Last week I returned to Amateur Golf in emphatic style, a similar fashion as to how I left it over 3 years ago. With flashes of brilliance and confidence, but soon to be brought back to the harsh reality with what could only be described as an imploding of the decade and one that may very well sit up there with my all-time career best.
Last Saturday I played in the prestigious Berkshire Trophy, a 72 hole event over 2 days (cut after 36), split between the Red and Blue Courses and sits on the tail end of the Amateur Championship each year. It was my first competitive round in just over 15 months, not only in a National setting but returning this time, as an Amateur. All the natural feels came rushing back, excitement, anticipation, second-guessing, just trying to manage expectations and go out and have fun with it! Although it was short-lived this time, I must say, it felt good to be back!
As a quick segway and refresher, I made the decision back in April last year to reapply for my Amateur status, it felt like the right time for me to take a step away from Professional golf and switch my focus to other areas of my life for the interim. Transitioning to living and working in London now, doesn’t present me with an awful lot of time to play and practice as I once did, but, pandemic aside, it’s been a real treat being down here for the past year and I’m looking forward to seeing what year two entails.
So back to the tournament… not really knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to open my first round on the Red Course with a 70 (-2), with only a single blemish on the card, putting me in the top 15. Feeling pretty comfortable, I was excited to try and replicate the morning round on the Blue Course this time. However, as golf has, and will always continue to do so, gave me the reality slap to effectively say, welcome back… With the afternoon round starting smoothly, gaining some momentum and getting things to -4 through 25 holes after making an eagle on the par 5, 6th hole, things temporarily felt solid. However, following on from that and what can only be described as hitting a wounded mallard of a tee shot into Narnia on the tight 8th hole, resulting in a lost ball and a double bogey, quickly tainted the excitement of the eagle and scrambling a par on the short par 4, 9th, meant I was still in good stead, just steadying the ship through 27 holes. Now, what proceeded over the final 9 holes of not just the round, but ultimately, to my entire bloody tournament, would bring nightmares and shivers to the best and worst golfers, globally. A cool run of triple bogey, double bogey, bogey, bogey, par, bogey, bogey, par and a final bogey, just for good measure, meant for a swift departure from the car park after missing the cut.
Now, I’m sure some of you are naturally thinking, my God, what on earth happened? How can things go so drastically south so quick? And I would rebuttal that with, great question, I can only put it down to a lack of practice not just on the golf course but also the mental and physical fatigue that comes with competitive golf, and in time, the more I get back into competing, the more I expect that things will improve and events like that won’t haunt me in the future.
So, the long-short of it is, although my back 9 in the afternoon was an absolute shambles, it was ultimately my first tournament back and I played a lot of good golf and hit a lot of great shots before that. I managed my game and attitude well and loved being back out there again. I may be one of the more ‘senior’ players in these events now, but it was a blast. I’m no longer trying to make a living out of it and as the mentality shift comes to just playing to see how well I can do, rather than carrying the burden of trying to put food on the table and make the next step up. Hopefully with time and more practice and playing, I can look to achieve the goals I’ve set myself as an Amateur again.
Link to final results can be found here
Until next time,