'More to come' from consistent Calum Hill, says coach David Burns

Calum Hill had his swing “ripped to bits” in his first session with the man who now reckons he is ready to make his European Tour breakthrough on the back of a string of consistent performances this year.

Calum Hill smiles during the recent Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Kingsfield-based David Burns who also coaches Scottish No 1 Bob MacIntyre, has watched Hill come on leaps and bounds since they linked up around 17 months ago, using the Covid-19 lockdown this time last year to work on “major surgery” to his swing.

While a bit hit and miss last season, Hill’s game has really blossomed this year, as evidenced by the fact he sits 27th in the Race to Dubai heading into this week’s Made in HimmerLand event in Denmark.

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The 26-year-old has recorded four top-10 finishes, including a tie for fourth behind world No 1 Dustin Johnson in the Saudi International in February before finishing alongside MacIntyre in joint-eight in the recent Betfred British Masters.

“We know what Bob’s done, and I think Calum’s got a great future ahead of him as well,” said Burns. “He’s ambitious, he’s a grafter, he ticks all the boxes.

“A year past January in Abu Dhabi, Calum asked for a couple of hours of my time and I was very honest with him, I ripped his swing to bits. I told him what I would recommend short-term and long-term, and he’s bought into it completely.

“I’ve been astounded how quickly he’s got a swing I’m happy with. For me, that’s why he’s had so many finishes these last few months. There’s more to come. He’s been through major surgery.

“Covid was good for us, because with the time off we were able to make big changes. He had an extra season and we’d never get that chance again.”

With Burns keeping tabs on both of them, Hill and MacIntyre shared the lead at the halfway stage at The Belfry and did so again early in the final round before the title fell to Englishman Richard Bland.

“I’m just delighted with the development of both players,” added Burns, who also works with four-time tour winner Stephen Gallacher. “I’ve got the utmost respect for them as golfers, but they’re great lads, they’re pals as well. Really excited for them both.”

Hill won the Made in Denmark Challenge in 2019 and Burns believes he has now developed the consistency needed to taste success on the main tour.

“The first thing I had to do was get rid of the destructive hook with the driver, he could get one a round,” he said. “It’s enough to kill you off as you’ve always got that joker in the pack wondering when it’s going to come.

“I’m now very relaxed watching them both now, because I don’t see the bad shots being as destructive.”

With MacIntyre sitting inside the world’s top 50 and Hill one big week away from breaking into the top 100 for the first time, it’s an exciting time for Burns, who suffered from mercury poisoning from fillings and had to take a 14-year break from the game.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” he admitted. “I did well as a kid playing, but then I had terrible health problems. I always fancied the coaching side, came back and started from scratch and it’s now going great.”

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