Norfolk golf professional Ellis aims to strike fear into his rivals

The only fear Ian Ellis has this year is that which he hopes to strike in to his rivals each time he steps up on to the tee.

The 39-year-old Costessey Park professional admits he had been struggling to wrestle with his golf demons but last season's resounding return to form – which included 10 wins – demonstrated how he has now come out on top.

One of those wins saw him shoot his lowest ever competitive round, a 10 under par 62 to win the East Region Pro-Am at Ely City.

He also claimed the Norfolk PGA Matchplay title at Thetford, the Norfolk PGA Strokeplay at Barnham Broom, which he won by nine shots, and also won the Norfolk PGA Order of Merit for the sixth time, beating old rival Neil Lythgoe into second.

'After last year I'm really eager to get back out there,' said Ellis. 'I won the Norfolk PGA Pro-Am at Sheringham at the start of last year and I knew that I was back.

Someone said to me I shouldn't have said that because it could all go wrong but I went from strength to strength.

'The big thing about last year was that I wasn't scared to hit the golf ball. I didn't have the fear of messing up. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong and bad shots, I stayed focused. I managed to get rid of the fear.'

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Ellis puts his previous problems down to technical over-tinkering with his swing, injecting too many swing thoughts and not playing with feel.

He said: 'I did well in Norfolk and okay in the East Region to finish seventh in the order of merit. My consistency of play was back where it should be.

'I made some swing changes. I got too technical and that was wrong. I am more of a feel player.

'If I want to hit a fade then I'll think about the shape of the ball flight rather than anything else.'

Now that he's back on track Ellis, who teaches at Costessey Park, is eager to improve on last year's impressive performances.

Another crack at the European Tour PGA Championship at Wentworth is very high on his list of priorities. To achieve this he will have to finish in the top three of the East Region Order of Merit and will then hopefully book his place through a play-off against the other top-ranked players from the remaining six regions.

'My aim is to win the East Region Order of Merit and I'd really like to get back to Wentworth and play in the PGA again. I've not been there since 2008 and that's too long,' admitted Ellis.

'There is still room for improvement in my performances. I'd like to get back how I felt in 2003 when I missed out on qualifying for the Open by just a shot.

'At that time I didn't think too much about my game I just felt almost unbeatable. The game felt easy and if I hit a bad shot I knew that other areas of my game would compensate for it.

'I want to get back out on the course and win as many events as possible. I've re-signed with my sponsors Titleist and FootJoy and I'm ready and raring to go,' he added.

'I'm working on making myself stronger, hitting the weights. Some might say I shift a bit of weight each time I walk!

'I want to be able to give it everything this year without having to worry anything else.

'I've got a bad back and a bad knee but fingers crossed these won't hold me back.'

n Visit or contact Ian for tuition at Costessey Park on (01603) 746333.