LAST year was a hectic one for former European Tour pro Liam Bond with his own golf academy opening and the birth of third child Freya.

In fact, it turned out to be so busy that the 47-year-old didn’t manage to play in any tournaments, despite finishing 2016 top of the PGA West Region Order of Merit.

Bond will get back on the course this year but says his days of trying to qualify for the European Tour are now over.

In late 2010, and at the age of 40, Bond finally earned his tour card after 14 previous failed attempts, although his stay didn’t last too long.

And while trying to secure a tour return in 2015, Bond sustained a back injury that ended his chances.

He didn’t know it at the time but that injury would ultimately lead him to where he is now.

Bond, father to Freya, 10-year-old Oscar and Daisy, 12, said: “When I lost my tour card I went back to qualifying in Spain the following year.

“I was doing really well before my back went and the injury took a long time to get over.

“I was 45 and knew I needed to look at what I was going to do for the next 10 or 15 years.

“I thought of starting an academy and found some land outside Chepstow.

“We opened last summer and it has been very busy so far, but also really tough as we don’t have any staff, just me and my wife Emma.

“I’m proud of what we have done and it has been really interesting to see a lot of guys and girls wanting to progress to that next level.”

The former St Pierre pro added: “I played well in the PGA West Region in 2016 but in the back of my mind I knew I needed to look to the future.

“I don’t want to go back to the European Tour qualifying school now.

“The other guys are very strong and I don’t want to be chasing that tour card, especially after the injury.

“I’m 48 this year and closer to the European Senior Tour so if I did get my card I could spend time coaching at the academy.

"I’ve also got overseas pro-am events and VIP trips to look forward to.”

The Liam Bond Golf Academy is located in Tidenham, Chepstow and is open to anyone.