Interview with EuroPro Golfer: Leon Fricker
Golfing hotshot Leon Fricker hails from Plymouth and turned professional over 4 years ago. He is as refreshing to talk to as he is to see out on the green, I for one am an advocate for golfers with dreadlocks! With his super relaxed style and swagger and dominant frame, Leon doesn't quite fit the professional golfing aesthetic stereotype. A gentleman and great role model for any young aspiring golfer, his image is helping to break the mould and bridge the gap in diversity of participants in young people taking up the sport.
We caught up with the newest addition to Team Altai Mountain, Leon Fricker, for a quick swing on the course and a chat about the journey to life as a pro athlete.
How did you get into Golf and who were your early influences in the sport?
My Dad bought me my first set of clubs when I was just 8 years old and my first early influence was Tiger Woods growing up. Another player I looked up to was Freddie Couples....probably because my first set of clubs were the Freddie Couples' signature kids clubs. My Dad enjoyed the game so it brought me, my Dad and my brother together just competing and playing together, having little competitions against each other and that's how I got going really. My brother, Ryan, is also a very good player, he coaches more so now but he's played at a high level competing against some of the best players in the world.
Wow! So have you and Ryan competed against each other professionally before?
Oh yeh loads of times! If we go out to play now we are just as competitive as when we were kids, if not more so! I've thrown clubs at him and he's hit golf balls at me, once we were playing a 9 hole competition between ourselves and I was getting in Ryan's head, I played a long putt to finish and he threw a golf ball at my knee, so I'm on the floor pretty much crying and some people come over asking if I'm ok and Ryan tells them, "Oh he's OK, he's just missed his putt he's fine." But professionally there's been plenty of times were we have been competing head to head and also sometimes on the same team too which is always cool.
Do you have any role models outside of Golf?
I love sport, so you know, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Johnny Wilkinson, Tala Umaga, Cristiano Ronaldo, just the people that stand out because they work hard and stand up to the plate and delivery when it really matters.
How has Golf changed since you first started playing?
As an amateur, I think I was a bit naive about what professional golf was going to be like, I was very fortunate having my Dad as he would always take me and Ryan away to play in national tournaments and we wouldn't see the dinner bills, the hotel bills, the petrol bills you know, and we were just playing for pride, representing the National Team. Then you turn pro and you fall into the big wide world of professional golf were nobody really cares who you are, you just shoot what you shoot and try to earn as much money as you possibly can and it becomes about making a living rather than just being for fun or a hobby. I've noticed a change in attitude in myself when it comes to how professional I go about my business and how I play my game. I have to think much more carefully about every shot now because every shot can cost me money! (laughs). Every performance counts at this level.
How did your last season go and did Covid effect it at all?
It was a good year really! It was the first season where I've had uninterrupted competition. However I didn't feel as though I had the best pre-season due to covid, so I wasn't able to go anywhere and do hot weather training, confined to my house for most of pre-season so wasn't able to get a feel for how my game was so when the first event came around I wasn't in tournament shape. It took me maybe 6-7 events to actually warm up and get going but the second half was pretty solid. I played in my first Challenge Tour Event this year in Croatia, made the cut proving to myself I can compete at that level. It was one of those year's, didn't achieve what I set out to, but learned a lot in the process. With what happened last year will put me in good stead for preparation into the coming season especially with a full pre-season training camp. I'll be training at home for a month with my brother and my coaches, Alex and Bobby, before I go to Turkey for a month to play a couple of Clutch Pro Tour tournaments before Christmas. Then I'll be flying out to Spain in January for 3-4 months to continue training and playing a few tournaments over there gradually building up tournament time and keep sharp. My ultimate goal for 2022 is to achieve European Pro Tour Status.
What have been your proudest moments in your Golfing career so far?
I think there are 4 moments that stick out for me. The first time I won the Devon Am