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Father and Son – Simon and Kenny Overthrow, Painswick Golf Club

Gloucestershire South > Sport > Golf

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 26th June 2017, 09:00, Tags: Father & Son

Kenny Overthrow on the 18th tee at Doral Golf Club in Florida Kenny Overthrow on the 18th tee at Doral Golf Club in Florida

A trip to an auction almost 40 years ago put the wheels in motion that led to a love affair that is still going strong today.

Like all good love stories, it was a slow burner with Simon Overthrow’s passion for golf only really taking hold this century once he’d hung up his football boots.

Now the captain of Painswick Golf Club, the 50-year-old spends much of his time at a course which has become his second home since he stopped playing football 14 years ago.

He can remember how he first became interested in golf like it was yesterday.

“We went to this auction in Leicester when I was 12, 13 or 14,” he said. “I remember seeing this set of golf clubs and telling my dad I wanted them and fair play to him he got them for me.”

Up until then Overthrow, who was born in Leicester but moved to Gloucester at the age of two or three, was like many typical sports mad youngsters of that time, playing football and rugby in the winter and cricket in the summer.

“I was aware of golf,” said Overthrow. “I remember watching the Open on television and watching Tom Watson winning the Open at Royal Troon in 1982 and again in 1983 at Royal Birkdale he was my first favourite player along with Nick Faldo and his three Masters wins.
“These captured my imagination and interest as well and I became a bit of a statistical anorak on golf literature from then on.”

Where Overthrow the player got lucky was that next door to Beaufort School where he was a pupil there was a 9-hole par 3 golf course.

“I used to play there a bit,” he said, “and I’d swing a club in the fields round by where I lived.”

But golf still played second fiddle to football, especially after he left school at the age of 16 and went to work for the Royal Mail Post Office.

“I played for their football teams on a Saturday and a Sunday,” he recalled. “I played on the right side of midfield. I had no pace but I could pass a ball.”

And when the football season was finished he played cricket in the summer.

“I played for Fielding and Platt,” he said. “I was an opening batsman and a wicketkeeper. I’d always opened the batting even during my school days. I carried my bat one innings. They used to call me Geoff Boycott because I held my end up.”

It wasn’t until the age of 21 that the young Overthrow joined Painswick Golf Club. But even then the amount of time he could spend there was limited because of his football commitments at the weekends.

And it wasn’t just his football that he was committed to as the cricket made big demands on his time as well.

“I used to be the fixture secretary for the cricket team,” he said. “I remember one year doing that as well as captaining the team. I was also treasurer for one of the football teams and I used to take the kit home and wash it.”

Overthrow stopped playing cricket in his late 20s when the team folded but continued to play football until the age of 36, numbering Longford and Winchester Wanderers among his clubs.

However, while many ex-professional players find the transition from football pitch to golf course a straightforward one - think Jamie Redknapp, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen - Overthrow did not find it so easy.

“Although I’d been playing at Painswick for quite a long time I’d only been playing in midweek with my friend Chris Gough and his dad Jim,” said Overthrow.

“But they stopped at about the time I became a full member at the club so I didn’t really know anyone. It was a bit nervewracking when I was first selected for their teams but once I got to know people it was great.”

Overthrow didn’t have to wait too long before winning his first club tournament.

“It was a doubles competition,” he recalled. “I was playing with Ralph Gallagher in a matchplay fourballs. Winning that was a big thing because it was massive to get your name on the club’s honours board.

“I can still remember it now. We were three up with three to play and were in for four on the par four 16th. But they sank a 30ft putt and I remember thinking that we might blow it.”

Fortunately for Overthrow he didn’t and he has gone on to win a number of club competitions over the years.

“I’ve won a couple of medals,” he said. “And I’ve won the Chubby Cup three times and the Castle Cup once.”

With such a strong record it was only a matter of time before Overthrow was asked to be captain.

So, did he have any reservations about taking on the role?

“Not really, no,” he said. “I’m a bit of a traditionalist and if somebody asks me to do something I’ll do it. It’s an honour.”

Overthrow was vice-captain to Brendan Nunan last year - Nick Hill is Overthrow’s deputy - so he had some idea of what the job entailed.

He took on the role at the end of February and when asked if the extra responsibility was affecting his game he said it was too early to say before adding “probably”.

It’s not just through his on-course prowess that Overthrow has made a name for himself over the years, however.

“I was in charge of the juniors from 2007 to 2013,” he said. “My oldest son Kenny was very good and he played at Painswick when he was younger.

“We won the North Gloucestershire Junior League in 2011 and this was after a four-to-five- year cycle where I oversaw the juniors from the ages of 11 to 17 of age achieving their goals which was very rewarding.”

Kenny, now 23, was indeed very good. He was introduced to golf at the age of six and although he played football, unlike with his dad it was always golf that was number one for him.

“He always had good hand-eye coordination,” said Overthrow senior, who plays off 11. “When he started, he was having lessons at Gloucester Golf Club on Sunday mornings. That’s where he learned to play. Chris Gillick was the pro back then.

“It wasn’t until he was 12 that he joined Painswick. I’d been junior coordinator at Gloucester for two years but Painswick was always my first club so Kenny moved across and brought all his mates with him.

“He won his first tournament at Gloucester when he was 14 and won the club championship at Painswick at 16. That was the only time he won it although he came second four times.”

Kenny, who now lives in the US, was soon making a name for himself on the Gloucestershire golf circuit and played for the county under-14s, 16s and 18s.

He won the county junior title at Lilley Brook in 2011 and a year later followed up by taking the county colts title at Shirehampton.

His win at Lilley Brook earned him a place in a tournament at Woodhall Spa - the home of English golf - where he was in a field that trailed behind 2016 Ryder Cup player Matt Fitzpatrick.

After leaving Crypt School he spent two years at Hartpury College during which time he played at St Andrews.

Pretty soon the big colleges in America came calling and Kenny headed for Florida where he combined a three-year business management course with his passion for golf.

He has just graduated and has moved to Atlanta where he is hoping to put his degree to good use.

His family - dad, mum Heidi and 18-year-old brother Luke - have just returned from the US and his dad has no regrets that his son, who plays off scratch, took up golf at such a young age.

“It’s a game that teaches you etiquette,” he said. “Everything is done in the right way. It brings you up the right way and encourages you to show sportsmanship.

“It teaches you standards and moral values. It’s a traditional game and it’s a nice environment.”

Anything else good about the sport?

“It’s a good excuse to get you out the house,” he laughed.

So, what are Kenny’s strengths as a golfer?

“He strikes the ball very well,” said his proud dad, “and he hits it a long way. He’s a good all round player but he’s also got this will to win. He never gives up.”

So how does dad fare when he plays his son these days?

“He wins every time,” he laughed. “I’m not in his league.”

Other Images

Kenny and Simon Overthrow
The Overthrow family at Kenny’s graduation
A young Kenny with dad Simon

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