Ben Close on Portsmouth’s golf club – who’s the best and who’s the biggest hot head
Any summer holiday bookings are firmly on hold until Pompey’s League One play-off campaign comes to a close.
Having missed out on automatic promotion, the Blues now aim for their season to run until Sunday, May 26, when the final takes place at Wembley.
Kenny Jackett’s troops’ full focus will be on clinching the remaining berth up for grabs in the Championship.
But Waterlooville Golf Club will help some of the players relax on any days off.
Ben Close, Matt Clarke, Brandon Haunstrup and Alex Bass are regulars at the course and are occasionally joined by the likes of Tom Naylor and Gareth Evans.
The quartet went to Portugal’s Amendoeira Golf Resort last summer, with Bass prevailing as the group’s winner.
All playing off a similar handicap of around 14, Close is hoping there’ll be a repeat of the getaway during the off-season.
But this time the midfielder wants to be celebrating promotion while in the Algarve.
Close said: ‘Last summer, me, Bassy, Clarkie and Brandon went away to Portugal on a beautiful golf course.
‘Hopefully we do the same this year. We’ve got nothing booked yet and we’ll see when we get our time off.
‘Bassy won last year in Portugal. Overall, I’m the most consistent scorer, but Bassy is probably the nicest to watch.
‘He’s got a big, long drive when he hits it straight.
‘He hits his shots high and far but is a bit more inconsistent than me.
‘Maybe once a week on a Wednesday or a Sunday we will have a game.
‘At the moment we play at Waterlooville, although we used to play Skylark.’
While Clarke is generally regarded as Pompey’s best player on the football pitch, he doesn’t brag that label on the golf course.
It’s Naylor, who plays off a handicap of six, who holds that claim.
Close added: ‘A few others play with us as well. Nayls plays and it probably better than all of us – he plays off a handicap of about six.
‘Gaz Evans is pretty good but Nayls it the best.
‘Clarkie had the worst round of his life the other week – his score about 40-over par!
‘Maybe it wasn’t that bad but it wouldn’t have been far off.
‘He won’t even mind me saying that because it was that bad.’
And in terms of who’s unable to remain cool when they’re having a bad round?
‘Brandon is the one who needs a few lessons to keep his calm,’ revealed Close.
‘He is a very angry man on the golf course, very angry!
‘He’s angry with himself, the trees and everything else.
‘Brandon’s the one who needs to take a leaf out of mine and Clarkie’s book because we’re pretty calm.
‘Brandon and Bassy are a bit hot-headed at times.
‘There’s no club throwing but there’s some club bashing sometimes, especially Bran.’