GOLF and ropey references to fish tend to go hand in hand. Players, for instance, are constantly looking to reel in that big win while forever lamenting the ones that got away.

It’s all ifs and, ahem, halibuts and tall tales of Davy holing a 60-footer in the medal when in fact it was nearer eight are as fishy as Captain Birdseye’s semmit.

For Anstruther golfer George Murray, swimming against the tide in the unforgiving waters of the pro game became all too much. For a man brought up in that well-kent Fife fishing community, it was perhaps inevitable that handling haddock would replace swinging sticks as he embarked on a new line of work away from the European golfing stage.

“I sell fish now and it seemed a natural way to go for me,” said the former Scottish Amateur champion who ventures forth from his Ainstur home and pedals his wares to the good folk of Edinburgh. “I didn’t have any qualifications. I didn’t stick in at school because I thought I was going to be a golfer. And I was for a spell.”

He was a good one at that. After a fine amateur career, which was burnished by victory in the national championship in 2004, Murray made the leap into the professional game and won the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the second-tier Challenge Tour in 2010 en route to promotion to the main European circuit.

His 2011 campaign looked to be petering out until he finished tied third in a stellar field at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews and then took the runners-up spot in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa a few weeks later to go from the lowly depths of the order of merit to 81st on the final rankings.

That would prove to be Murray’s annus mirabilis, though. A few years of toil, trouble and niggling back injuries would follow and against the diminishing returns, Murray decided to call it a day.

“I didn’t see myself getting any better and I wasn’t really enjoying it,” he said. “By that stage I wasn’t that into it and I wasn’t doing the things I needed to do. It had been coming. As soon as you get that urge that you don’t want to do it anymore you should just give up straight away.

“I probably stayed at it a year or so too long. It was a couple of years after I’d dropped off the main tour, I had another poor season and I said to myself ‘what am I doing here, what direction is my life going?’

“I was losing money, I wasn’t getting better. I had a bairn by this point and I knew I had to change what I was doing. I was going to end up with no cash at all. I don’t miss getting planes every week and sitting in an airport for five hours after missing the cut. That did my nut in at the end.

“I remember going to Azerbaijan for an event and we got the flight over and then sat on a players’ shuttle bus for three-and-a-half hours waiting on someone who was already at the golf course. That was the kind of infuriating stuff that I just couldn’t handle.”

Murray has no regrets about his time among the elite but hindsight remains a wonderful thing.

“I should have worked on my weaknesses harder,” added Murray who admits he doesn’t miss golf and reckons he has played only six times this year. “You need to invest in the fitness stuff and get someone who understands both your body and golf. That’s key.

“I always carried a bit of weight but that wasn’t that important. I was just that inflexible.

“I couldn’t use my power properly because I was so inflexible and it stopped me rotating. I should have worked for hours on that instead of watching DVDs.”

Murray was always a cheery, chatty, likeable fellow and his jovial personality will no doubt go down well with his customers as he signals his arrival with a honk of the fish van horn.

“I enjoy chatting away to people, they all have stories,” he said. “I was my own boss as a golfer and it’s the same with this. I enjoy my own company. On a Friday I get up at 3am and get to the shed about 4.20am to load my van. I don’t get back until 10pm.

“The customers are loyal but you have to keep them. They expect you to be bang on time. Anything over five minutes late and you are chasing your tail all day. It’s a pretty competitive business.”

It’s not quite the European Tour but flogging fish has clearly got Murray hooked.