This post has been a few weeks in the making. I’ve given it much thought and consideration, to ensure that I’m not only giving its subject, Leeds lad; Joe Heraty, the attention he deserves, but that I hit the right note with my rapidly increasing readership. I’m not so sure I’m enamoured with this choice of titular cheesiness – but we’ll go with it for now. Funnily enough, I first heard this turn of phrase, as said (possibly scripted) by Emma Willis on The Voice (BBC1 28th Feb 2015) referring to the rather lush Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chief’s fame and I made a mental note. Ricky, as most of us will know, is another example of ‘local lad come good’ and a nice one at that. So, let’s go with it. I’m not sure where the golfing fraternity are concerned that ‘I Predict A Riot’ any time soon – but I’d like to think that ‘our Joe’ won’t be just a shot in the dark either. I’d like to think he’ll be ruffling quite a few feathers in the ‘golfing world’ in the coming months – hopefully of the birdie, eagle, albatross and condor variety!
I’m a sucker for a good cause… So, when my good friend and neighbour, Joe’s mum, told me about Joe’s financial plight and search for sponsorship for the forthcoming PGA EuroPro Tour 2015, I figured the least I could do was offer to assist him in his efforts.
We’re all somebody’s son/daughter/brother/sister after all and I’d like to think that if one of my children needed a helping hand that someone somewhere would be equally benevolent and step in. ‘I’m so proud of him,’ Joe’s mum has told me excitedly, on more than one occasion, grinning like a Cheshire cat in the wake of yet another golfing achievement, ‘He’s setting out in the professional world.’ (These words resonated with me … Not least because I’ve heard them somewhere before, in my youth)… That was enough to start the cogs whirring and to get the proverbial ball rolling. Always up for a challenge, I’m hoping, in this instance, I’m backing a winner in Joe, – because I’m a competitive Yorkshire lass. Nothing satisfies quite so much as ‘winning and achieving.’ However much hard work and dedication is necessary to reach the results – that moment it pays off is priceless. I guess I’ve got my sportsman father to thank for that (though my Dad was top of his game in hockey, football and cricket in his prime, – but not golf – so I can’t ask him for any sporting advice)! My link to golf is only tenuous. What I know about golf you could probably write on the back of a postage stamp (although I’m learning… slowly). Golf and I never really gelled that well. It very much reminds me of a misspent youth, teenage love, the angst that goes hand in hand with the same, and the beginning of the end for a pair of much coveted white shoes (but that’s a whole other story). (Remind me not to tell you about that sometime).
My first proper meeting with Joe was just a few weeks back, prior to him embarking on his EuroPro 2015 journey. There I was, one busy Friday morning, frayed around the edges (as per the norm), when Joe came knocking. Thing is, I know lots about Joe, us mum’s have a habit of talking, – but apart from occasionally bumping into him to say ‘Hi’ or to wave in passing whilst he abandons his car outside my house, I didn’t know the guy personally. So I ushered him into the lounge (apologising for the mess, blaming it on the kids – obv) and he plonked himself down on the leather sofa by the window like a kid at an interview. It seems everything his Mum said is true. I presented him with a really lousy looking cuppa (I take my tea black – so I never get the milk right) and, despite a sly grin, he thanked me and drank it, however bad it must have tasted. Joe comes across as one of the good guys ; good natured, good mannered, good looking (Oh if I was 20 years younger!) and a ‘very’ good golfer to boot, or so I’ve heard on good authority. I can tell from the outset that golf is his passion, although his self-confidence seems a little lacking. Whilst Joe’s not exactly bashful – he’s not bragging or forthright in his obvious achievements and talent … specifics that I had to drag out of him. In fact he told me almost as much about the impressive golfing skills of his younger brother, Jack, the one who, through brotherly rivalry, set him out on his chosen career path, all those years ago.
I’d initially offered Joe my help, on the back of the success of my blog, previously hosted by Yorkshire Life Magazine. I figured it was in local interest to get Joe’s name out there and start tongues wagging. I have many personal contacts from my previous jobs in TV and radio and a number of high end companies, having dealt with press offices and celebrities throughout my career. I didn’t hesitate to revisit acquaintances when Pete was training to swim The Channel, and I managed to get editorials in many local newspapers and even some air play. I’m not shy in coming forward, so if I can use my experience to put Joe under the noses of those who can take him further both via publicity and sponsorship then this is merely a starting point. I’ve got my fingers in a few pies, and a whole host of ideas that might just help Joe get the recognition that he needs.
Joe started golfing at the age of 15 – just 8 years ago, and in that time has not only grown (startlingly tall) in stature and developed as a young man, but he’s fast becoming an impressive and dedicated golfer too, with a number of amateur achievements already tucked under his (Druh) belt. I imagine it’s daunting for Joe being questioned at length about his career, his objectives and presenting his sponsorship ideas, but he carries himself well and it’s great practise for press calls and interviews. The luminous orange Nike trainers Joe was wearing were the first thing that struck me. An ice-breaker for certain, not least because they were seriously bright (for a guy who hides his light under a bushel) – but also because I was a Nike Professional myself (albeit a FitPro of a different nature) back in my heyday. Whilst Joe isn’t ‘showy’ he can hold his own and so long as his golfing ability continues to draw positive attention, publicity and the media are easily courted. Anyway, the trainers – well done Joe, a great opener to diffuse any awkwardness.
There was a snap of keen in the air as soon as his beloved golf was mentioned. An enthusiasm and gift for the sport merited by those that know him well, only echoed at Moor Allerton Golf Club – where I caught up with him last week to meet his friend and mentor James Whitaker and I was able to take some shots of him in action.
Joe’s already confessed to a serious weakness for Nutella and a penchant for poker, beer and clubbing, which, as for any red-blooded male, feature highly in his leisure time away from the green, as does 5-a-side football. When he returned from a 3 week training session in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, he and his mates scooped a trophy at his local club … it seems there’s no ends to his sporting prowess. When he’s not on the footy pitch, or more commonly on the green or the fairway, he can often be found with ‘the lads’ at The Box in Headingley. I’m pretty certain that fast cars and women will segue into Joe’s life smoothly in time, if they haven’t already!
Failing to find any flaws in his ‘good guy’ image, Joe admitted to having had a shocking temper in his youth (which I find hard to believe), but then he also assures me his love of golf; bringing about an abundance of fresh air and exercise and the amount of concentration needed; has brought this under control. So, I’m championing Joe and offering him my help, for what it’s worth, in trying to raise his PR and ultimately find him sponsors. He’s drawn up a credible sponsorship deal that offer’s a share in himself, (a snip at £800 a pop) initially for the forthcoming EuroPro 2015 Tour (which I’m thrilled to announce he’s about to embark on – having secured himself a place in the qualifying rounds just last week) and afterwards in support of the remainder of his first full ‘professional’ year.
Joe is lucky to have the support of a number of golfing professionals, including James Whitaker Head Professional at Moor Allerton Golf Club where Joe is a member and does the lion’s share of his training, and Simon Hurd, former professional golfer (now based at Cookridge Hall Golf Club and Fitness Centre) and founder of Druh Belts – who are sponsoring Joe in his endeavours. He also has the backing of family and friends and some sponsors have come forwards from his recent training sessions in Abu Dhabi.
You might have seen Nick Westby’s sports editorial for the YEP on Wednesday 22nd April http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/other-sport/golf/golf-heraty-is-raising-the-stakes-in-pro-ranks-1-7221414 where Nick further outline’s Joe’s ploy to sell ‘shares in himself’ and does so far more succinctly than I and with the added advantage of golfing ‘know-how.’
Joe tee’s off in the PGA EuroPro Tour is at Celtic Manor, Wales on 14th May … so time really is of the essence.
I’ve a few local projects up my sleeve to get Joe noticed in the coming months and to raise his profile, including an art come sports initiative involving some children from two local schools, namely St Margaret’s C of E School in Horsforth, and Penny Fields School, Meanwood, with the Horsforth Walk of Art 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for news of my plans in the coming weeks.
In the run up to EuroPro 2015 Joe will be practising avidly, honing his physique and indulging less in the sweet treats on offer in the pro shop, maybe even limiting his Nutella intake and getting his energy fix from bananas!
In the meantime, I will be behind the scenes working on projects and potential sponsors and trying to track down Justin Timberlake! (Joe played with Justin in Abu Dhabi not so long ago). Although I fear he and the beautiful Jessica might have their hands full right now with the recent birth of their daughter.
Thanks in advance, for taking the time to read my account of Joe and his proposal. If you, or your company, would like to learn more of this Yorkshire golfing professional and offer your support by means of sponsorship and/or product placement, – then please contact me via this blog. Similarly, please don’t hesitate to forward the details to other prospective backers or golfing enthusiasts, as you deem fitting.