Howard Centre Manager Paul Haynes is well known in the shopping centre industry for his competitive nature and in the last year alone was shortlisted for Sceptre shopping centre manager of the year, BCSC environmental gold and a fourth Green Apple award. But now Paul has turned his attention to winning sports awards in his spare time.
“I realised that I needed to do more exercise and I got invited to try two new sports and it turns out that I had a bit of talent for them both” said Paul. The two sports are Footgolf – whereby you kick a football around a short golf course in as few kicks as possible and walking football which is like 6 a-side soccer only you are not allowed to run. The sports are two of the fastest growing in the UK with an estimated 30,000 people playing Footgolf each week and with over 200 walking football teams now playing regularly.
Paul won the recent Howard Centre Walkers Cup Footgolf challenge with an eleven under par round of 57 at Stockwood Park in March, which included three eagles as he beat 16 other challengers including a number of players half his age. In the 2016 season Paul played in in the UK Footgolf national tour – coming 12th in the UK in the over 45’s – category.
This year Paul has seen even more sporting success with Walking Football, also on a national scale. He plays for the Luton Town Football Club over 50’s side who have won the Bedfordshire Cup, Cedars Cup and the Regional English Football League walking football Cup; which means that the team go forward to play against the best other 11 teams in the UK, at Aston Villa on 17th June.
“I am amazed at the success to be honest which has been a bonus, I was always half decent as a footballer in my youth because I was trained to use both feet as a winger and I guess that some of those skills are still there and that’s helped. But it’s my fitness that has been the main driver and I’m now fitter than I was ten years ago and a stone and half lighter which can only be good and I’ve made around 50 new friends” added Paul.