TIME TO GO: Lora Fairclough
Lora Fairclough has sunk her last putt on the Ladies European Tour.
“It is time to go,” said the four-time winner and Solheim Cup player who joined the professional ranks 20 years ago following a sparkling amateur career.
“I’ve been suffering from a knee injury from a skiing accident which kept me out of action last season and despite two operations it’s still not right and that accelerated my decision.
“I tried to make a comeback this summer although I did all right in the first two tournaments my game was not what it was and my self-belief had gone.”
“I’ve seen players a lot older than me continuing to compete, and some of them successfully, but that’s not for me.”
Lora, 41, is back in her Adlington home after a brief spell living in West Sussex and is embarking on a second career as a coach, expanding her public speaking engagements and playing pro-ams.
But her main ambition is to try to attract more youngsters, especially girls, into the game.
“It’s shameful that clubs have so few junior members,” she said.
Her own roots are firmly planted at Chorley Golf Club where, encouraged by her dad Gerald, she picked up her first club when she was 11.
“I was six months too young to join but the secretary turned a blind eye,” she recalled.
In her rookie LET season she won £9,000 and by 1993 had trebled the sum, thanks to her maiden victory in the IMB Open which earned her a place in the European team for the biennial Solheim Cup match against the United States the following year.
Despite Mickey Walker’s side losing 13-7 at West Virginia resort The Greenbrier, Lora won her foursomes and fourball matches with Dale Reid before succumbing to Kelly Robbins in the singles.
“That was my most memorable experience,” she said. “Playing for your country is a great honour.”
She had plenty of experience on that score through her amateur days, as a girl and full England international and representing Great Britain & Ireland in the Vagliano Trophy in 1990.
She was also England Girl and Intermediate champion and won the Northern title twice and the English Schools’ crown.
But it was as a Lancashire player that Lora first made her mark, claiming the county championship on two occasions.
“I owe a lot to the people who helped me in those early days,” especially my coach Howard Bennett,” she reflected.
Back on tour, 1995 was her most successful season, winning the Ford Classic and European Masters and banked more than £81,000 as she achieved her best ranking of four. She also won the German Open in 1998, the Hassan Trophy twice and the Mauritius Open in 2006, in addition to earning 50 top ten finishes on the Ladies European Tour.
“I’ve been very fortunate but now I feel a cloud has been lifted and I’m excited about doing other things,” she added. “I’ve a lot of experience and I want to pass it on.”