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Joe Dean isn’t your conventional breakthrough DP World Tour star. 

Before winning a life-changing £170,000 for his runner-up finish at the Magical Kenya Open, the Yorkshireman spent his days delivering groceries for Morrisons, cleaning cars and playing a few holes with his friends. He hasn’t been to the gym in years.

Dean had almost given up on his professional golf dream just a few years ago and only made it to the DP World Tour’s Q School after some last-minute backing from friends.

We caught up with the 29-year-old to discuss his jackpot result and the reality of life as an aspiring elite pro…


What does a week in your life look like?

Prior to this week it was two or three days delivering at Morrisons. The misconception is every golfer is out there practising seven days a week and hitting a million balls. I react better to playing a couple of times a week with friends. I haven’t been to the gym for five or six years. I’ve found that I get more injuries trying to get stronger than trying to keep supple. It’s really relaxed. The more I do, the worse I get. 

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It’s been a tough few years. Just before Covid in the 2019 season – that knocked me down to a very low place with golf. I didn’t know what else I was going to do. The Morrisons job has allowed me and my fiancee to get in the position to buy our first house. If I’d have stuck to golf and not done that I wouldn’t have got the home we’re in now. I don’t want it to be a sob story. Its been as help if not better having a part-time job than it would have been carrying on with golf. I’ve been trying to play professional golf for nearly 10 years now. The difference between me and a lot of guys on tour is a couple of bits of form at the right time.

So, what clicked in Kenya?

I did less. My normal stuff was spending five hours on a range and working with the flow of everyone, but I did that in 2019 and lost a lot of money. I said this year I’m not going to do that. I said to my caddie, we’ll have a quick go on the range on the Tuesday and see how we get on. That was the last time we went to the range all week and we just chucked a couple balls on the chipping green and putting green and went from there.

How did you feel when you finished?

I knew I’d done well and it felt like a big relief. I could be completely different to all the other guys out there but at the point in my career, I want this to make my life easier regarding the financial side. For me it’s more about the money side. I know if you win you’re going to earn a lot but it’s more about the money side for me.

Joe Dean
Dean’s previous biggest payday was £20,000 at the 2017 Open Championship. Credit: Getty Images

How close were you to missing DP World Tour Q School in November?

I was only a couple weeks out from the deadline but I wasn’t going to enter because at that time I was doing three or four days a week at Morrisons and playing one day events. I was doing quite well. I won the Order of Merit on the 2020 ITS Tour. I’d not come to terms with giving up, but I was home every night, seeing my dogs and my fiancee and it was going well. It wasn’t until my caddie Max and his dad at the golf club said we’ve found some good friends who are happy to back you, I said I’ll give it a go. I’d not played any more than a one day event in the last two years. I had no expectations, but just got through. 

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Can you explain just how hard it is financially to make it on tour? 

The 2019 season through the Challenge Tour and a few events on the main tour was a massive hit for us. We’d saved up quite a bit with my fiancee and we had a little bit of help but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. I think it funded a couple of flights per month. In five months we went through not far off £30,000 of our own money. To play on the DP World Tour you’re looking at bare minimum £3,500 per week. Excluding majors, it’s a 40-week schedule. It’s a hell of a lot of money. If you haven’t got a lot of backing it’s nigh-on impossible to do.

How does life change now?

The confidence I’ve gained from finally being able to say I can play with these guys and compete is amazing. The prize money is a massive help. It’s allowed me to be a bit more comfortable getting to events. I hope with the media attention its brought, some kind sponsors will get involved and I can treat my family – especially with it being my fiancee’s birthday. 

I’m probably going to have four weeks off unless I get an invite. I was thinking about doing a couple Morrisons shifts just to keep me occupied and keep me out of trouble! The workers there are fantastic. Chloe -who does the rotas – I’ve caused her so many headaches in the last few weeks. I’m sure she’s fully fed up. But it’s a nice atmosphere to be in. It keeps you down to earth. At the end of the day I’m just a simple Yorkshire lad. 

A good friend of mine has a detailing valeting business for cars. My main passion is cars. If anything I enjoy the car cleaning more than the golf sometimes. As well as doing Morrisons I help him out once a week or once every couple of weeks. I go and work with him and help with the cars. He said he might need a hand Thursday. He has me on the wheels, I don’t think he likes getting the tyre dust on his hands!

Will you be treating yourself to a new motor then?

I’d love to. Daniel Gavins keeps sending me pictures of Nissan GTRs and tempting me. I’m a BMW man at heart. We’ll have to see how much the tax man wants but there might be a new BMW soon.

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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