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Darkest Hour.

Have you ever wanted something so much that you actually kept getting in your own way and ultimately hindering your ability to get it? Super frustrating right? Now knowing what you know, the answer should be simple right? Get out of your own bloody way, press play, and enjoy the movie. Simples. But, like a broken record player, it keeps slipping and you keep repeating the same old garbage, thinking afterwards, “great, same sh*t, different day, are you ever going to make any progress?” Everyone around you is moving forwards and you feel like you’re stood in wet sand, stagnated. You see, I’ll let you in on a little secret…

That’s how I’ve felt for the last 9 years…

Sure, I’ve had some good scores, occasionally throwing out the odd good finish but it’s been a very very long time since I felt I was consistent, I’ve got higher aspirations than ‘the odd good round and finish.’ There is no doubt, I’m very lucky to play golf for a ‘living’, however, I use that term loosely since as of right now if it wasn’t for my family and work off the course my ass would be living on the streets. Don’t despair though, my NetJets contract is close to finalizing, we’re just sorting out the necessary formalities like at the very least making the cut in a no-cut tournament.

But in relation to the title of this blog, other than some hopeful clickbait, it’s been a real slump in performance for me. In fact, it’s the second worst stats including stroke average I’ve recorded since I started keeping my stats back in 2012. Now I know it’s still somewhat early in the year, but as I said in my last blog, I did have another ‘interview’ last week which I emphatically shit the bed with, leaving the course early assuming I’d missed the cut mark by a mile only to find out 5 hours later enjoying dinner at home with the family that afternoon scores had skyrocketed and I was in a playoff for the remaining spot… Season. Over.

There is no worse and terrifying feeling than unfulfilled potential. My old coach at USF used to tell me that I needed to “Get out of my own way” in order to show the world my full potential, and I totally understood what he meant by ‘getting out of my own way’, but I just never knew (still not quite sure) how to. I’ve spent a lot of hours expanding my knowledge reading books of all kinds soaking up as much information as I can, filtering what’s useful and what can be left alone, just trying to find some nuggets to help me get back on track. It’s such a euphoric feeling when we’re riding the wave of good form, everything comes easily and we live somewhat stressfree, you wonder how you can ever lose it, you hardly even think about the game, but as quickly as it comes, it disappears twice as fast. It’s like sand through the fingers, nothing has changed, the clubs are still the same as the day before, hole is still the same size, sure the weather can change allowing for a little fluctuation, but how is that a professional golfer can go from shooting under par regularly to hardly ever breaking par and not able to string a good round together. The funny thing is we see it far too often, even at the very highest level. The question is, in our darkest hour, how do we drive out of the rut without flipping the car?

So what’s ahead? A proper job again and maybe a little break from the game that I’ve started to fall out of love with. Probably so, but that’s what is so hard to do when you’re performing so poorly, the thought of putting the clubs away is terrifying, surely increasing effort and focus = improved results? I guess not in this game. So, at least for the next few weeks, I have a few mini-tour events to play in, I’ll just keep putting myself out there in front of waves trying to catch one.

Until next time, if anyone likes surfing, you know where to find me.

🏌🏼

The Truth About Q School.

I want to try to remain positive here, I played some good golf over the last 3 weeks in South Africa, but that’s about as far as you could describe it. It was certainly a tale of two polar opposite weeks of results, but that’s golf, it happens, it’s just frustrating to go through. One week you feel like you’re in control of your game, and the next you can’t understand why that little white ball laughs at you as it soars off into Narnia. As you’ve probably deciphered by now, I didn’t achieve my goal of getting my Sunshine Tour Card this year, and as any athlete knows, professional or amateur, when you set a goal and work hard to achieve it and fall short, it sucks big time. But Q School isn’t easy, there are only a limited number of spots available and all you can do is keep working hard at it and hope that your game remains consistent and that you can stay patient throughout the stages.

I would say the best way to describe the experience of Qualifying school, in general, is like going for a 9-14 round interview at a fortune 100 company, but the catch on top of everything else is that everyone who also wants the job, is in the room too, watching you being interviewed. You can research, study, implement and prepare to the best of your ability, going in with plenty optimism but knowing that each day if you slip up, your ass is outta there and it’s onto the next interview. It’s draining, nervewracking and tests all facets of your mental and physical ability, but most importantly, it’s absolutely bloody exhilarating and that’s why we keep going for it. It’s tough to embrace the ups and downs when going through it, but again, that’s the reason why we do it, we want the best, to win, the opportunity to pursue our dreams and have a more fulfilled life, because we all know if it were easy everyone would do it.

I would like to take a moment of sympathy for my caddy for the week, Johannes. Firstly, I’m amazed he didn’t quit, that poor bugger probably walked more mileage than any other caddy out there this week and I’m pretty sure he was 75 years young. As the week went on I sensed a few signs he might have given up the will to live, one being that every putt suddenly became dead straight regardless of the severity of the slope and secondly, I’m pretty sure I last saw him running down the 10th hole soaking wet holding a copper rod in the air which I can only assume he was hoping to be struck dead by lightning, I felt a little hurt but I understood his motives. Nonetheless, I think we had a blast and I thank him for his help!

But all in all, it’s been a very enjoyable trip back down to South Africa, as I’ve said before, I love the country, the people and the food. The thing I love about Africa as a continent is it’s raw, what you see is what you get, no sugar coating. Health and safety, well that’s laughable, and I think we should take a small leaf out of their book. I mean seeing 8 people barrelling down the motorway at 80mph rammed into the back of an open back pick up truck isn’t something that is taken lightly in most parts of the world, but in Africa, it’s the norm and I absolutely love it. Sure there are widespread issues, but you’d be hardpressed to find somewhere in the world that doesn’t have issues. People seem to enjoy life more with half as much, and that’s humbling in itself. We are so wired into our daily lives that we miss a lot of what goes on around us and don’t really ever get to deeply talk with family and friends, a social distraction is only a ping away. I got the chance to visit my sister and her family up in Zambia in between stages and that in itself was the highlight of my trip. My sister is such a great mother and it’s amazing how much character the kids have at such a tender age, she continues to be a role model of mine.

I’m back in action again on Wednesday for the first stage of EuroPro Qualifying School at Formby Hall, all the results can be found on the Schedule & Results page.

I’ll check back in with you in a couple of weeks time, hopefully, this time I crushed my interview and got the job and if not… well, sh*t, I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

Until next time 🏌🏼

Wheels Up.

It’s finally time for the season to get going… and let me tell you, I am excited! I feel it’s been a long winter, despite having a few weeks back in the states for warm practice to help break it up, I still forgot how short the days get back home during the winter and how much of a grind it is more than anything to remain focused and motivated. I know what you’re thinking… “Holy sh*t Seb, that’s some serious first world problems, get a grip.” Yes, I’ll humour you on that, many have it a lot worse, but still, it’s been a shock to the system coming back for my first English winter in 3 years. Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve made some good strides in my game over the winter months, so I’m optimistic to see those reflected in my tournament play. Also having a full year of professional golf ahead, I’m excited to see where it takes me.

My season starts out next week in South Africa at the first stage of Sunshine Tour Qualifying School where I look to hopefully follow that up with final stage about 8 days later obtaining my card for the year. Due to the weather it’s been a mad rush this morning as I was scheduled to fly out tomorrow instead, but since Britain is greeted with yet another winter storm which they are calling ‘The Beast from the East’ and seems to be shutting down most roads and airports, I felt it best to make some last minute travel changes so that I can get out there on time. Thankfully there were no major delays despite the heavy snow forecast, so I can now switch my focus back to work. I’m excited about this trip not only for the golf but I get a chance to see my sister and her family between events, living in Zambia I don’t get to see her very often, so regardless of results it’s a win-win trip. Following Sunshine Qualifying school I’m set to fly back and compete in the Euro-Pro Qualifying school at the end of March and beginning of April, I’m really just trying to put together as much of a schedule for the year as I can, giving myself as many options as possible.

As always, I’ll do my best to keep you updated, good or bad but hopefully with some positive results, but hey, it’s golf after all and we all know that no matter how much effort we put in doesn’t always guarantee the results. I’ll have links to my results over at the Schedule and Results page, you can find that by clicking here.

I want to thank everyone for the support and good wishes it means a great deal to me and I look forward to hopefully sharing some good news! If you want to get an inside glimpse of my couple weeks in SA, go follow my Instagram @Sebcn

Until next time

🏌🏼

Who Doesn’t Love Free Things?

There’s the age-old saying that nothing worth having in life comes free, well, in this case, it does! I’ve been excited to do this for a while now and it’s finally here. TRX and I have come together to give you the chance to win your very own TRX Home2 System. Between February 5th and February 12th, you have the chance to get your hands on these awesome straps that I promise will change up your workouts. Packed with a variety of awesome workouts to follow and encouragement from the very best instructors in the game, it’s guaranteed to fulfil your workout needs. You can find more information about the TRX Home2 System here.

It’s free and easy to enter, all you have to do is click the link below, fill in your name, maybe give us some social love and you’re one step closer to winning a TRX Home2 System! I mean what’s there to lose?

I always travel with my TRX straps and they have without a doubt revolutionised my workouts since I started using them 18 months ago. If you get the opportunity to drop into the Training Center while in San Francisco, I cannot recommend it enough, they take the workout grind to the next level! To see some of my favourite exercises on the straps, click here.

Good luck and may the odds ever be in your favour…

Cheers,

🏌🏼

ENTER HERE!

The View From 35,000 Feet.

I’m currently at 35,000 feet, feeling very twitchy. It’s an 11-hour flight from London to San Francisco and it’s one of those travel days you just wish you were at your end destination. I’ve been up since 4am to get to the airport for the first of my two flights for the day. I’ve made this journey countless times over the years, going through the motions, almost knowing to the minute from when I leave, to the time exactly I’ll arrive back at my front door of what used to be ‘home’. I always had the same eager excitement of getting back to the U.S, especially coming back over the hill heading north on the 101 from the airport and seeing the city right in front of you, it’s just such an awesome view and gives me goosebumps thinking about it now. It’s been almost 7 months since I reluctantly had to leave America and I’m more excited than ever to be heading back, as I look out of the window here, at 35,000 feet, I can’t help but think and smile about the action-packed couple of weeks ahead in California. It’ll be a great end to what has been a rollercoaster 2017. To be able to catch up with great friends and play some golf, (hopefully in shorts and t-shirt) will be some perfect R & R. It will also give me a chance to reflect on my 2017 and start to plan and prepare my goals for 2018, where having a full year playing professionally will hopefully put me in better stead.

I have started to solidify some of my plans for early 2018 (as much as I can) and I’m already excited and optimistic about the year ahead. The beginning of 2018 is already set to have some fun travel, which starts with heading back out to California to get in some more winter practice, in preparation for the following weeks where I head down to South Africa for Sunshine Tour Qualifying School. It’s been a while since I was last in South Africa playing and I’m excited to be going back. I went to Qualifying school about 6 years ago, just before I left for college and only missed out by a stroke or two, so I’d like to think that even though standards have drastically increased over the past years, my game has too and will be consistent to get me through both stages. I do love being in SA, the people are awesome and the golf is super fun, they also have the best sunsets and steaks in the world (personal opinion) but nevertheless I’m hoping it’ll be a great couple of weeks as I’ll also get to spend some time with my sister and her family in Zambia before flying down to Johannesburg for the first stage.

So plenty of air miles planned, and an exciting couple of months ahead, providing the golf is just as good and I can obtain my card, it will be the cherry on the cake. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on scores through my results page and for those that follow my social media channels, I’m excited to take you on the journey over the next couple of months.

As a thank you to everyone who continues to follow my blog and give such awesome support, I’ll be doing a prize giveaway for two winners over the Christmas period. All you have to do to enter is like this post and share/retweet it, then I’ll announce the winners on the Friday after New Year on my Instagram page so be sure to give me a follow and keep an eye out for the winners!

All my social channels can be found here! Good luck, and again, thanks so much for all the support, you guys rock!

Cheers from above the clouds.

🏌🏼

What’s Your Formula???

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,

Cheers

🏌🏼

 

The Younger You.

It’s been a number of weeks since I’ve turned professional and felt it was a good time to recap on my newborn experiences in the paid ranks. It’s certainly been a new perspective to the game, where now every shot counts more than ever, but I find it’s important to try not to think of that, especially if things are starting to go south during a round. I’m certainly enjoying playing and having the thrill of trying to win some money, and I’ve managed to pick up a little cash with two 2nd place finishes and a 5th in the 7 events I played in so far. I have found in the short time I’ve been out here that there are certain difficulties that accompany the touring professional world, especially at the developmental tour level, where you go week to week on your own finding ways to fill the voids between competition time. It gets lonely, but that is just part and parcel of touring life, I don’t believe it’s something you can really prepare yourself for, you just have to embrace it and you need to be comfortable being in your own thoughts for long periods of time, ensuring that you are your biggest fan, every single day. It’s very easy to get negative and down on yourself and once you start, it’s a slippery slope. But you must take solace in knowing that through the tough times there will be good weeks and to ride that purple patch as long as you can.

Aside from the competitive aspect to my professional career, today reminded me exactly why I grew to love golf. I was fortunate enough to do some junior coaching at my home club, Silloth on Solway and it was such an amazing experience and probably the most enjoyment and satisfaction I’ve had on the course in a long time. I did a little bit of junior coaching at a college event a few years ago which I really enjoyed, we put on a seminar for some young juniors, but nothing to the level of fun we had today. It was so refreshing to see how much excitement and energy these young junior golfers brought to the course. They were competitive, feisty and the pure joy on their faces when they crushed one straight down the middle and turned around to seek praise from their friends, parents and us coaches was something that personally made my day. It reminded me how excited I used to be as a junior growing up where I would go through my Friday night routine of cleaning my clubs, getting my outfit ready for the Saturday morning junior competition and settling down in front of the T.V for a number of hours watching the Big Cat rip it up on the PGA Tour. I’m sure many of you did the same as a junior? At least I’d like to hope you did. But these juniors really reminded me just how excited golf made me feel and now I realize I how much of it I take for granted. I just hope that I can start to tap back into that feeling every time I head out to the golf course, without any anxiousness of how I might play that day, just opportunity to go and rip it, have a blast and give it my all.

I’m hopeful that I can continue to work with the juniors over the weeks and look forward to seeing them progress, fueling their desire to keep playing and to always be competitive with one another.

As I look ahead, I leave for Italy at the end of the month for the first stage of European Tour School. I’m excited for the week and the challenge of trying to get through all 3 stages to obtain my tour card. A process which is gruelling, and tests not only your golf but character as well. Either way, I’m hoping to be my younger self and look forward to the challenge!

As always, I really appreciate the support you guys give me whether it be on social media or out and about, it means a lot to me. I’ll keep you posted on my results as and when they come in, I’ve got some exciting stuff to share with you hopefully over the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for a blog update, and if you’re playing golf this weekend, tee it high and let it fly baby!

Cheers,

Seb 🏌🏼