Sam Hutsby has the talent and dedication to join the world’s elite golfers – according to his coach.
Martin Butcher, who has worked with the former Lee-on-the-Solent talent since he was a gifted teenager, got Hutsby back on track when his game reached a low ebb last year with a string of poor performances on the Challenge Tour.
But things are on the up again and now – after Hutsby regained his full European Tour card at Qualifying School – Butcher believes the 23-year-old’s game is ready to stand up to some of the toughest challenges when the season gets into full swing over the coming weeks.
Butcher said: ‘Sam is playing really well. He is a great ball-striker and his iron play is fantastic.
‘When you are playing as well as he is now, sometimes it just takes a good result early in the season to build on. Then the confidence comes up a level.
‘When he first turned pro, people were thinking he was going to be the next big thing and he was hot news.
‘Then he started working on a few things that sent him backwards a bit.
‘But I think he is capable of anything.
‘I’m sure he will get there but maybe I’m bound to say that because I’m his coach!
‘I don’t think it’s a matter of luck, though, because he is so dedicated and he wants it so much.
‘I do believe he has got the talent to go a very long way in the game.’
While Hutsby has worked with other coaches in recent times, Butcher – who is based at Meon Valley Golf Club and uses some of the sport’s high-tech analytical methods – got the call again last year.
And having known the mechanics of Hutsby’s swing for a number of years, Butcher was quick to spot the faults and able to prove it beyond any doubt with the computer’s data.
But he points to new world number one Rory McIlroy’s long-standing relationship with his coach Michael Bannon as one of the factors behind his rise to the summit of the world game.
Butcher – himself a former European Tour player – said: ‘What’s noticeable about McIlroy is he has had the same coach since he was nine years old. He has never changed his coach during that time.
‘Sam has wandered away from me a couple of times over the years after some different coaches worked with him and has gone downhill a little bit.
‘We’ve then got him back on track because I know his swing inside out.
‘But a lot of pros tend to stick with their own coaches now.’
Asked what Hutsby’s targets for 2012 should be, Butcher replied: ‘You can always set targets but golf can be a very fickle game sometimes.
‘Ever since I’ve known Sam, he was always positive but last year he came to me and, for the first time, there was a bit of negativity – particularly around his short game.
‘We’ve straightened it out and it’s so good to see him bubbling again. He’s ready to go.’