we always enjoy golf together.
13 If you weren’t a PGA professional, what would you be doing?
I used to play a lot of sports at school, but once I discovered golf that was it. I did my A Levels and started working in the shop at City of Newcastle for Anthony Matthew before joining the PGA. I have no idea what I’d be doing, but I’d like to think it would be in golf.
14 Who is your favourite tour player?
I’m a big Rory McIlroy fan, he’s the one who makes me put the golf on TV. He’s a spectacular golfer and comes across as a genuine guy, so I enjoy following him.
15 Which golf events do you enjoy most?
I’ve been to a few Scottish Opens and I love seeing the best in the world play links golf. When I’m playing, I would have to pick Archerfield. We’re lucky to have pro ams there and the overall experience is just phenomenal.
16 Who do you admire?
I’ve got a huge amount of admiration for people who go outside their comfort zone. It’s not just in golf, but a great example is the professionals who build studios and invest huge amounts of time, money and effort into their businesses. I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys.
17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d pick Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, just so I could see them up close and play alongside them. My third pick would go to Simon Coultas, so he could share the experience and I’d have someone to relive it all with afterwards.
18 If you could have one mulligan, when would you have used it?
I’d give it to Richie Armstrong from Stocksfield. Playing together in the PGA Pro-Captain at Fulford, he missed a three-footer on 16 or 17 which would have won us a trip to the Moon Palace Resort in Mexico. It was a while ago, but I still rib him about it when I see him.