It’s October 11th, and as I open my curtains and look out of my window, I’m greeted with a deluge of rain and heavy winds, and my heart sinks, I can safely say ‘Winter is Coming’; I’ve not yet seen Game of Thrones, but I’ve heard it’s pretty good. Nevertheless, I’ve seen plenty of memes to suggest that it’s a relevant line for this particular scenario. I mean it was just over a week ago that I did the same thing in Italy as I embarked on the journey of Q School with the goal and ambition of making it to the European Tour. I enjoyed the motivating feeling of opening the curtains and seeing the fresh blue sky, not a lick of wind and the dew covering the grass like a thin blanket, but that dream quickly faded when I see the rain and come back to reality. When I reflect on my week and review my performance, in all honesty, I just wasn’t good enough this year. I certainly felt as though I played some good golf, but I lacked consistency which is what I found others did better than me, my good shots were just as good, if not better at times, but their consistency was what set them apart. I know that the level of consistency increases as each stage goes on and certainly well onto the main circuit, so I know I have a ways to go.
Yes, I was deflated, I’d put a lot of time and effort into trying to make it and other people had also invested an awful lot of time, effort and money into supporting me too, I thought I’d practiced well and I was ready to achieve one of my goals that I’d been working towards for the past 17 years, but the reality was my game just wasn’t ready for the European Tour this year. I mean the chances of getting through Q School are extremely small, I think roughly 2% of people who enter get their full card, but I wouldn’t have entered if I didn’t think it was attainable for me, someone has to do it. Instead, the week provided me with a lot of motivation and clarity, to keep working hard and to keep trying to improve that 1% each day. There are plenty of stepping stones, in terms of smaller tours where I may find my level to keep working my way up the ladder and that’s exactly what I’m going to try and do.
It’s difficult, no question about it, if it were easy, everyone would do it. But I believe there’s a certain knack to high-level performance and many athletes arrive at this point at different stages of their careers, some never do, but you can usually tell with an athlete when they have ‘arrived’ at this point when they finally start showing consistency in their performances. Years and years of hard work aside, going well over the 10,000 hours mark, I think it’s when they have found their personal formula, when the penny finally drops, knowing exactly what it is they need to do in order to put themselves in a position to perform at the highest level each week, even after time out resting. Now, this isn’t always bulletproof, anyone that knows a lick about sports understands how fickle it is and how one day can prove one result and another a totally different one, but it’s not just that search for perfection that drives an athlete, but also that search for their personal formula. The formula that delivers them consistency week in week out, and I’m sure the few people that do read this blog will be thinking the same thing, well it’s all down to long hours and hard, hard work. I don’t disagree with you for a second, there is no substitute for hard work, but I think it goes beyond that. I mean when you look at the top athletes around the world, how many hours they have to commit to corporate sponsors, travel, fans, meetings, family, recovery, the list goes on, and you wonder how much time they really get to practice, and get quality practice in, which is what draws me back to the point of, I believe they have found, know and understand their own formula. I mean this isn’t just within sports, many successful people in the real world I believe have also found their formula, they know exactly what they need to do in order to work at the optimum level. Whether that’s 7 hours of sleep, no booze the night before, a workout and a solid breakfast before they start their workday, they still know what they need to do to get the most out of their day. Now it’s a little different in the real world because typically the more effort and hard work you exert, along with a little bit of luck, you can almost guarantee you will see a positive growth in your career. However, with sports, you can put more and more work in, and not necessarily see improved results, sometimes it’s about quality over quantity. I guess my ramblings are that I have yet to arrive at that point, to find my formula and understand what I need to do in order to improve my consistency to perform at a level I believe I can perform at, what fundamentals and mindset I need in order to allow myself to perform at my best. I may never actually reach that point, but I sure as sh*t won’t stop trying to find it. Only more experience will help me get closer to it. I’m intrigued, have any of you found your formula? Let me know if you have, I’d love to hear what accounted to your success and what words of wisdom you can pass on to others.
Drivel aside, I’m scheduled to play just one more event to close out the year, and then it’s into the long dark winter getting myself ready for 2018, where I’m hoping I can improve on my already somewhat successful 2017, Q School aside… Yes, I missed some of my personal goals, but when I look back at some of my performances and my year as a whole, transitioning to come back to competing, leaving a full-time job to play golf and then turning professional, it’s been a fun year. I love competing in the arena.
I want to quickly take a moment again to thank everyone for the amazing support I received from not just Q School, but throughout the year. I’m sure those of you that follow my social media accounts, it takes an Army and you guys have been amazing!
Until I think of something else to ramble on about,