Ulster champion Barrie Trainor has been inspired by Irish Open hero Shane Lowry to sell shares in his golfing dream.
The 28-year old Warrenpoint talent wants to join Lowry on the European Tour after getting a glimpse of the promised land when playing alongside the Offaly star for the first two rounds of his historic 3 Irish Open win just seven months ago.
But he needs £25,000 (€27,500) to cover his expenses next season and hopes that 50 backers will invest £500 (€550) each to help keep his dream alive and allow him to play golf without worrying where next week's entry fee or boat fare is coming from.
"My dream is the make it to the European Tour and if I can get the financial side out of my head, it will be a huge help," Barrie says. "It’s tough going to Irish Region Pro-ams knowing you have to earn €1,500 to be able to play on the Europro next week. If I can have everything booked and paid for in advance it will take some of the pressure off.
"We do it on a shoestring anyway, myself a few other lads. We take the boat and share a car. But the Europro Tour costs £800 to £850 a week and if you finish fifth that's about £1,070 back. You have to win out there. It's £10,000 and then the pressure is off for the season. Second is five grand. Third is three grand. After that you are doing well to cover your expenses. So I've got to knuckle down and get stuck in and this is the only feasible way of doing it.
“The idea is that I keep 50 percent of my winnings and I share the other half with the other 50 shareholders. Nobody had five grand for sponsorship these days but I'm hoping people might be prepared to make a small investment and hopefully they will get a few pounds back on it.”
Several parties have already taken Trainor up on his offer and there is no reason why he can't follow in the footsteps of players like Lowry, Gareth Maybin or even major winner Rich Beem, who have all seen their dreams come true.
Lowry did it in fairytale fashion by winning a European Tour event as an amateur in his very first start.
But both Maybin and Beem had help from friends by way of share schemes and Trainor is hoping that people will feel he's worth a punt.
He has a pretty good pedigree too and if you think that a guy that has played most of his golf on PGA Irish Region pro-am circuit has no chance, think again. In fact, think of Damien McGrane.
Trainor completed an amazing hat-trick of Irish Assistants Championships wins last year (former winners include McGrane and David Feherty) and romped to a three stroke win in this year's 36-hole Ulster Championship at Lough Erne Golf Resort thanks to a brilliant, final round 66.
He finished sixth on the Irish Region's Order of Merit, earning the right to tee it up with the best in next year's 3 Irish Open at Killarney and also manage make eight cuts out of 10 on his Europro Tour forays.
He'll play a full Irish Region and PGA Europro Tour schedule again this year with a pre-season stint on the Hi-5 Pro Tour in Spain. And he sincerely believes that he can go on to earn at least a Challenge Tour card and follow in the footsteps of former Royal County Down assistant Simon Thornton, who earned his European Tour card just a few weeks ago.
To do that he will need some financial security and the share scheme could be the answer to his prayers and give the confidence to begin of an arduous journey that could see him join the likes of Lowry on the big stage in a few years' time.
Trainor found his putting touch too late this season to get through the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School. But next year could be different.
“Playing with Shane at Baltray was an unbelievable experience and that’s where I want to be," said the Ulsterman, who shot a pair of 73s to miss the incredibly low, four under par cut by six strokes. "The 62 he shot on Friday ... it was unbelievable. I was in awe. He just couldn’t do anything wrong that day. Seve Benson shot five under. They were playing great golf and I was just trying to stay out of their way.
"I loved it. I loved playing in front of those crowds and I think I handled it well. It gave me a taste for it and I want to taste it again."
Thornton was a humble assistant at Newcastle just a few years ago. Two years ago he played on the Europro Tour for the first time and did well enough to earn his Challenge Tour card by making the cut at the final stage of the 2008 Q-School. Earlier this month he completed his amazing journey by winning his card at PGA Golf de Catalunya.
Barrie Trainor is a qualified PGA professional so if he fails to make it, he can always fall back on a club job to support his partner and three year old boy.
Barrie explains it best in his own words:
I am hoping to raise up to £25,000 sterling which will enable me to practice and get ready for the 2010 season. I feel my game is good enough to reach the Challenge Tour by the end of the year with a view to climbing onto the main European Tour.
You could help me realise my dream by buying a share in me for £500, which hope I will be able to return to you with a bonus at the end of the year.
In the share bonuses include:
- A playing lesson with me at the course of your choice
- You can follow my progress and your investment on my web site
- Your company Name/Advertisement/ Link to your website (If you wish)
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and I would be delighted if you want to get involved.