The Stortford golfing brothers who leave their 8-handicapper dad in the shade
Playing off a handicap of 8, Bishop's Stortford Golf Club member Pete Hopkins can justifiably regard himself as a good golfer - yet he is only the third best in his household.
That is because the 54-year-old head of business studies at Hockerill Anglo-European College is being taught a thing or two by his teenage sons Jon and Max, who play off scratch and plus 1 respectively.
And now the whole family – which includes wife and mother Mandy, who live in Elm Grove in Stortford – are celebrating as 14-year-old Max has been rewarded for a string of tremendous performances by being called up to the full England boys under-18 squad.
The hugely talented youngster first swung a club before his second birthday and is the youngest member at BSGC, having been invited to join when he was just six.
Last year he set the course record with a six-under-par round of 65 – a feat later equalled by his 18-year-old brother Jon.
There have been numerous competitive highlights in 2017 and Max is now preparing for a hectic end to the year.
Proud father Pete said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing golf and it’s something the boys have always played since they were young.
“Max really enjoys his golf and always has done. He’s kept steadily progressing and it really started coming good last year. He doesn’t have many days off from golf, but he doesn’t like having days off as he just really enjoys playing it.
“He just goes out there and tries to do his best every time. He always tries to enjoy the competition, and the better the players up against him the better he seems to play. He never seems fazed by other players and I think that contributed to his England selection.”
Max won the US Kids Golf European Under-14 Boys’ Championship by three shots in May, before triumphing in the Faldo Series Under-16 Boys’ South of England Championships.
Seventh and second-place finishes respectively at the Scottish Under-16 Championships and England Under-16 Open followed, while Hertfordshire Under-18 Boys’ County Championship glory was his.
Arguably his best achievement was reaching the last 32 in the British Boys’ Championship at Nairn Dunbar, near Inverness, when he took on 256 of the best under-18 players in Europe.
Max, who plays alongside his sibling Jon in the Herts under-18 squad and BSGC’s men’s scratch team, has more adventures to come as the Daily Telegraph Finals, in Portugal, and the Faldo Grand Series Final, in the United Arab Emirates, come next month. “He’s really looking forward to both of those trips,” said Pete.
Max has just started in Year 10 at Hockerill. “He’s still got the next two years to work on his GCSEs and we just want him to focus on the here and now and make sure he enjoys his golf,” said Pete.
“It’s an incredibly competitive world getting into top-level sport full stop, but we’re just so proud of him.”
Meanwhile, Jon, who in the summer finished his International Baccalaureate at Hockerill, is taking a gap year to concentrate on his game to see if he can earn a golf scholarship in the USA.