KYLE TURNER has gone from tee time to full-time after ditching life as a green keeper to join Dunfermline.
The 21-year-old tended the fairways at plush Glasgow golf courses Haggs Castle and Cochrane Castle, even completing a three-year apprenticeship to ensure he was fully qualified in the trade.
All the while, Turner was emerging as one of the brightest youngsters in the lower leagues at Stranraer, notching 19 goals in four seasons and earning links with the likes of West Brom and Aberdeen.
After four-and-a-half years obsessing about the qualify of golf courses, it is fitting that he ultimately joined the Pars.
Turner said: “I used to work every day as a green keeper on a golf course and only trained two days a week with a Stranraer.
“I was responsible for cutting the greens, maintaining the fairways and a little bit of everything really.
“I left school at 17 and then did a three-year apprenticeship in that. It was four-and-a-half years I did that job in total. I felt it was important to get some life experience and have something to fall back on if the football didn’t work out.
“I was at Haggs Castle course in Glasgow and Cochrane Castle in Johnstone. They were pretty nice – Haggs, in particular, was a good course. We had a couple of Scottish tournaments, qualifying for ranking points, and events like that so I enjoyed it.
“But I always wanted to get a full-time opportunity. This is the first-time I’ve ever been in full-time football and it’s a big step up from what I’m used to, especially in terms of fitness. Training every day and the demands put on you are completely different.”
Sunday’s curtain-raiser against St Mirren will have a special edge for Turner, whose father, Tommy, made more than 100 appearances for the Buddies between 1997 and 2002.
While Kyle was too young to recall his old man strutting his stuff in Paisley, his pivotal experience and tough love has been a huge factor in the youngster’s progression.
Turner continued: “I was only two when my dad played for St Mirren but he has always been a massive influence in my career.
“He comes to every game, phones me afterwards and will give me his honest opinion – whether it’s good or bad.
“I don’t mind that at all. I’d rather he told me if I was rubbish in a game – because I need to work on things I don’t do well.
“He can also give me tips in terms of my career and how I deal with certain situations.”
Turner is under no illusions about the challenge facing the Pars against a St Mirren side keen to impress new boss Jim Goodwin, especially after going toe-to-toe with the Irishman in League One with Stranraer.
He smiled: “I played against Jim Goodwin’s Alloa team – in fact, I actually played against HIM a couple of times as player/manager. That was a tough experience – every tackle was something else and you grow up fast.
“But it’s brilliant to play against guys like that and face competitors like him.
“He always wants his side’s to play out from the back and we’ll go there knowing St Mirren are a Premiership side, so it will be tough.”