Bermuda.

I had one of those pop-up memories show up on Facebook a day or two ago, curiously I clicked it to see what travesties I’d posted over the past years since I’d joined Facebook. Sure enough, it didn’t disappoint, but sitting at the top of the list was a post I’d written this time last year, the post of 35,000 feet. It blew my mind how quickly a year had passed and what an interesting year it had been. This time last year I was bubbling with excitement as I was sitting at 35,000 feet making my way back across the pond to San Francisco to get in some warm weather practice and catch up with old friends. A full-time professional and optimistic about the year ahead, having a full year under my belt I was ready to start making grounds on my professional career, 2018 was going to be my year, grab it by the kahunas and change my life for the better and to be honest, that’s exactly what I did, just not necessarily on the course.

It’s fascinating how much can change in a year, it goes so quickly doesn’t it? Some people find a new career, some find their soul mate and get married, some experience loss and hardship and some welcome new life into the world. Those 12 months can seem like a lifetime away when we look forward and yet looking back, it feels like yesterday and it happened in the blink of an eye. So, once again, I’m lying here bubbling with excitement, travelling across the pond at 35,000 feet, blogging away, drinking champagne and eating caviar (WheelsUp really have been great), I guess a lot has changed in the last 12 months… I’ve travelled a bit, getting to experience new and familiar parts of the world, I moved to a new house, started a new full-time job in financial services and found a much improved 24 total fairways with the driver this year, I’m pretty fired up.

Jokes aside, this will be my last event of the year and ending it with a pretty special week at a fantastic venue. I was very fortunate to be invited by some kind members at St. Georges Hill earlier in the year to be their pro for the annual Goodwill Pro-am in Bermuda. I’m excited about the week ahead (don’t know why I wouldn’t be), but I’m sure it will be highly entertaining and enjoyable with the very best company. Naturally, I would have hoped that my season wouldn’t be ending here, more so gearing up for the new season ahead but I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, at least for this year that is. It’s been a quiet period of golf since qualifying school, I haven’t really had much to blog about as working a full-time job doesn’t allow for the flexibility that we would all like, but as I take a moment to look back and reflect on 2018, it’s been another year of growth in the roundabout way the game and life gives us.

The time away from the links has given me an opportunity to explore new ventures alongside my golf, miss the game more and more and think about strategic plans for reviving my game to get back to a standard of which I know I’m capable of. Diving into books, podcasts, audiobooks and battling it out on the course, it’s been fun to keep expanding my knowledge and the slow grind of getting my game back into shape, some days and weeks are better than others, but it’s nice to see signs of improvement. I heard a great quote from Web.com player Maverick McNealy on the No Laying Up podcast a few weeks back that resonated with me, a little bit of an itch on the brain, it’s ironic since most of this blog has been reflecting on the last twelve months but I have found it useful and thought you might also.

“If you keep thinking back to where you were, you’ll never get to where you need to be”

– Maverick McNealy

I’m sure this has been said many times before by others around the world in various versions, but I’ve probably subconsciously done this quite a lot over the past few years, comparing my game and results to how it used to be 10 years ago and as you all know that hasn’t proved to be so successful recently. That being said, I’m excited to be competing again this week, I’ve missed the competitive side of things, it truly is a brilliant game we play, allowing us to travel to some true wonders of the world and meet people from all warps of life, sharing the same passion for the game of golf. A game that can give us the most euphoric feeling at times and bring us to our knees in the darkest of others, yet somehow we show up again the next day.

So, here’s to 2019, optimistically looking up and forwards. Battling through the daily grinds and hustles, holding ourselves accountable to daily goals and getting back on track. Because by focussing on smashing each day at a time, it’s amazing what we can change and achieve in a year…

Until next time,

🏌🏼

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 distant 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

🏌🏼

17434962_1290322804382188_1739560916488912759_o.jpg

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

🏌🏼

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 11.19.34 PM

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 🏌🏼

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 🏌🏼