Liam Robinson has spent his sporting career shooting. Unlike many of his peers on the European Challenge Tour, though, the former Coventry City youth player’s main concern was goals – not low rounds.
A talented full-back as a teenager, Robinson was a team mate of England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott as a schoolboy, before his football career was cruelly cut short by a fractured femur aged 18.
Having come close to featuring for the first team at his boyhood club, Robinson was keen to continue competing at the highest level, and has made the transition to professional golf with breakneck speed – he dropped his handicap from five to plus two in 14 months.
“I only started playing golf properly at 19,” he said. “It has been a very quick transition for me, and I’ve just been playing a little bit on the EuroPro Tour and the Jamega Tour.
“I was with Coventry City from nine to 18 and unfortunately I fractured my femur when I was 18. I was due to play with the first team, but I was called to train with the youth team and after ten minutes I got injured.
“It didn’t necessarily write me out of it completely but I couldn’t get my fitness back and I felt as though I lost a yard of pace.
“I was following in my dad’s [Les Robinson’s] footsteps really as he was a defender who made 742 football league appearances for teams including Oxford United and Stockport County.
“I used to play for England schoolboys from 14 to 16, and was in and out of the Coventry reserve team when I was around 15, so even though I haven’t been in golf that long I’ve been in professional sport for a long time – which I think has helped.
“I used to play golf in the summer in the off-season, I had my first hole-in-one when I was nine, and it was always something I really enjoyed.
“After getting injured I went out to play golf with my dad to just talk about what I was going to do with my life.
“I shot one or two over then thought to myself ‘I can do this’. I had a six-month period after the football finished where I was able to go out and work really hard, and I went from five to plus two in 14 months.
“The transition has been quick, and I feel as though I don’t have the same experience of competing as the players on this tour. I’m now playing six of the next seven events, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.”
Robinson made an eye-catching start in his first appearance on the 2017 Road to Oman, making a hole-in-one and two consecutive rounds of 67 to be in contention at the halfway stage of the D+D REAL Czech Challenge.
A disappointing weekend meant the Englishman eventually settled for a share of 33rd place, but the experience of four days of tournament golf proved invaluable for Robinson.
“I went into that first event thinking I needed to finish in the top ten,” he said. “The weekend was a little bit of a downturn, but something I’d put down to not really playing enough – mental fatigue more than anything.
“As the week went it was a really positive start and after the hole-in-one and everything else it was really good.
“The experience has been great so far though, and although I didn’t make the cut in Prague, I did feel like I was striking the ball well.”
Making his third start of the season at this week’s Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson, Robinson believes he has the game to score well at Katrineholms GK.
“The front nine in particular is very open off of the tee,” he said. “This is great for me as I like to hit driver as much as possible.
“The greens are nice and quick – I don’t really like slow greens – so from my first view of the course I really like it.”
At 27, Robinson is the same age as his former team mate Sturridge. When asked if he could have his time again, would he swap places with the Liverpool striker?
“I think I’m more suited to golf,” he said. “I like the fact that it’s all on you, whereas in football you can have a terrible game personally but be part of a good team that still wins.
“I used to be quite close with Daniel. We played together at Coventry City when we were 14. We don’t talk that much anymore, but I think that’s mainly because I’m so focused on my golf now.”