Queenstown golf professional Ben Campbell is happily on the road to recovery after a very difficult last two years injury-wise.
Early in 2017 his runner up to Michael Hendry in a thrilling playoff at the New Zealand Open signalled Campbell had arrived.
Then in early 2018, the 28-year-old won the NZPGA and then followed a tie with Ernie Els for third at the Fiji International and a close second at the Bangladesh Open.
“After a long flight in May 2018 I was stretching and felt a twinge in my lower back and hip,” Campbell related.
“After many scans, it showed a tear in a disc in my lower back and also a labrum tear in my hip.
“Despite the injury coming and going I managed to keep it under control for most of 2018, which overall was a great season, including securing my Asian Tour card.”
2019 would prove to be a very difficult year with a tie for fifth at the Perth Super 6 early in the year a rare highlight.
Five events in Asia only yielded a 35th placing.
“It really started bothering me. I would have some great pain free days and then wake up hardly able to get out of bed,” Campbell explained.
“I tried everything to avoid needing an operation, however after support from doctors and physio, an operation was the only choice. On December 18th I had a hip operation to fix the tear and give my hip a greater range of motion, which would take pressure off the back and hopefully allow the tear in my back to heal.”
“Since then it has been a pretty long recovery but everything is on track for a return to golf later in the year. I still have full status on the Asian and PGA of Australasia Tours so when I am back to full health I can return to them. Some of the more lucrative Asian events are co-sanctioned with the European Tour which is good.”
Campbell has used his time wisely during the last almost five months.
“I knew it would be a long recovery, so I started my bridging course to become a qualified NZPGA coach,” Campbell continued.
“It takes 1-2 years so I thought it would be great to have after my playing career ends.”
With the current world situation, it may be some months before he can rejoin the Asian Tour. However, he is happy to be able to give lessons at Arrowtown Golf Club and pass on his knowledge to people in the area.
As far as hitting a golf ball goes he said, “I have been restricted to my short game and putting while I recover. It has also been time well spent working with my physio and gym trainer. I am hoping to be playing competitively again by the time we are coming out of winter.
“So I am looking forward to clarification of when the Australasian and Asian Tours are to restart.”
Campbell concluded with a note of gratitude.
“I am privileged to have such amazing sponsors in Queenstown – Ultimate Hikes (Davies family) and also the Edwards family. They have been a big driver of my success over the last few years and played a major part in my moving here.
They are there in the good times and the tough times. We are very fortunate to have many amazing golf courses here and I am very lucky to call Millbrook my home course.”
It is difficult not to wish Campbell every success in the future.