In 2017 David Shacklady was delivering parcels at Christmas to make ends meet. Two years on and the Englishman is reflecting on an unforgettable Staysure Tour season.
The Englishman picked up two trophies in 2019, triumphing in back-to-back starts at The Sinclair Invitational and Druh Belts presents Paris Legends Championship by Renault Z.E.
It is a long way from 2017 Staysure Tour Qualifying School at Pestana Golf Resort, where he agonisingly missed out on securing his card in a three-way play-off.
“I’ve battled and battled in everything I’ve ever done,” he said. “When I missed out at Qualifying School three years ago it was really crushing, and I hope I never feel like that ever again.
“I didn’t realise at the time, but it probably took me six months to play anything like I know I can play. I was playing on the local PGA circuit back home in Lancashire and was finishing well down the field. I went from almost being on Tour, to not even being able to get a top ten in a county event. It was a real low point for me.”
After missing out on his card in 2017, the 52-year-old contemplated giving up the game and took up a temporary position delivering parcels at UPS.
“I’d packed it in that November and gone to work for UPS. I’d decided that I wasn’t going to keep playing or go back to Qualifying School.
“Louise, my wife, said ‘I think you should have another go’. The money I’d saved from working at UPS was for Christmas and I said to her ‘are you sure you want that money to go towards me having another go at getting onto Tour?’ She believed in me and deep down I think I believed as well.
“I went and there I was 12 months down the line standing on the 17th tee at the same golf course, in the same position, knowing that two pars would get me my card. There was no way I was going to let it slip out of my hands that time. I was just thinking I can’t face that again. I was terrified of what it would feel like if it happened again and to be honest that could have been the end of me completely.”
It did not take long for Shacklady to make an impression in his maiden season, winning the VTB Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) in just his eighth start on the circuit. He kicked on in 2019, claiming two titles, in addition to three further top five finishes as he went on to finish third on the Staysure Tour Order of Merit.
“It was only when I went back to Ormskirk Golf Club and sat down and went through what I’d managed to achieve that it started to sink in. To go back to the club and have everyone come over and say ‘that is unbelieveable what you’ve done’ is special.
“When I look back at Christmas and think about what I’ve done this year, it is beyond what I would have expected to achieve. The biggest thrill for me is knowing that I get to do it again next year.”