Former England footballer Lee Sharpe has swapped scoring goals for putting holes by becoming a professional golfer.
He is now preparing for his debut season in the sport by fine-tuning his game in Spain.
A pal told the Sunday Mirror: “Lee’s just turned pro.
“It’s been an ambition he has had for quite a while now and he’s looking forward to testing himself against some top players.
“It’s not quite the same feeling as walking out in front of a packed house at Wembley, but he gets a real buzz from golf and believes he can be competitive.
Sharpe, 49, has already played in some senior events and is hoping to make the grade for the European Senior Tour.
Speaking to Worldwide Golf in April, he said: “I tried to play a lot of golf [as a footballer], but Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t keen on us playing too much because he said it saps the energy out of your legs and damages your back.
“We had to sneak off to different courses where we didn’t think he would know where we were. I have always loved the sport to the point where I was almost slightly obsessed with it.”
TV pundit Sharpe tasted glory at Manchester United – making 265 appearances over eight years and winning eight major trophies.
He went on to compete in TV’s Celebrity Love Island, when he fell for model Abi Titmuss in 2005, and Dancing on Ice in 2007, with skate partner Frankie Poultney.
Sharpe believes the biggest difference between golf and football is a matter of self-confidence.
He said: “If you’re having a bad game in a football match, you’ve got 10 mates to help you out and you’re only on the ball for split seconds.
“With golf, I’ve played in competitions where I’m shaking so much I can hardly get the ball on the tee.
“My knees are knocking. I always got nervous before a football match, but never anywhere near the same as the first tee in a tournament.”
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