CHARLESTOWN young gun Blake Windred hopes to be back playing tournament golf in time to earn a European tour card for 2021.
Golf, like most professional sports, has been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Australia golf courses remain open for now, and Windred plans to use the hiatus to work overtime on his game.
"I look at it as a great opportunity to get a lot of work done," Windred said. "I'll work with my coach, train hard in the gym and be ready for when we are going back."
Windred was last week named in the Golf Australia Rookie Squad and will receive funding to help his development.
The 22-year-old, who turned professional in October after a distinguished amateur career, and Queenslander Maverick Antcliff were added to the group of 11 emerging professionals.
Windred said the funding would ease the financial burden on his parents and help his development.
"Every bit of funding helps, especially in the first couple of years," Windred said. "I'm very grateful. It helps pay for caching - mind coach, physio, strength and conditioning... At the end of the year when tour schools come around it will be massive."
An Australian amateur representative, Windred has made a promising start to his professional career, making the cut in nine of 10 tournaments. His best result was third in the NSW Open - one of three top-10 finishes - and his world ranking has moved from 1268 to 765.
After progressing to the final stage of European tour school last year, Windred will play on the second-tier Challenge Tour, where he hopes to finish in the top 20 and graduate to the main event.
The opening two tournaments on the Challenge Tour in the Czech Republic have been cancelled.
Most major tours are suspended until July.
"I have a plan in place in terms of preparation but these things are changing every day," he said. "At this stage July is the date everyone is working towards. It will be good when we can get out and compete again.
"Everyone is the same boat. Overseas it is even worse. At least we can practice for now.
"I will go back to European tour school if I am not able to play enough Challenge Tour events to finish in the top 20. I made the final stage last year. That was my first ever tour school and I got a good understanding of the level of play. I'm sure I will be better for it going into this year if I have to go down that path."
Windred is by no means the only Hunter-based player impacted.
Nick Flanagan and Andrew Dodt have made strong starts to the year. Jake Higginbottom and Cal O'Reilly were to be competing in Asia, while the pro-am circuit has been suspended for the Australian based players.
"A lot of the boys are around because there are no tour events," Windred said. "We get together and have a hit and a bit of competition."