Last Thursday night I saw perhaps the most impressive 20-year-old golfer I have ever come across. His name is Matteo. Matteo Manassero to be exact.
Thanks to our friends at Callaway, I was invited along to the launch of the new Big Bertha drivers at St Andrews Links where Manassero was on-hand to give a clinic for the crowd as well as a quick chat with us for a future issue of the mag.
I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of top golfers hitting shots up close and personal now, and they’re all fantastic ball strikers. Let’s be honest you’re not going to get anywhere near the top level if you’re not.
When chatting to him, it was like talking to a 35-year-old pro who had been on tour for 15 years.
The ease with which he swung the club was mesmerising. Very little effort, so controlled, ball went exactly where he wanted it to go every single time. It made me seriously question why I stand on a tee and attempt to smash the living daylights out of my driver ten times a round.
I realise he may give it a little more effort in competition when adrenaline kicks in and there’s something to play for, but standing three-feet away as he swept the ball off the turf with a mechanically perfect and consistent swing, it really made me sit up and take notice.
The Italian has so much going for him both on and off the course. On the course he has won a tour event each year since turning pro – four years, four wins – not a bad start to a career. Away from the course it’s his maturity that stands out. That might seem a bit cliché, especially considering he’s only a year younger than me, but it’s exactly the impression he gave to everyone that night.
When speaking to him, it was like you were talking to a 35-year-old pro who had been on tour for 15 years. He came across as being very level-headed. There was no fuss, no need for attention, none of that, just a polite and respectful man. He was extremely knowledgeable about both his own game and the game in general, answering any question that was fired his way during a clinic at the St Andrews Links Academy, no matter how off-topic it was.
He may only be approaching his 21st birthday, but the man is a class act. Callaway are delighted Manassero signed on the dotted line, you could tell that from their reaction to him. They’ll be hoping the Italian can now go on and make it five wins in five years, if not more.