Colm Campbell has seen his priorities pivot away from golf over the last few years, and yet life could not be better for the Warrenpoint man.
A former Irish international, Campbell found life away from the course taking over. For a start, he married girlfriend Ciara and the couple welcomed daughter Sophia into the world a couple of years ago. Then he was given a new job with golf equipment company Ping, transitioning from a custom club fitter to area sales manager for apparel.
However, all that came at a cost: the amount of time he could spend on the golf course himself. While in the past he would have managed to put together a dedicated practice schedule, now he is restricted to trying to fit in a range session wherever he can.
Despite his off-course life taking over, though, Campbell insists he wouldn’t change anything for the world.
“To be fair, I’ve been very fortunate I’m still involved in golf, and even though I’m in full-time employment there’s still time between work to sneak in a practice here and there,” he explains.
“These days I’m trying to hit 60 balls as quickly as I can to get back to the house and help the missus out with the wee one!
“I have a very understanding wife when it comes to golf and, to be fair, there’s been a few times where she’s kicked me out of the house and told me to go and practice when I should have been going out myself!”
Fortunately, all of Ciara’s probing paid off last month when Campbell proved that class is permanent as he edged out Malone’s Matthew McClean in a Play-Off to claim his second Irish Amateur Open title at The Island.
The elation when he was handed the trophy was much different to when he won in 2016, back when he was able to devote all of his time to playing and practicing, and it was made even more special that Ciara was there to celebrate with him at the final green.
“She came down on the Sunday and that was the first time she’d seen me play in maybe two or three years, so it was great to have her there,” he smiles.
“Any win at any stage of your career, it’s nice to get it. But I suppose for me the comparison was in 2016 I was playing full-time golf and I was toying with the idea of turning professional, I was playing really well and I was going into every tournament with a real belief that I had a chance to win it.
“Now, six years later, things are different. Expectations were 100% not at the same level as they were in 2016. But I was going in feeling I was playing nice and I put together four good rounds. It was a fantastic week.”
As well as now having the prestige of being Irish Amateur champion for the second time, it has also forced Campbell to rethink his plans for the rest of the season.
Initially having not intended to play outside of Ireland this year, the Warrenpoint man has instead decided to add himself to the field for this week’s Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s in the hope that another impressive display will put him in the frame for Ireland team selection.
“It was a conversation I had to have with Ciara, deciding whether I want all the drama and headaches that come with potentially putting yourself back into the mix of playing team golf with Ireland, because there’s a lot of expectation that comes with it,” he adds, again reflecting his new priorities.
“There were a few things to consider but I’m looking forward to it. I’m trying not to let my expectations change. To me, no matter what the outcome is, I still have to get up and go to work on Monday morning!”
Malone’s Matthew McClean will also be in action, with the first 36 holes being stroke play on the first two days, with the top-64 qualifying for the match play which will be played over the final three days.