Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bairstow returns to rugby league after a below-par year on the pro golf circuit
By his own admission, Bradford golfer Dane Bairstow did not set the world alight in 2012.
The Bingley St Ives professional struggled to find his best form and is currently working on a building site with his dad to help make ends meet.
His sponsorship from childhood friend and Manchester United footballer Tom Cleverley has ended but Bairstow is already gearing up for a big 2013.
The 23-year-old from Lidget Green is set to become a father for the first time next year with his partner Olivia due to give birth to a boy in late February.
And he hopes that a return to rugby league can help him rescale the heights which saw him claim the coveted Karl Curran Trophy for being the best amateur golfer in Bradford in 2011.
Bairstow has started playing again for Clayton in Division Two of the Pennine League and was part of the side which thumped West Craven Warriors 44-0 last weekend.
He said: “When I was an amateur golfer, I played a lot of rugby league.
“I started with Clayton under-eights and took up golf when I was 12.
“I then had a couple of seasons out of rugby but my golf is always better when I’m physically fit and mentally alert.
“The season I won golfer of the year was also the season I was playing rugby.
“Playing golf professionally this year has been tough – really tough – and a massive eye-opener.
“I’ve been practising full-time but there is just something missing. I should be better but I put that down to fitness, which is why I’m giving rugby a shot again.”
Bairstow explained: “Clayton lost a lot of players and were heading to a position where they could fold if they couldn’t raise a team.
“At that point I was training with West Bowling with Elliott Whitehead when he was doing some coaching up there.
“We all got a text message saying ‘if we can’t get a team at Clayton then that’s it, it’s history’.
“A lot of the lads then went back down there, dug deep and we got a team together.
“I’m playing stand-off and have been made captain this year as well, which is what I wanted… although it can be a bit stressful trying to collect subs off the lads!”
Bulls fan Bairstow played against Whitehead during their formative years with Clayton and West Bowling respectively.
A friendship has been forged in recent years and Bairstow has given White-head and several other Bulls stars tips on the golf course.
Bairstow is grateful for the financial support he received from Cleverley.
“Tom got me there in the first place and I owe a lot to him,” he said.
“It’s strange knowing and talking to him when he’s playing for England and doing well for Manchester United.
“I got off the phone to him last week and he said ‘I’ve just met the Royal family’.”
Bairstow remains more determined than ever to be a success on the golfing circuit despite his sponsorship from Cleverley having ended.
“I’ve got a massive desire to make a success of my golf,” declared Bairstow.
“I’m stuck here on a building site at the moment up until Christmas just trying to get some brass together.
“It just makes me want to be on the golf course now. When you’re playing badly it’s such a horrible place to be.
“And when you’re on the building site working, you want it even more.
“I want it massively, I just need one day when it all clicks and it hasn’t happened this year.
“I put it down to experience so I’ll be ready to go again next year if I can get the financial backing.”