BEING a driving instructor means Sarah Walton is used to keeping calm.
But the pressure was on the Accrington golfer as the 32-year-old played her last amateur match before her switch to the professional ranks as Lancashire battled to become the 2009 English County Champions last weekend.
Sarah, who made her Lancashire debut in 2002 - the last time they won the English title - needed to help her county beat Gloucestershire in the final showdown at Pleasington.
They needed just two points going into the afternoon clashes and Sarah got the all-important final one - helping Lancashire to a 5½-3½ victory to become English champs.
She signed off her amateur career with a round of five-under par – and her win on the 18th prompted scenes of jubilation among the Lancashire supporters, who cascaded on to the green to congratulate the player.
Accrington teenage sensation Nikki Foster also made a big contribution to the Lancashire team but it was a sweet success for Sarah as she signed off in style.
"It was nice to get the winning point. There wasn’t too much pressure as there were plenty of matches behind me and it was a real team effort. I knew though if I got my point that would be it and so it proved.
"It was a great achievement. I first represented Lancashire senior ladies side in 2002 when we first won the English title.
"But I think this one was better because golf is of a much higher standard now due to the equipment on offer, which has made a huge difference, and the technical aspect of the game with girls getting into the sport at a younger age."
That winning putt was Sarah’s last in the amateur ranks as she has decided to step into the unknown and turn professional - while still maintaining her driving instructor job, which she has done for five years, to keep some money rolling in.
"I had got to the stage where I had to do something if I was to improve and be able to give more hours to golf."
And if anyone thought being a golf pro was just about hitting a ball into a hole they are wrong as Sarah knows.
"I have got on a PGA Foundation degree course which hopefully will open doors for me.
"I had to go through a 36-hole test at Bolton Lostock to prove that my handicap was genuine - it needed to be four for men and six for ladies.
"But thankfully I was two under par and got on the course.
"I will be based at Clitheroe Golf Club and the degree gives me plenty of options with elements in it about golf retailing, coaching, sports science, business finance, managing a golf club, equipment and technology and much more.
"I will be working with Clitheroe professional Paul McEvoy and I am also hoping to get involved with Lancashire girls while also working on the retail side at Clitheroe.
"It could open international doors which is an avenue I may want to take."
It’s a far cry from a teenager who took up golf "for something to do."
"I should have been studying for my A-Levels at Blackburn College and one of my friends played golf," said Sarah.
"I used to play all kinds of sports and league badminton so I always had co-ordination and we had a free period and went to the driving range and the rest, as they say, is history."
She was a member at Green Haworth initially before moving on to the 18-hole course at Accrington Golf Club.
And that’s where she really came into her own setting a course record of 70 in 2001 - which still stands - winning the Observer golf competition twice and winning the Ladies British Mid-Am competition at Hoy Lake in 2003.
"That was a huge achievement," she said. "I was second going into the final round and then I was joint leader at the end so it was sudden death.
"It was birdie, birdie for me and I won the competition which was totally out of the blue and something I didn’t expect."
That was the high point of her solo career so far and since then she has steadily improved, having a handicap of one now.
And a decision was needed as to what was next which is why she has decided on the professional golf career.
"For the last 12 months, I have been thinking about it. There are more and more women professionals around and the PGA course was really competitive to get on.
"It is a is huge task to undertake as it is a three year course, will involve a lot of hours at Clitheroe Golf Club and it will be a lot of hard work.
"But I am proud of what I have achieved in golf so far as I have always worked full-time and had to practise after work and been limited in this respect.
"Now it’s time to see what I can really do and how far I can go and take it to the next level."
She continued: "I don’t know if I will compete on the Ladies Tour but it will give me the chance to try and be more consistent - that’s my problem at the moment as you have to go out and keep getting low scores in all the competitions.
"To do that, you have to be something special - and I am not sure if I can do that - but the standard is so high that I had to do something.
"Everyone who knows me knows I am a really positive person and if I put my mind to anything I am pretty successful.
"I am under no illusion how hard it will be but the opportunity is now there for me.
"I would never have dreamt all those years ago that I could make a career out of playing golf but hopefully I can."
And no one has to worry that nerves will get to her - as she has to keep calm being a driving instructor.
"You will have to ask my pupils if I am calm. But there are a lot of parallels between being a driving instructor and golf and it all helps me.
"I am teaching Nikki Foster to drive at the moment - it’s the only thing I can teach her as she doesn’t need my help with golf."
But plenty of golfers will have a lot to learn from Sarah.