ANDREW WILSON has decided now is the time to take the next step in a bid to make it as a Tour pro.

After a glittering amateur career that had seen him represent his country and secure a number of impressive triumphs and finishes, the Darlington-based hopeful is shaping up to attack his first year in the paid ranks.

And, given he only finished a masters in business for finance at Northumbria University last year, the 24-year-old has already done the maths and knows what he has to do make a name for himself in 2019.

Now Wilson has the backing of the renowned Rockliffe Hall, after the County Durham hotel and golf club signed him up as their latest professional alongside Callum Tarren and Ellie Givens.

The Northern Echo:

NEW LINK: Andrew Wilson at Rockliffe Hall with Martyn Stubbings

The link-up has given the former North of England Youth champion and England international the ideal start to 2019, as he shapes up to embark on his first Tour year. He will be appearing in Challenge Tour events when its possible.

“I knew I was going to turn pro this year, last year was my first out of university, so wanted a year to try to have a good year as an amateur,” said Wilson.

“It can make it easier to get sponsors if I have an OK year and this was the right thing to do.

“I played Home Internationals in October and having such experiences, playing against France, should help.

“It has meant playing against higher standard of players, it’s not compulsory but it promotes experience. It gives you an insight into the lifestyle, if you just play for England all the time then you can acclimatise to different countries. I went abroad in my England kit, to France, Portugal, the Algarve, it was good for me.”

While his amateur days mean he has a strong reputation going into the pro ranks, he knows that will count for very little when he hits the tee box and greens because everyone will be vying for the right to earn a full European Tour card in 2020.

“I turned pro for the final stage of European Tour school, I had to go through the first and second stage,” he said. “I did first stage well, got top 25 in the first two stages. I came second in the first stage.

“Then in the final stage there were two days between, so I came home for two nights. I probably shouldn’t have done but you learn.

“But basically I have a category on the Challenge Tour now, I will try to enter all the events and hopefully I will get a place, whatever the cut off point is I will travel last minute out on Mondays and Tuesdays to play. Hopefully I will get into plenty. They have dropped events this year so that might influence things, might be harder.”

Wilson had 11 years at Darlington Golf Club rising through the ranks so hopes to still play there after Rockliffe’s offer to join them.

He explained: “I have known (Rockliffe) director of golf Martyn Stubbings and Jon Stacey (former director) for ages and I heard James Maw was leaving, so when I turned pro I wondered if there was an opening. After Q-School I went for a chat, and that got sorted at the end of January.

“I have spoken to Martyn quite a bit, I will be wearing Rockliffe’s clothing, and I have played loads of conditions, and Rockliffe is stunning.”

Stubbings said: “Andrew has been on our radar for quite some time and I’ve watched his progress with interest in the last few years. He’s a promising young golfer and we’re delighted to welcome him to Rockliffe Hall as our latest attached professional.”

With the countdown on for Wilson to start his new experience, which could be next month, he is excited for what lie ahead – and is determined to do what he can to make it a success.

He said: “I am going to play it by ear, I have my accountancy qualification, so that takes a bit of pressure off me, at the end of the season if I was skint then that will help me keep my options open.

“If I enjoy it the results will come, if I am struggling then I will think about things. A few things need to fall into place, I need a few breaks. I’m optimistic, practising a lot. I am looking forward to it.”