Carrickfergus PGA Professional James Orchin will make the most of his club’s debut appearance in a championship final by using it to help inspire a new generation of golfers.
Orchin, 30, is set to tee up alongside club captain Duncan McLeod in the Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final over the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club in Turkey on November 26-27.
The duo qualified for the tournament, which carries a £25,000 prize fund and is supported by Canopius, after a well-earned victory in the regional qualifier at Roganstown.
That was Orchin’s first career win – playing opportunities are restricted for the Northern Irishman as he spends most of his time working at the club while also visiting local schools to get youngsters involved in the sport.
Recently that has involved holding indoor sessions in neighbouring primary schools, and he acknowledges success in Turkey would be invaluable in helping to showcase golf to prospective pupils.
“This is the first time the club’s got to the final of a flagship event, so the whole place is just really excited,” he enthused.
“For me as someone who is a club pro first-and-foremost I don’t get a lot of chances to play as I’m so busy running the club and getting involved in junior activities.
“We’re always trying to increase the junior section here, the kids certainly seem to love the indoor sessions and having the club playing in championship finals is only going to help with that.”
Despite a relative lack of playing time, Orchin is still confident the duo can claim a scalp in Antalya.
“I’ve known Duncan for a long time, and we used to play golf against each other before I even took the job at Carrickfergus.
“We wouldn’t be going over there if we didn’t think we could win it.
“Duncan is a very good player, he’s Mr Reliable and I know he will use his shots well over there. We just need to go and give it our best shot.”
Speaking after the qualifier, five-handicapper McLeod, a supervisor at Bombardier Aerospace, said: “This has been an excellent day for the club. Something like this will really help us to raise our profile.
“I’ve been told the facilities in Turkey for the final are superb, everyone I’ve spoken to raves about it.”