Greenacres golfer Ryan Chisnall will represent New Zealand at the Eisenhower Trophy in Mexico in September. Photo Jacob Page.

Ryan Chisnall’s Eisenhower dream just the beginning

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Greenacres golfer found putting practice a little difficult to do on Friday at his home golf course, after he was named in the New Zealand team to contest the Eisenhower Trophy in September.

The 21-year-old took just as many congratulatory handshakes as he did practice putts.

“This is a big deal for the club and all the guys over the years have just been fantastic to me, so it’s nice to share this moment with them,” he says.

“It’s always been a dream, it’s the biggest thing you can do as an amateur and it’s definitely been on my radar, and for the last year it’s pretty much been my single focus.”

Chisnall will continue to work at his family’s Elmside Estate Vineyards 20 hours a week while devoting the remainder of his time to golf.

He played in the Mexico International Amateur Event a fortnight ago, which was paid for thanks to an invite to the event, but he largely funds his Charles Tour campaign in the Kiwi summer out of his own pocket.

“I’m on GrabaSeat like everyone else, booking the cheap fares.”

Ryan was introduced to golf by his dad and earned a handicap by age seven when he played out at the nine hole Totaradale Golf Course, before he moved to Greenacres 10 years ago.

Ryan says former teammates Sean and Blair Riordan were big influences.

“Those guys were a bit older but were in the same positions I’ve found myself in trying to make improvements. I learnt a lot travelling with them, competing against them and playing with them.”

Ryan will be joined in the team by  Auckland’s Nick Voke and Waikato’s Luke Toomey. New Zealand won the Eisenhower Trophy in 1992 with the team of Michael Campbell, Phil Tataurangi, Stephen Scahill and Grant Moorhead.

The biennial tournament has been active since 1958. Ryan says he had questioned whether he would make it when he was 18. “I wasn’t putting the time in preparing for tournaments and it started to show.

“I’d been in the New Zealand Golf junior set-up since I was 14, but I had a year when I was 18 and 19 where I was dropped from the squad.

“Looking back, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because it got me out of that safe environment of New Zealand Golf and forced me to do things on my own.

“I started getting some results and I got my way back in and I’ve appreciated it ever since.”

Ryan says he was excited about turning pro early next year but was under no illusions about how tough it would be.

“My coach Jordan Dasler caddies for [Kiwi pro] Michael Hendry and I know Michael a little bit so I’ll be keen to learn as much as I can from both of them.”

Ryan says he will aim to play in China and Australia.

“They aren’t big tours but they offer me the chance to play every week,” he says.

“The ultimate goal is to play in major tournaments and on the PGA Tour. Just to play an event on that tour would be great.

“Having said all of that, there are other tours that you can play regularly and still make good money. Playing a prestigious event will be the pinnacle of a career that still has plenty of potential.”