FORMER England and Middlesbrough footballer Gary Pallister has thanked Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter for creating extra interest in the North’s only golf show.
Poulter, one of the few golfers to progress from club assistant professional to world superstar, was hero No 1 when Europe battled back against the USA to become the masters of Medinah in Chicago last month.
Pallister, a 14-handicap player, has accepted an invitation to open the inaugural Golf North Show, which starts a three-day run at Boro’s Riverside Stadium tomorrow.
He said: “I see England Golf officials are going to the show because they say they want to take advantage of what they are calling the Ryder Cup effect.
“That might have been a terrific team effort but it was Ian Poulter who led the way and it would never have happened without him gripping the Americans by the throat and never letting go. What a man!”
Pallister, from Billingham, is now a matchday ambassador for one of his other old clubs, Manchester United, but lives in Yarm and is a frequent visitor to the Riverside Stadium.
Pallister (pictured right) added: “Where this helps golf – which is a sport I love – is the fact the numbers of people of all ages wanting to take up the sport has gone through the roof.
“This golf show is an ideal place to start because there is special coaching for male and female beginners of all ages who can also get a real flavour of the sport at the same time with all the people in the golf business setting out their stalls.
“It is a great gesture by the show organisers to let in under-16s for free so there will be plenty of youngsters going along to Boro with family and friends.
“It’s going to be a truly great family occasion and the first time a golf show has been open to the public in the North.
“This is a very special event and I shall always be able to say not only was I there for the first one but that I had the honour of opening it.”
The show has a connection with Poulter in that the headline act at Boro , the Kevin Carpenter golf trick shot display , went down well during the IJP Junior Invitational at Woburn in July. Carpenter, whose skills video can be viewed at kcgolfshow.com, appears at Middlesbrough tomorrow and Saturday.
Like Carpenter, leading north golf coach John Harrison is appearing twice daily. Harrison is at the show on Saturday and Sunday giving illustrations of every shot in the book.
A team of PGA experts will be there all three days with every visitor to the show able to take advantage of free coaching. The interest created by the Ryder Cup has led to an unexpectedly large advance sale of 2,000 tickets with between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors expected over the three days.
Andrew Hill, a director of show organisers Dogolf Ltd, a Lanchester company, said: “Gary Pallister started raving about Ian Poulter the minute we invited him to open the show.
“We always expected a big walk-up crowd for the first golf show in the North, but things took off big time following the greatest Ryder Cup of all time.”
Like Poulter, Hill is a former PGA assistant – at Burgham Park – and he added: “I can start to fully understand now why the top golf tour players earn so many millions.
“The interest Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and the rest of the Ryder Cup team have created in the golf show has had to be seen to be believed.”
FOR all you need to know about the Golf North Show, visit the website golf-north.co.uk