2017 – end of season blog
Golf, injuries & academies
So, as the season draws to a close, I suppose it’s time to have a look back and see what went on.
From a personal golfing point of view, it’s been a tough one. For much of my playing career I have carried an injury. To be honest, most sports people or athletes are carrying a niggle. The extent of the injury, and how that changes the performance of the particular sport, varies.
Like many golfers that have gone before me, this year has been a case of a ‘bad back’. The pain I can deal with, I don’t mind a bit of pain… it’s the lack of motion and/or movement. I can play golf most days of the week, and sometimes quite well, but to be a tournament golfer is so much more than that; long haul travel, no days off, a burning desire to work things out (which means swinging in the mirror at night)… Don’t pretend like you haven’t done it!
Looking deeper into the issue and being honest with myself, I have always had short warm ups. I grew up at a club without a warm up range, and maybe had a lack of knowledge/understanding.. The excitement of just ‘getting on with it’ and straight to the first tee also played a part. At certain times, when playing in hot countries, I have been able to get away with short warm ups. This has no doubt played a part in my success in the middle east. After all, when you have hit 5 balls in 45 degrees of heat, your t-shirt is wet through.
Playing the ‘if only’ game, knowing what I know now, I would be a very different person and golfer in how I prepare for each round. These days the warm up in the changing rooms, or going to the gym in the morning, is something which is a must in terms of either being able to play, or not being able to tee it up that day. Doing these things should be helping me produce marginal gains in performance and swing speed etc, not be a time to check whether I can play that day or not.
Anyways, as my good friend and past caddie Jimmy Maine, aka Troon Jimmy (who sadly passed away at a young age this year) would say – “where ever you are, that’s where you’ll be”. What Jimmy was really saying was “shut the f&*k up and get on with it”, but he was too shrewd and nice natured to say that!
So the plan is to sort the back out over the winter, then see what happens re playing tournament golf.
In other news, I have been lucky enough to start working with many talented golfers through the launch of an Academy. It’s been a fun and exciting start to that part of my career, and has come a little earlier than I always thought, thanks partly to Robert Rock, or ‘Rocky’ as he is known.
A few years ago, while playing full time himself, Rocky helped me with my golf game. It inspired me to think ‘why can’t one play and coach?’. He understood what I was going through, and also understood what thoughts, feelings and moves you can play with under pressure, and what ones didn’t work… He knew this via real-time trial and error. This was a huge plus. Many top coaches have not played at the top level – they have other strengths, including a certain naivety, which can actually be really positive and valuable.
Via social media I think most of us can think of an ex Tour player who has played on tour for years, with lots of success, and thinks they have all the answers. So much so, that in some cases, they fail to continue to learn and grow and keep up to speed with ‘facts & information’ – trading that for personal opinion.
I know a fair bit, and have an idea of what to do – importantly, what ‘not’ to do – enough to know that I don’t know everything, and that I will continue to try to. As a true golfer you appreciate the quest for perfection, even when perfection is realistically not attainable.
Being a touring professional there are many aspects that you must deal with – schedule, travel plans, accommodation, directing your team, keeping the caddy happy, organising practice, organising which part to practice, getting practice round work done, keeping sponsors happy, technique, learning new techniques but not changing and trusting your old technique, dealing with all the comments from non-pros telling you it’s all mental and everyone hits it good and it’s all about putting!!!! 🙈🙈🙈 Then it’s driving it straight, getting your club head speed up, being able to control curve on your shots, wedge play numbers being dialled in, short game being sharp, green reading, aim point, dog point, vector reading, pace control, alignments – all to name just a few aspects!
The way I see my roll with the lads that I work with, is to relieve some of that burden and pressure by answering their questions. Questions like – why is the ball doing that? Do I need more of this? Do I need less of that? What do I need to get better at? Am I any good at that? How do I play that shot? If the answer is not what they like, or I don’t have it, I go and do the research, find the answer and present it to them in the easiest, most efficient and simple fashion, while educating them enough to understand it. This allows them to enjoy golf and allow their talent to show.
Golf never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes I feel I know quite a lot, then I think to 6 months previous and think ‘wow, I’ve learned so much since then’… There is plenty more to come!
There have been stand out performances within our ‘team’ of guys, and there have also been personal stand out performances, which are as important as the more public wins sometimes. Enough personal wins usually lead to public wins.
Congratulations to everyone on the team, and thank you for trusting and applying.
Anyways – I can talk forever about golf, but my Cappuccino is going cold.
Hope everyone has had a good season, and if not, let’s make 2018 a better one.