CHRIS Paisley, having picked up the baton from Kenneth Ferrie as the only Newcastle area golfer on the European Tour, has had good reason to enjoy home cooking at his American fiancée’s house in the build-up to his first event as a tour player.
Weather permitting in South Africa – it was squelchy underfoot at the Royal Durban club yesterday – the Nelson Mandela Championship, presented by ISPS Handa, tees off today.
Paisley, 26, has earned his tour card from his first full season on the Challenge Tour in the same year triple winner Ferrie, 34, from Ashington, has lost his card.
However, while the 6ft 4in Ferrie has long ago won a battle with his weight, the 5ft 8in, 10st 8lb Paisley, attached to Close House, has the opposite problem.
Having beefed up with extensive gym work last winter, he said: “Over the past three weeks I have managed to regain weight I lost over the season, which was important.
“A lot of golfers lose weight during a season.
“We burn a lot of calories and because of the travel it is often hard to eat enough calories.
“When I am at home I can plan my meals and snacks, but when you are on the road it’s much harder to do this. This past year especially, very few of the hotels I stayed in had gyms since I was on a fairly tight budget.
“It is hard to maintain muscle mass when you can only do cardiovascular workouts.
“There is always the odd case of food poisoning in some of the more exotic countries to help you lose more weight.
“That happened to me in Russia this year and I lost half a stone that week alone!”
Paisley, from Mickley, who represented the Stocksfield club as an amateur, has replenished the weight loss in time for his bow as a tour player during the three week-stay at the home of fiancée Keri Drish in Johnson City, Tennessee.
He added: “This gave me decent weather for practice and the chance to spend some time with Keri.
“I had not seen her for three-and-a-half months.
“When I was at the University of Tennessee, I won my first college tournament at Blackthorn Country Club, which is 10 minutes from Keri’s house.
“They allow me to play and practice over the winter months.
“It’s a really nice course with great facilities.
“It was good to work really hard on my fitness and technique and to put the weight back on.”
Paisley added: “For the past week I have focused on sharpening up my short game and putting, since those are the factors which determine how you score.”