Terminal Velocity.

When I sat down to review 2018, the ebbs and flows that accompanied it, it was a chance to be very honest with myself, not just to see if I’d hit the goals that I’d set myself at the beginning of the year, but to really ask myself, had it been a successful and fulfilling year? Was I truly happy with what I had accomplished? The answer? In some cases yes, and in others no and that really just didn’t sit right with me. I wanted the answer to jump out as a resounding, YES! So when it came to planning for 2019 I decided to take a different approach. I wanted to get to the end of the year and already know, not have to sit scratching my head trying to decide if it had or hadn’t been. This year I want to push myself further, blast through my threshold and be successful off and on the golf course. Now that last sentence might have read funny to you, but there’s a reason I put off first. The biggest thing when it came down to planning was not to set my goals almost entirely fixated on golf, but more of a personal challenge. I feel by trying to achieve success and satisfaction in other facets of my life, it will evidently trickle down into my golf, allowing me to enjoy the process of improving and competing rather than being so result orientated and feeling that for me to be happy and satisfied in life I needed to perform well on the golf course. To be honest, we’re 8 weeks into the year and my newfound approach seems to be going pretty well, that’s not to say that I’m not going to encounter rough waters throughout the year, but how we choose to react to the situations is how we ultimately decide the outcomes.

As everyone does, I’ve had these ideas that scared me, something I knew I really wanted to do, but like many, I’d think about it for so long that I started to justify a reason as to why I shouldn’t and ultimately talking myself out of it. So, 2019 was more or less of a screw it approach. I decided rather than waiting for the courage to arrive I was going to do something about it and stop over thinking, just come out of my bubble and start living a bit more. I will say, although I’ve only scratched the surface on this, it feels fantastic and a huge breath of fresh air, which leads me on to the experience of the first of my goals.

I’m not the first person to skydive and certainly won’t be the last but it had been on my bucket list for a long time. I’d promised myself that I’d either do a bungee jump or a skydive before turning 30 and opted for the latter. Rather than continuously thinking about it and waiting, I just said screw it and jumped, holy hell, what an experience. All of the fear and anticipation that embodied the idea just disappeared as soon as I got there. It was strange because I didn’t expect to feel so calm, and it led me to thinking. When you absolutely commit yourself into doing something, all the fear and worry starts to dissipate, what was initially holding you back, is no longer there. You’ve internally told yourself that you trust yourself and whatever the outcome, you’ll be just fine (most of the time). You see, I was with my family in Cape Town and as we climbed to 9000 feet crammed into the back of this tin can of a plane, the sight of Table Mountain in the distance, it was just magical. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, I was with my Dad and my big sister on her birthday and my thought was, if there was a way you had to go, this would probably be it. I’ll not lie to you, it was a strange feeling watching them disappear out of an aircraft mid-flight and even more mind-boggling sitting on the edge of the plane looking out into the abyss of blue sky, legs buffeting around underneath the plane and your mind screaming at you telling you that this is not normal and to turn around. But you really don’t get to enjoy the moment for too long as the next thing you know, you’re flying at terminal velocity. It all happens so quickly, I guess just like many of our first-time life experiences… but so, so worth it! Would I do it again? Abso-freakin-lutely!

So to start rounding things off, I’ve started chipping away at my to-do list of things I want to accomplish, skydiving being the first. I know there has and always will be times that I need to lean on others to help push me, but results are always far more rewarding to look back on rather than the regret of never taking the leap to find out what’s on the other side of the door. As said best by Only Fools and Horses legend, Del Boy.

“He who dares wins, Rodney, he who dares, wins.”

You may be wondering how the game is and you’d be right in thinking it’s been a while since I’ve competed. The game is starting to come together, Bermuda was my last event in early December and it was a big success, I had a trip of a lifetime with three fantastic playing partners and I played some solid golf in between the all you can eat buffet. I finished 7th at the tournament and got to meet some great people along the way. Looking forward my first event is EuroPro Qualifying School early next month, I’m excited to get back to competing and will, of course, endeavour to put some solid scores together so that I can obtain my card for the year ahead, but I guess we’ll only find out until I open the door.

Until next time,

🏌🏼

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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

🏌🏼

 

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 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 🏌🏼