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Man, That Was Expensive!

It’s quite a fascinating sight, the car park of a major golf tournament. You might not think much of it, but it’s filled with emotions of all kinds. The beginning of the week, confidence and optimism are rife, guys/girls internally or externally strut their stuff ‘expecting’ it to be their week, I mean, you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t think you could do it and hadn’t put your money where your mouth is. One thing for sure is, they’re all looking to cash in on the rewards of all the hard work they’ve put in over the past years, ready to take the next step in their career. I mean it’s all laughs and smiles at the start of the week with fellow competitors and friends, right up until your name is announced on the 1st tee of day one, then it’s game time. What you witness 48 hours later, different picture.

Round 3 (in this instance) you pull into the car park, it’s quiet, eerily quiet, you’ll see a few cars parked up, usually with players sitting in the driver’s seat deep in thought, eyes at distance gaze staring at the top of the steering wheel, thought after thought running through their minds. There is no smile, no laughing and joking like earlier in the week, just the look of a deflated ghost if you would, I mean, there really isn’t much to smile and laugh about when you realise you’ve averaged the gagging cost of £583 per competitive round of golf that week. Not to mention if you were to account for your expenses on top of that, you’ve probably spent around 10-20% of your annual salary on just one tournament, may as well have put it on the roulette table. I know what you’re thinking, just play well and you don’t have to deal with it, true, but regardless of how much you practice, how hard you work, everyone has at least one of those weeks, wracking your brain with thoughts on “What happened this week?”, “Why have I scored so poorly?” “Man, if only I hadn’t made a snowman on that short drivable par 4…” But you can see the one question that sits with all of them in that car seat. The holy grail of questions, the big one, oh yes, the question of all questions for an athlete… “So what do I do next?” It’s not as easy to answer as you might think.

It’s no secret what side of the spectrum I sat on of emotion last week at European Tour School, it may have only been stage 1, but it still stings. I went with goals and unfortunately didn’t achieve them again this year, but that’s golf and life, it doesn’t always work out the way we plan, I’m learning that day by day. We can work as hard as we want, but sometimes you just won’t score well certain weeks, other weeks you can do no practice at all, go out and play the greatest game of your life, it happens, but it’s best to keep topping up the tank, just in case it’s called upon on a hot week. But despite my Floridian weather scores, I took a lot of positives from the week, I remained positive and upbeat in my attitude, undeterred by the ploughing that was taking place. Sure, it would have been easy to throw the towel in, withdraw or retire from some fake injury but what do I learn from that? Absolutely nothing, just because I’m having a bad week, doesn’t mean I shy away from a little embarrassment, ultimately I’m out there playing for me and challenging myself. If you can’t learn, shrug and laugh, then you’re in the wrong gig my friend.

The course last week was set up long, longer than I had anticipated and being over 7300 yards, I’m fairly sure it was the longest course I’ve ever played that wasn’t in heat or at altitude and long doesn’t suit my game. Poor planning on my behalf, yes, another lesson learned. But I tell you this, what also continues to stagger me in this game is how mental it truly is. I’m not that naive in that I have suddenly just stumbled upon this and had my ‘aha’ moment after 18 years of playing the game, but each week it continues to surprise me a little bit more. I do work hard on the mental aspect of it, but there is a long way to go. You see examples such as when a player wins their maiden victory, you can almost guarantee they’ll either win again in the next 12 months or threaten to win in the few weeks after their first big win. This isn’t because all of a sudden overnight they became a great golfer, it’s because they mentally opened the floodgates of inner confidence and belief, they finally realised they could do it, they didn’t have to think about it and as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog, they just pressed play and enjoyed the show. The difficulty can come however when we  lose that bit of form, or we increase our expectations to a place which at the time is a little unrealistic, we aren’t yet there, we start looking, trying to find new fixes and swings without realising that it was just a question of digging it out in the dirt with what you had, adjusting your mentality and building back up the confidence pyramid, not digging ourselves an early grave.

Soooo, what’s next??? Oh come on, you knew it was coming… Well, I’m back in the office, figuring plans out and trying to pay off the heavy credit card bill that I’ve accumulated. I’ll admit that since I turned 25 two weeks ago, I thought I’d have a better grip on my career and life, especially when I flash back 10 years ago to when I thought I had the world and game at my feet, but I guess nobody really knows what the hell they’re doing, we charge off full speed in one direction, think it’s right for us and get deflected on a different path. One thing I have learnt over the years though is no matter how bad it gets, keep moving forward, even if it’s slow, just keep moving forward. Those that pass you will experience their own tough times, it just comes back to the old tortoise and hare story, folks.

One thing I do know, there’s still life and fight in this old dog. I’ll get to where I need to be in time. 😉

As always, thank you for the amazing support!

Until next time

🏌🏼

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All On The Line.

Twice a year the Isle of Man comes alive. From all over the world people come here for the TT and the Manx Grand Prix races. The TT is the premiere of the two events, a comparison to the majors in the sporting world while the Manx Grand Prix is the sister event in which those hoping to compete in the TT need to earn their place, proving that they can indeed handle the sheer insanity that encompasses racing on the island.

You see racing on the island is like no other, there isn’t a well-manicured track with plenty of gravel and runoff areas allowing bikers to gracefully glide across in their leathers when they make an error, oh no, not here. Your track is on the public roads, through towns, countryside and mountains. Your runoff is a brick wall, a field, a tree or some hay bails if you’re lucky, but that’s what makes it so special. As I said earlier, every year the island comes alive for 4 weeks, the 85,000 population drastically increases with visitors getting to experience everything the island has to offer. I’ve only ever been to one TT and immediately got the bug and always wanted to go back and since I now live permanently on the island, I was lucky enough to catch some of the Grand Prix that recently took place, immediately all the excitement and tremors returned when the first bike blasts only a few feet past you doing speeds that feel like Mach 3! It’s pure madness.

If you’ve never watched the TT, I’ll leave a link below so you can see a snippet of it. If it doesn’t leave you with goosebumps on the back of your neck, I’m sorry that you miss out on those experiences. The thing with the TT and MGP is that it is so very raw, bikers scream through the closed town roads and around the island circuit with speeds exceeding 200mph… Whether you’re a petrol head or not, you must, must experience it at least once in your life, the sounds and smells are just phenomenal. In most events you can tell who the better players or performers are just by watching, with the TT, it’s the complete opposite, close your eyes and listen. How you distinguish the difference between the top and the newbie riders are the sounds of the engines and how hard they’re riding them. I love to watch at Cronk-Y-Voddy, here the riders come down a hot straight and throw it over the hill on a fast right-hander at speeds of around 175mph. I like to sit just over the hill on the embankment where the bikes come within about 4 feet of you. You can hear them coming, but you don’t see them until they come over the top and full bore at you. The experienced and I say this tentatively ‘fearless’ riders don’t lift off, they have already set themselves into the cornering line and just keep on it. Like I said, all you have to do is close your eyes and you’ll hear the difference, it’s quite the sensation. Even after you’ve felt like your world has fallen out beneath you as the bike passes, the smell that is left lingering of engine fumes is what completes the memories.

So what’s the point of this blog? For you to come to watch a TT or MGP? Well yes, but the true point of it is what I have learnt from these guys. They leave absolutely nothing on the line, it’s 110% focus and commitment. As they sit there on the bike mentally going through final visualisations and preparations of the circuit, they eventually have to tip the visor down, pull the front wheel up to the individual start line for the split start and are greeted with a friendly hand on the shoulder. They know in that very moment, right before they get the tap on the shoulder to go, that this could well be their last moments in this life. The family hugs, kisses, team good luck and goodbyes may have been the last. Tragically, there are multiple fatalities each year for both racers and tourists but these guys know the risks, they know what’s at stake and each year, continue to show up, getting faster and faster. But as they get the shoulder tap from the starter, all those thoughts disappear, it’s nothing but arrow focus and the task at hand. There is no wiggle room, you mentally disengage just for a split second, you die. Simple as. All this leaves me thinking of how pathetic it is when I feel like the world is ending after I have a poor round or tournament, these guys are literally playing Russian roulette and I’m quibbling about shooting 75…

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the riders and have learned an awful lot from them in the brief experiences I’ve had watching. As I try to relate it to my career, it’s the level of focus and preparation they do, the commitment to their craft and pure desire and drive to succeed, never let anyone ever tell them they didn’t at least give it their all. Because at the end of the day, if we die doing what we love, would we really want it any other way? That being said, I hope I don’t die on a golf course anytime soon… but when I’m a 100 years old, I’d like to think I tapped in on the 18th for a 99 in the sunset.

So what’s next for me? Well, next week I head back off to European Tour Qualifying school, I’ve opted to go to Bristol and try my luck at the Players Club this time around and I’m just going with an open mind. Trying to put away any expectations and just go and compete with one or two focus points, trying not to let my mind wonder about the what-ifs and worst case scenario, I head back into the office the following week. My game is in an interesting state, some areas are in really good form and others as my old school teachers would say, “could do better”, but we all know how fickle golf can be, I like to think that I usually start to find some form this time of the year so hoping I finally get that good streak, certainly been long overdue.

As always, scores will be available through my results page and I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts about my upcoming results. See if I can take a leaf out of the true heroes book, arrow focus and put it all on the line. I recently came across a quote from Theodore Rosevelt again, I used to have a poster of it on my wall at college, and I think it stands true whatever you do in life. Go out and give it everything you have, put it all on the line, again and again. You just never know, it may well be the week that changes your life.

Until next time,

🏌🏼

TT Video

 

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College, Welcome To The Jungle.

It’s been a reflective time for me (shock) and in the next couple of weeks, freshmen from all across the world prepare themselves for what may appear to be a daunting experience entering college, but they have in my personal opinion, the greatest four years of their entire lives ahead of them. See here’s the thing with college (university for my U.K friends), it grants you the opportunity to meet some of the most inspirational people in the world, travel to places that you could only wish of, and have a really bloody good time, no screw that, an absolutely amazing time! You may not think or know it at first, but you will eventually. Those people you meet, the experiences you have with them is what makes the memories, good and bad, one thing for sure is everything seems a blur at the time, just another day at ‘the office’ but my goodness does it go quick. Cherish it, like your monthly salary, it goes in a heartbeat, trust me, please.

I was incredibly lucky, I had 4 years at a school where we effectively had a silver spoon in our mouths. I joined a program that has the best rotation of golf courses in the nation. (U.S that is). I challenge any school to tell me different. Olympic Club, Lake Merced, San Francisco Club, Meadow Club, Spyglass Hill, Cypress Point, Sonoma Country Club, Presidio Golf Club etc. Yeah, I rest my case. Forgive me, this isn’t to sound arrogant, this is just pure matter of fact, the University of San Francisco offers some of, if not the best rotations of golf clubs in the whole of the United States. Do I miss it? Damn bloody right I do. There isn’t a day goes by where I wish I couldn’t hit rewind, go all the way back to my freshman year and the first day of school (which by the way was about two weeks late into the semester, but best not dive into that). Internally, I was absolutely terrified, I’d flown out from England on my own, leaving at the time my family and long-term girlfriend behind. I was confident with my golf, I mean hell, I was an England International, nobody was going to tell me different, I was going to walk into the locker room swagger on thinking I was the next big thing. Academically, well, LOL. It certainly took me a while to grasp the U.S Schooling system but we got there in the end (I got out of study hall baby!!!) but on the course, my ego quickly dissipated as I met my family and over the next 12 months they put my ego in place, coaches included, not that I didn’t like to keep them on their toes, however. But each year, we continued to build our family, even after graduation, you still remain a part of the family. Weird concept to those that have never experienced it, but to those that have, as frustrating as some of those days may have been with fellow teammates, we’d take it all back to have those college experiences again. The family, the team house comradery, the beer boots and those memories, god it just makes me smile thinking about it. I loved travelling as a team, you knew each event was going to be fun, receiving a bunch of swag at each event, the early morning airport calls, some guys still wobbly from the night before, some still fast asleep as we’re sitting in the taxi, just makes me chuckle now thinking of it, maybe not so at the time.

My point is I guess, that whether you’re starting college or currently going through it is to enjoy every single second of it. Time flies. Plain and simple. Graduation on your first day of school may seem a long long way away, but it quickly approaches you like a random drug test (if you’re an athlete that is). But even after graduation, hopefully, you’ve taken enough snaps along the way to look back and reminisce, it sure goes in a heartbeat. I was lucky. I gained a lot of friends along the way, I also learned a lot of life lessons, some nice, some not so nice. It’s part of the spectrum and venturing through the jungle, ultimately having to find our way. But to be honest, the hardest part of college for me was having to return home, back to your home country with an expired visa desperately trying to figure out how to get back. I had a degree, I’d spent 5 years combined with school and work in the U.S on cloud 9, thinking that I had all my ducks in a line, life was sweet and that I was set, not so much. Best of luck on that journey when you get to it. All I will say is, plan ahead, well ahead, because senior year is too late and returning home isn’t as good as your memories or photo albums will recall, college and America it’s an experience of a lifetime, and as Billy Maddison will quote “Stay here, as long as you can, for the love of God, you’ve got to cherish it, cherish it!” If you haven’t seen Billy Maddison, well, erm, you’re missing out big time, go watch it!

But as I sit here, rambling to you, wine inclusive as to whether or not you are going to or whether or not you should consider going to to the U.S for College (University), I’d say unless you were dropped on your head at birth, you’d be ridiculous not to try it or at least consider. Sure it’s expensive, scholarship or not, although I highly, highly, recommend working your butt off for one, in the grand scheme of things, you’re creating vast global opportunities for you to change your life for the better. I do speak in a bias of USF because obviously, I went there. Sure, I wish we had a ‘football’ team, that would have enhanced things slightly but that’s what makes USF, USF. We are small but a mighty school and a school to be reconned with, and as sure as are eggs are eggs, living in the best city in the USA, people whether athletes or not, are going to ask you what it’s like to attend a school that sits in the heart of the San Francisco.

Want to know the answer?

It’s a double fist pump of absolutely f**king awesomeness! Cherish it.

Until next time

🏌🏼

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Your Autobiography.

Along my novelist travels, there are a few nuggets I’ve discovered and naturally I like sharing them with you, because even it’s just one nugget of information that you take from these blogs that either help improve your current situation, allows you to see some clarity or gives you the encouragement to go chase your goals and dreams, well, then it’s one person more than I ever thought I’d reach. Being able to help one is always better than none.

I tend to read a lot of autobiographies, I think they’re great. Granted I’ve started to read a lot more in the last year than I ever did at school, College included (ironic I know), but there’s so much to take from someone’s story, regardless of if they’re an athlete or businessman/woman, in fact, it really doesn’t matter who they are in the world, whether they’ve made something of themselves or not, someone can usually offer you something, that can be positive or negative, both are learning experiences. But in the autobiographies I read, it’s what they’ve done and experienced in their lives that I feel helps clear the visual path and helps me along my way. If something is tried and tested and doesn’t work, then it might not be worth exploring that avenue, now that’s not to say just because it doesn’t work for one doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. But I’m talking about if someone puts their hand in a fire and gets burnt, they’re not going to replicate the exact same actions hoping for different results, nor do I need to go test it out myself (I mean, I still did… you haven’t really lived if you haven’t tried at least once to dance your finger through a candle flame…wild I know!). Obviously, though, athletic autobiographies ring closer to home for me purely just because sports have been such a pivotal influence in my life, I’m looking for mindset nuggets, or practice and competition techniques that I might be able to implement. Anything that might give me that edge. That’s what people are looking for when they read most books, other than the non-fiction sci-fi stuff, they’re looking for information to better their lives.

I know for a fact I’m not the first to think or discuss this idea, but if you haven’t thought about it then this might jumpstart your thinking. We are, whether aware of it or not, writing our own autobiography, some obviously choose to publish theirs because they feel like it could be useful to others and others don’t, they just live (totally respect that). So, why am I rambling on about autobiographies? Well, other than the fact I like reading them, I had this conversation with my sister recently, we were catching up and just generally just shooting the sh*t about life, as you do at 24, and I was thinking and talking about the idea of why I read them. Not just because I’m looking for information but because their lives have many chapters that are an interesting read, their stories are rich. If we picked up a book that had 5 chapters in it, would we really be enticed to read it thinking it holds a captive story? Probably not. We would be more inclined to flick through a book that has 20 or 30 chapters because the likelihood is it will tell a greater story, we can learn more from it. Now, it might be interesting or it might be a dud, we don’t know, but we will probably feel our time is better spent with the bigger book. My point is, that when we write our own, we should never bind ourselves trying to rewrite and stretch the same chapter over and over again. If you get the opportunity to go explore another avenue in your life or career, go do it! Doesn’t matter how good you feel you have it, it could be even better! Never. Stop. Looking. Usually, we have a clear vision of our goals and dreams even from the earliest of ages, but life has a funny habit of sending us on diversions which may or may not lead to something bigger and better, granted at the time they can come across as confusing. It might, however, be that it’s a path that provides us with some valuable experiences that will help us handle our childhood dreams in a better way. You just never know.

This brings me onto this weeks U.S Open in a roundabout way, it’s probably the toughest test in golf we see all year and for some, they get to play and experience it. Twitter has and always will be a minefield, containing some hilarious discussions and memes but also some brutal tweets. Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting back and grabbing the popcorn while people go to war on Twitter, but, for most, we just quickly consume media and occasionally give our two cents. Now, Scott Gregory was at the mercy of some brutal tweets and general media coverage this week after posting a humbling 92 at Shinnecock. I think first and foremost, we address that the week prior the guy played his way into the event, that in itself speaks volumes, not many people have that chapter written in their book! A chapter someday I hope to write myself. Sure he must have felt a little winded and flush-faced but the fact is the guy added a very respectable U.S Open conditioned 75 to follow up from the 92, which to many would have been a daunting task to have to peg it back up on Friday, but he did, and with full belief that he was going to show the world the calibre of player he truly is and went and ground it out (Tip of the cap to you sir). I know as a player how silly you feel after posting a high number, you feel like the whole world is watching when the reality is they’re not, but all you want to do is crawl into a hole. However, posting a 92 on the big stage such as the U.S Open where the whole world is watching, that’s tough to swallow, but again, all credit to him, he got back up and played through it. The funny thing is, in a few years time, chances are you might just pick up that autobiography of Scotts (if he chooses to write one), purely because he added an interesting chapter to his story, a 92 in the U.S Open! You wouldn’t be too fussed about reading about someone who shot a pair of 75’s to miss the cut anyways. See, that’s the beauty of putting it all out there on the line, at the mercy of many, we take a risk and regardless of the outcome it’s still a learning experience and best of all, makes for one hell of a read! Scott, if you do happen to read this, I’m fairly certain you won’t, but if you do, kudos to you, that takes a great amount of grit and some big kahunas to take it all in your stride.

So the moral of this blog? Go add some new chapters to your book, we only get one draft, no rewrites, so may as well make it a worthwhile read. Summer is finally here, take a few risky chances and go with the confidence and conviction with the sun on your back. Whether it’s a career jump or personally, you’ll learn from it, good or bad, least you had a go and added a new chapter. There is a quote that has resonated with me over the years which my grandmother told me when I was younger, and I have only recently really put it into perspective. I’ll leave it with you on my final note. She said:

“Time waits for nobody, Seb.”

Tick. Tock. folks…

Until next time

🏌🏼

 

Playing The Odds.

The hero play. We all try it at some point, depending on your respected career you’ll try it more frequently than others. Sometimes it comes off and we look like Zeus, aaand sometimes, well, not so much and we end up with egg on our face. But it’s a risk we’re willing to take if we want to achieve something greater than what we realised we were capable of. Now, yes, there are certainly times when we need to take our chips off the table and play it safe, it’s knowing when to push and when to fold which is key in many successful people, their judgements are more often than not right, but that comes through time and experience.

I realise my last few blogs have been somewhat on the negative side and more open than usual, and I certainly don’t want negativity to be a common trend of this website/blog. So, here I bring you some more uplifting news! Over the past couple of weeks, I have thankfully started to rekindle some love for the game, seeing a glint of light at the end of this long tunnel, feeling a bit of consistency returning to my game since coming out to the U.S for Open Qualifying. Now, unfortunately, I didn’t get through qualifying this year, but I played a lot of exciting golf. I got off to a hot start being 3 under through 5, which was unfamiliar territory in light of my recent form but it was fun to be on that side of the coin again. I did incur a couple of ‘hero play’ moments which looking back were unrealistic and unnecessary, ultimately I feel it cost me my place in final qualifying, but, we live and learn.

So what’s the secret to my new found progress on consistency and rekindled enjoyment? Well, it’s nothing revolutionary like clubs or funky gadgets, it’s just going back to basics and having some sunshine in the sky. I realised I was trying to reinvent the wheel at times, which is difficult when we’re trying to be a step ahead of the competition, a lot of the time we feel in the game that unless we’re changing something we’re not advancing, and this runs so true in players throughout the game, ultimately I feel like they usually go back to their roots whether it be with equipment or technical stuff. I guess the age old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” runs true. So thankfully I feel like I’m starting to have clearer goals and most importantly looking forward to hitting the links again.

On a final note, I have been blown away over the last few weeks by the tremendous amounts of support I have received, especially after my last post. I can’t explain enough how humbling it is that so many people keep in touch and want me to have success in this game. To have so many virtual and physical helping hands from all over the world picking up my spirits and showing support to keep pushing through is incredible, truly, thank you so much!

Until next time

🏌🏼

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 🏌🏼