A PROFESSIONAL golfer has marked a remarkable turnaround by celebrating glory after fearing he would never play again.

Ramside Hall’s professional Kevin Jackson was forced to go under the surgeon’s knife in 2012 in a bid to resolve a long-standing problem.

Jackson was recovering from surgery which had failed to repair nerve damage in his left forearm and wrist and left him wearing a wire cage to support a drooping hand.

But after six years and gradual progress, Jackson was back with a bang to end 2018 in style by celebrating his first professional win since recovering from the bizarre injury that threatened his livelihood and his playing career.

Jackson was not even due to be playing the competition where he triumphed, and not only did he succeed he also got to experience the excitement of winning on foreign soil.

He accepted an invitation as a late replacement to compete in the North-East North-West Portugal Pro-Am and then defied the odds to end the week a winner in the Algarve – completing his memorable and hugely satisfying comeback.

The County Durham pro shot a four-round total of 11 under par to win by six shots from runner-up Philip Waugh of Brampton, Cumbria. He capped off victory with a six-under par final round at Palmeres in Lagos.

Jackson said: “It was an emotional week for me. I knew I was in with a chance of winning after my third round. I went for a walk on the beach and just said to myself ‘have courage, make it happen,’ and I played great golf in the last round.”

It is that sort of character and approach that has seen Jackson return to the fairways in a competitive sense, never being ready to accept that his playing days could be over.

The 46-year-old only missed four fairways in 72 holes and that is an incredible statistic given he has had to teach himself to play in a different manner after three surgeries to repair the nerve tendons in his forearm.

Jackson said: “I’ve had to adapt and learn to play within myself because I don’t have anywhere near the power I once had in my left hand, wrist and arm.

“It has helped me apply my coaching knowledge and figure out a new way of getting it round in good scores.”

Jackson finished ahead of a strong field that included serial winners Mark Ridley, Simon Robinson and PGA Cup player Michael Nesbitt – all from the County Durham area.

Tom Flowers, secretary of the NE-NW PGA, said: “I was delighted to see Kevin win our Portugal Pro Am. He’s a lovely person and has come through great adversity to achieve this.

“He is a proven winner, on and off the golf course and is popular with his fellow professionals. Kevin is a great example to everyone to never give up.”

Jackson has never turned away from golf. Even during his injury problems he was running KRJ Golf Coaching and coaches at both Ramside Hall and Wearside golf clubs, working with different players of all ability levels.

This year, Jackson launched a new junior coaching programme and a schedule of competitive events based at Wearside’s nine-hole Academy Course. More than 50 juniors, aged from five to 16, took part this year and he is also lead coach to the Durham Sixth Form Centre golf academy programme.

n CATTERICK’S professional Rob Stansfield has opened a new swing studio at the golf club.

The new technology allows players of all abilities to have lessons indoors as well as offering the opportunity to analyse their golf shots.

Stansfield said: “This new facility is a great step forward and is proving enormously popular already as we can offer so much golfing experience and practice, whatever the weather.”

And club chairman Brian de la Haye said: “This is a great innovation which means that with all our other practice facilities, newcomers to the game as well as old hands can enjoy the opportunity to improve twelve months of the year.”

Stansfield has appointed PGA Year 2 registered assistant Kyle Humphrey.

For more information visit the club’s website or telephone 01748 833671.