In the year that Four Ashes Golf Centre’s Steve Dunbar first qualified as a PGA teaching professional, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Peter Thomson and Dave Marr won golf’s four Majors: the Masters, the US Open, The Open, and the USPGA, respectively.
Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, The Queen was still in her 30s, and England’s footballers were a year from winning the World Cup.
Just 18 and 18 Handicap!
It was 1965. Steve was 18, and qualified as a golf teacher just three years after first taking up the game. He’s long since lost count of the number of people he has taught to play the game over 52 years, but he revels in his work now as much as he did back then.
Steve’s love affair with golf started at 15, when he was taken on by Ladbrook Park Golf Club, Tanworth-in-Arden, as an odd-job boy, and in between all the menial jobs, he taught himself to play the game – and within six months he had an 18 handicap. Two years later he started teaching other people.
“I love my job as much now as I did when I first started in 1965!”
“I practised and practised between scrubbing the floors and all the other chores my job involved, and before long I was playing local tournaments,” said Steve. “But I quickly took to teaching rather than playing as a career, and I love it as much now as I did back then.”
33 Years at Four Ashes Golf Centre
Steve is now in his 33rd year as a golf pro at Four Ashes, and both a popular and familiar face. He arrived here via Croydon – where he had moved on to from Ladbrook Golf Club – and West Sussex, starting with us in January 1984, nine months after Four Ashes Golf Centre first opened for business.
“It was all very new and very exciting,” said Steve. “I’ll never forget my first day here: Jasper Carrot, the comedian, was here practising and wished me luck, he saw my name on a board welcoming me, realised it was me, and was very friendly – he’s been a regular here, and a friend, over many years.
“Four Ashes has always been a fantastic golf facility for its driving range and teaching centre; but since Fred and Vicky arrived as the new owners five years ago, it’s really taken off, and the opening of the Adventure Golf course last year has generated enormous interest, and new converts to golf, which is great.”
Steve’s semi retired now, but he says he can never see himself retiring completely. “I’m proud to be a part of the Golf Academy at Four Ashes, with Paul (Sherrington) and Russell (Heritage), and we have such a wide range of opportunities for people to learn to play golf here.
Steve Dunbar’s Thoughts
“You need to have lessons to get the basics right!”
“I also love being around this place, there are so many lovely people I’ve got to know over the years, and the staff are all wonderful and so enthusiastic.”
And Steve’s tip to those who play golf, or are taking it up for the first time: “It’s all about attitude – stay calm! Practice is very important, and though I would say this, lessons are so important, especially if you’re new to the game, you need to get the basics right.”
Favourite all time player? “Jack Nicklaus”
Best ever player? “Tiger Woods”
Favourite characters? “Lee Trevino and Seve Ballesteros – always great entertainers as well as top class players”
And finally, his favourite Four Ashes experience? “Lots of them over the years. But more recently it’s been lovely seeing Daanyal Spalding develop from a keen young boy golfer at Four Ashes into a player who has now made it on to the EuroPro Tour. He’s a lovely lad, a great player, and I would love to see him go all the way in the game.”