IT’S every aspiring golfer’s dream – signing a major equipment contract and hitting the pro ranks in search of big trophies and even bigger cheques.
For big-hitting Aussie Todd Sinnott, that dream is now a reality after the 22-year-old inked a deal with Callaway this week. And where else would a lanky kid called the “Essendon Bomber” rather be than with the company behind the famed Big Bertha driver?
Distance has never been a hurdle for the Victorian star, not off the tee anyway. But bombing 300-metre drives now comes with the added challenge of being away from home and living out of a suitcase.
“It’s been the one big change I’ve had to adjust to, all the travel I’m doing away from home,” says Sinnott, who has been strutting his stuff on Europe’s main and secondary tours. “It’s certainly been a learning experience. There’s more attention and more media on the pro tour but I’m loving it.”
It’s a major compliment when sponsors come knocking. It says as much about your attitude as it does your ability. The fear of failure drives Sinnott. It’s an introspective lesson he learnt at the age of 17. Was he devastated at missing out on selection in the Victorian junior golf team? “Shattered,” he says. “All those junior events, the state team is what you play for and I was pretty upset back then.”
But would he change that decision? “No way. It was for a reason. I learned a lot about myself – when things go wrong, I get motivated. Six guys made the team and I was seventh – the first to miss out. That drove me a lot then.” It drove him to win the 2009 Victorian Boys Championship months later. It drove him to win the Dunes Medal in 2011 and it drove him to lead the field at various stages of the 2014 BetEasy Masters and Australian Open.
“Leading the Aussie Open and the Masters with so many good players in the field just showed me I was ready to mix it with the best.”
And that fear still drives him. More recently, to a second-placed finish at the PGA Tour of Australasia Q-School in January, triggering his decision to join the paid ranks. Sinnott yearned to join those ranks for several years but with the sound advice of coach Martin Joyce and a support team around him, held off until a full-schedule of events was locked in.
Did he ever look at the prizemoney he would’ve made had he been more impatient? After all, he did finish in a tie for 17th at Metropolitan Golf Club and T31st at The Australian.
“Yeah, I would’ve made $25,000 to $35,000 from those two tournaments,” he says. “It would’ve been nice, but it’s better to be patient than go pro with nothing. I don’t play for the money but if you play well, the money will come anyway.”
No need to worry now though, as the Metro member has seven events lined up on Europe’s secondary Challenge Tour, with an eye towards the European Tour and, ultimately, the bright lights of the US PGA Tour.
Not bad for a kid from Williamstown who only picked up a golf club at the age of 12, when the Sinnott family moved in beside a driving range in Essendon.
The 194-centimetre giant has become a bomber of a different variety, but admits an AFL career with his beloved Western Bulldogs – not Essendon – was a childhood dream. “I was more of a footy player and a basketballer as a kid, but I grew too late to have a chance and I got addicted to golf,” he says. “I’d get home from school and hit balls until it was dark. That driving range was a massive influence on my career.”
And when a 15-year-old Sinnott approached Joyce, the Victorian Institute of Sport head coach, everything began to fall into place – save for that watershed omission from the state team. So much so that by 17 he decided a professional golf career was a possibility. A certainty, even. But with the decision to turn pro comes the need to choose a full-time caddie.
“I haven’t looked too deeply into it yet. The only caddie I’ve really had is Marty and he taught me I need someone I can trust,” Sinnott says. “All I’m thinking about now is getting a card for 2016 and hopefully working my way to the US PGA Tour. After that I’m not sure, but I guess Major championships are what define your career.”
Driver: DXR 8.5* Driver (Shaft: Project X Black 7.0)
“This driver is awesome. It’s miles better than anything I’ve ever used before.”
Fairway: BB Mini 1.5 14* FW (Shaft: Fujikura Pro White Tour Spec 73x)
“This club is so versatile and very important for my game.”
Irons: X-Forged 13’ (3–9) (Shaft: Project X 7.0)
“I love the 2013 models. They come out a lot flatter”
Wedges: MD2 Slate Wedge 47* & 52*; MD2 Tour Grind Slate Wedge 58*
Putter: White Hot Pro #7 Putter
“My favourite club and most important in the bag. Has changed my game completely.”
Golf Ball: Callaway SR3