Waiting game… practice, family and rest!

It feels like forever since my T19th finish in the Porsche European Open, but it’s been a busy few weeks! We spent the first week in the UK visiting family and friends and then, along with my caddy Steve and his wife, we hosted The #CharityBall at The Venue in Halifax.

We personally really enjoyed planning and hosting the evening and the feedback we have received from so many guests is that it was a fantastic night. But the most important thing is that we all raised £12,500 for our two wonderful charities, and donations are still coming in.

We were truly overwhelmed, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support from so many people, friends, businesses, and top golf manufacturers! So, thanks again from all of us!!

The day after the #CharityBall it was all go, we headed straight back to Spain; I had a week of practice planned in the hope of getting into the Paul Lawrie Matchplay (Germany) and my mum was also out to visit!

Back in Spain I’m so lucky to be able to split my practice between two amazing set ups, Los Naranjos and Guadalmina, and for me the best time to practise is the moment it gets light until lunch time.

So, I get to the course for 7.30am, plan out a four-hour practice session, set some goals, then head back for a swim with the kids before lunch. Being able to miss the afternoon heat is perfect, as you don’t really want to be smashing drivers for an hour or so when it’s 35 degrees!

How a typical practice session currently looks…

  • arrive at 7.30am, head down to the ‘members’ area’ at the bottom of the range where it’s so quiet, spend half an hour doing short game whilst they set up the range/balls etc.
  • I then tend to work through my bag; I start with Lob Wedge and just work through my pitching positions trying to hit the numbers on my Trackman, then when warmed up and I have the feel for my positions, I go straight into a couple of Wedge Testing games on the Trackman. 10 balls, it selects random yardages and I have to pitch the ball that number, it gives me a score each time and I push to beat my PB every time! It’s a great way to keep some focus, work on my routine and stay competitive!
  • I will then do some technical work with short irons and mid/long irons, film both swings from face on, and also down the line, then with my swing numbers I will send the data and videos to my coach to cast his eye on them…this week they are flying through CyberSpace to Barbados as he’s on holiday, but that doesn’t stop Mark Pearson wanting to see me improve!
  • again, I will do some Trackman tests where I do another 10-shot challenge with distances from 130-220yds being selected randomly, I work hard to keep full routines and focus on each shot and, like the wedge game, keep pushing to beat my PB!
  • then some driver work, we call it the ‘DD’ session, Driver Development; generally, I drive the ball well, but we are forever pushing to get it better and hit it longer!! So, I check my numbers, videos and keep pushing for a more positive Angle of Attack and a more inside path, again with some competitive testing at the end of the DD session.
  • from there I head back up the range to finish with some technical putting work on the Visio template and a few more competitive games that Mark and I have developed which are relevant to me and my performance on the course in tournament play!

So, that’s what my mornings looked like most of the week, plus a couple of evening short game sessions when it has also cooled down around 7.30pm.

As I mentioned, I had hopes of getting into the Matchplay event but knew it could be a last-minute thing…it wasn’t confirmed until Friday but I had a good idea after the World Golf Championship, as I then went down to 1st reserve; knowing that the winner of the PGA wouldn’t be flying back to Germany I knew the spot held back from that event would go back to the field and I would be in.

And in the end, I got in before that, with Daniel Im behind me in the list getting the last spot into the event!

So, what a bonus, I’m buzzing to play what feels like a bonus event and one I wasn’t sure about playing in, plus an event where only 64 compete and it’s straight Matchplay – it should be fun!

Bring on the challenge!!!!!!!!

The #CharityBall Red Carpet Photos!

Below are all the Red Carpet Photos from The #CharityBall, please click to enlarge and then save/edit/crop which images you would like to keep… hopefully we got you smiling! :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The #CharityBall raises over £12,000!

The #CharityBall raises over £12,000!

Over 200 people descended on The Venue in Halifax on Friday night (4 August 2017) for a #CharityBall in support of Breast Cancer Now and the national charity, British Inclusive Golf (BIG).

Hosted by European Tour golf professional, Chris Hanson, his caddy Steve Tooby, and their respective wives, Laura and Tracey, the event attracted interest from across the country and beyond, with guests travelling from as far as London and monetary donations coming from the US.

Both charities were personally chosen by Chris, the first being Breast Cancer Now, a charity dedicated to funding research into the devastating disease, and secondly British Inclusive Golf, a charity for which he is the ambassador.

Chris was delighted with the event, “after all the guests were treated to a red carpet and photographer on arrival, the fantastic MC, Billy Wheadon, quickly set the tone for the evening – to have a lot of laughs whilst raising a huge amount of money – and we certainly did both!”

Money was raised through ticket sales, donations, a photo booth, vodka luge, casino tables, Trackman longest drive, silent and live auctions, and an incredible raffle.

Admiring the raffle collection, Steve Tooby said, “the display of raffle prizes was the best I have ever seen. A small committee spent the last six months recruiting a variety of things, including a holiday for ten to the South of France, bespoke golf clubs, hospitality tickets, pamper treatments – and more! We cannot thank everyone enough – from the many leading golf manufacturers, guests on the night, to businesses from around Yorkshire who dug deep and supported this event.”

Guest speakers during the evening included representatives from British Inclusive Golf who, emotionally, told first-hand the impact the charity has had on their personal lives and the positive effect it has had.

Delighted with the evening, BIG Chairman Kevin Booth said, “for the evening to raise a total of £12,330 is just astonishing. This will make life changing differences to many people in the coming years. We are forever grateful for the generosity of everyone involved.”

The JustGiving page will continue until 15 August, so it is not too late to offer your support – visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charityball for more information.

A looonnnggg Porsche Open!

So, after some time at home it was out to Hamburg, Germany, for what was set to be a wet week around one of Europe’s longest courses!

The plan was to get to the course Monday late afternoon for some practice, but with another delayed EasyJet flight those plans were soon out the window, especially when it was torrential rain when landing too!!

This week my good mate Adam Walker was out to support me for the week, and also steal as much free stuff as he could from the manufacturers – standard protocol!! He even had Steve collecting him as many Porsche tee pegs as possible!!

We also wanted plenty of extra raffle prizes for The #CharityBall, so expect to see plenty of TaylorMade and Srixon goodies Friday night for those of you attending!

So Tuesday it was time to see the course and with bad weather forecast we headed out sooner than we would have liked, and that didn’t stop us getting soaked!!! The forecast was right, we were going to get it this week, and all week!!!!

You always have to see the course, and practice rounds are essential, but sometimes they’re brutal and not always the best way to judge how a course will play…you play off the back of the back tees, and the pins are on slopes they will never use, so it’s always pretty tricky!!

Then throughout the tournament the tees mostly creep forward, so you may lose probably 10 yards off every hole by Sunday…but here was slightly different…with the length of the course, the casual water on the fairways, the strong winds and the design of the course, we actually had some tees moved up by 50 yards and on average over the 18 holes it was probably playing 30 yards shorter per hole than the card suggested!!

And it still played loooooonnnngggg!!!

As I said, the weather was shocking all week: wind, rain like you’ve never seen before, and lightning!! Such a shame for the sponsors, and it must have been sickening for the ground staff…they prepare the course for months to showcase their work and then spend all week draining greens and fairways.

But they did an amazing job and the greens held up so well!

My prep was good Tuesday/Wednesday and I felt quietly confident about the week, driving it well was key and I did all week. I’ve got some good thoughts/self-talk going on over the ball, it’s no secret.

“Just smash it!”

The first two rounds went nicely enough and after a few delays I managed to shoot 70, 72 for a -2 total to make the cut and that left me in around 55th position!

Weekend work is the first hurdle and that always gives you an opportunity to climb the board…another 70 (-2) moved me up a little more to 30th, and then with a U-draw two tee start on Sunday that meant I was nearly out first at 7.40am!

They did this with the expected thunder storms coming in throughout the day and it gave the Tour a chance of completing 72 holes!

So, a 4.30am alarm to get up to the course for breakfast, complete my warm up and have some treatment on my knee.

I had a slight issue with it about six weeks back, and it flared up again this week and I had treatment every day, had it taped up and used a regular dose of painkillers. It doesn’t hurt in my swing, just in general day to day movement! The guys on the truck did a fantastic job looking after me, as they always do, and now I have two maybe three weeks to get it sorted and ready for the next event!

So round 4 got off to a flyer!! Birdie, birdie, birdie!

I was off and running and moving up the board, with a 15ft birdie putt on the fourth I had the momentum, but then the klaxon stopped me in my tracks and we were off the course for two hours with electricity in the air!

After breakfast number two was polished off, we got back out and had a fun battle with the wind for the remaining holes. I played solid, made a few mistakes but always bounced back with some good birdies!

I missed a great chance on the 18th for birdie but signed off with another 70 (-2) and another jump up the board to finish the tournament T19th and move up the Race to Dubai to 89th!

A positive week all round with all areas of my game improving, it wouldn’t have taken many more putts to drop to be in contention this week, so that’s pleasing!

Again thanks to Adam for the support this week, and also Andrew Taylor (son of Stromberg’s Rodney Taylor) and family for driving from their home in Germany to cheer me on in the final round!

Upcoming schedule…

Firstly, it’s The #CharityBall on Friday 4 August, so please do get in touch if  you fancy a fun night out, or would like to support the chosen charities in any way!

Then for me, it’s fingers crossed I get into the Paul Lawrie Matchplay, 64 players, straight match play, and currently I’m around 10th reserve! It’s a chance, but it could be last minute…

Then from there it’s Denmark, Prague, Switzerland, Holland! #GameOn

Apologies – New BLOG finally out!

Firstly, apologies for such a delay in my latest blog, but I’m not going to lie, after feeling so good Thursday night it then felt pretty crap finding time to write about shooting 79 on the Friday and trying to make it sound interesting for you guys!!

People say “you’re only as good as your last round”, but I’m going to tweak that statement and say “you’re only as good as your last hole”, where of course I made birdie – so I can move onto the next event feeling good – ha ha!!

But I do have to thank everyone for the support again throughout the Scottish Open, to have the Appleyards, Blakeleys, Fairburns and of course my close family up there was great, just a shame you couldn’t cheer me on over the weekend…but that was my fault not yours!

So, a week in Huddersfield, lots of catching up to do with family and friends and, of course, some practice and fitness work!

Tuesday I had a great day out with my sponsor David (DPPublicity) and some friends – Peter and Gareth – at Ganton. It’s always nice to play one of the best courses in the country and take the money!!

Thursday I had a four-hour session with my coach Mark at Oulton Hall, and it was probably one of the best sessions I’ve had in a long time and felt like I was only there for an hour.

We worked through the bag, ticked some boxes and made sure I had a solid plan in place for the next week covering all aspects of my game. From there I headed up the road to meet Rachel Tibbs, my fitness trainer, for some testing and put a new programme together…it was also great to see I hadn’t gone backwards too much after a few weeks of illness!

Then to finish the week off I was over to Pannal on Sunday for a game with my coach Mark, John and good friend Jason Wood – what a top day out, I’d not played Pannal for years so it was great to be back, and to see Woody hole his 6 iron on the 17th was a great end to the round!! Thanks guys!

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So back on Tour this week in Germany at the Porsche Open, a new course for me this year in Hamburg but I believe the Tour have ventured here before and it’s meant to be a cracker!!

Also, Adam Walker is out with me this week for some support which is great, I’m sure we will get to test drive a few cars, and of course fit a bit of practice in!

On another note, I just want to say how overwhelmed I am by the support for the #CharityBall we are hosting on 4th August!

The plans for the day are going really well, and with so many fun events planned for the evening it’s going to be a night not to miss!

We really hope to raise plenty of money for both chosen charities, Breast Cancer Now and British Inclusive Golf, and if you’re still interested in attending the evening please do get in touch as there is only limited space left.

Also a huge thank you for the many wonderful donations on the JustGiving page from people who can’t attend the evening but wanted to support the night in any way possible; we have already passed £2,000 on there with over a week to go!

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charityballball

As I’ve mentioned, on the evening there will be lots going on, with plenty of activities for people to get involved in, and I’m sure some will get pretty competitive too… also, like most Charity events, there is an auction with some cool things up for grabs.

With this in mind I wanted to give everyone the chance to bid for the items, not just people on the night, and with silent bids already in for the signed Tommy Fleetwood US OPEN putter cover, one of the fitted boilers, and one of the Taylormade Tour bags, it seemed a good idea.

So please check out the information below and get in touch if anything catches your eye or you have any more questions.

Look forward to seeing many of you on the night!

Route 66 at Irish Open!

After some positive signs in France I was really excited to tee it up again in the next Rolex Series event – The DDF Irish Open, hosted by The Rory Foundation.

This year it was at Portstewart, just down the road from the soon-to-be Open venue of Portrush.

I’d heard great things, especially about the front nine and how spectacular it is, and also how great the local area is with their love for the game!

Whenever you play in the UK, the fans are world class, they appreciate good golf and cheer anyone from any country, it’s great fun!!

So last week was no different – nearly 100k came through the gates Thursday-Sunday and seeing them lining the fairways and perched up high on the huge sand dunes was an amazing sight!

And I also had my own amazing support team around for the week…. #TeamHanson was out in force!

Laura and the girls were back on the road for Ireland and are with me this week in Scotland!

Then my Mum, Geoff and Pat Newton, Super Sue Kaye, Doreen Sutcliffe, Nancy Lightowlers, and Michelle and Tony Booth flew out Wednesday to cheer me on!

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Also, my good friends David and Julie Murray, from an hour down the road at Galgorm, were up to support for a few days, and David actually sorted out a house for us for the week, which we rented in Portstewart, which was perfect – we can’t thank him enough!!

I’ve known David now for over six years and he’s been a true supporter; he actually took one of my fave pictures of all time when I won on the Europro Tour at Galgorm in 2011!

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I was really looking forward to playing the Irish Open. As I’ve mentioned, I believe in my process and can see many signs of my game going in the right direction.

But just staying patient is tough!

But Wednesday afternoon I signed off on all my practice and was ready for round one the following morning, all was going to plan!!

Or so I thought…2am Laura was up sick, 3am Jessica was up sick, and Jess then continued every half an hour to visit the toilet…

I ended up sleeping next to Olivia and after a pretty disturbed sleep I was up at 5.30am to get to the course for breakfast!

So, to keep my focus, play pretty good despite no sleep, I was pleased to shoot 70 (-2) with only one blemish on the card down 17.

I then had the perfect time for round 2 (2pm), so sleep was needed. In bed by 8.30pm, I got some hours back and felt fine in round two. Again, I posted 70 (-2) for a total of -4 which in the end only sneaked inside the cut line by 1 shot!

As ever, it was a pretty tough school and I was happy to be around for some more homework over the weekend!!

Saturday morning, I was up at the club for 5.30am…second group out!

After a decent breakfast, I soon started to feel like it wasn’t digesting! I didn’t eat anything during the round and that is not like me at all!

After a double bogey, bogey finish for level par, I soon went off to see the kids in crèche to take my mind off it…

But I hadn’t been there long when I had to make a dash, it was daddy’s turn…now I was sick!! I headed straight back to the house, got to bed at 2.30pm Saturday afternoon and, bar an hour wake up, I slept through till my 5.30am alarm Sunday morning! (14 hours sleep)

I felt rough Sunday morning, managed to eat some breakfast but then didn’t eat for the whole round. After a few huffs and puffs I got the first few holes out of the way… then it’s amazing how some decent shots start to make you feel better!!

Maybe that’s what the doctors should prescribe!!

Climbing the leaderboard in events is always key, but in the Rolex Series they are huge, every shot could be massive OOM points!

Through 8 holes I made 8 pars…

Then Laura turned up – she had dropped the children off in crèche and come out to join #TeamHanson in support!

I was under pressure now: no sulking, look like I was enjoying myself whilst not making birdies and not shout and swear…I’m sure you all know how tough that is!

Somehow Laura brought some luck; I made 6 birdies in my last 10 holes and also managed some revenge on the 17th, making birdie there too!

I really played good and that shot me up the board to 21st when I had finished…but in the end I happily had to settle for T36th, which was great as I had started the day around 60th, and had just quadrupled my OOM points tally from the position I started the day at!!!!

A great morning, and happy Chris, as always a happy Steve, and a super happy #TeamHanson!!!

That was a prime example of a patient round of golf and one that I knew was coming sometime soon!!

So, some more progress made, but that’s all forgotten now as a fresh week starts again at the Scottish Open, time to prepare for the next challenge and embrace it all!!!!

Oh – and smile!!!

Again, a huge thanks to everyone who came to support during the week!!!

Weekend Golf at The French Open!

I knew my game was slowly getting better, but it can be a fine line between playing well and scoring well!

Maybe a bit of confidence is the only difference…

But finding that can be tough; it would be nice if you could just buy it by the bucket load! I’ve worked hard over this period of missed cuts so the frustrations have been high when it’s been feeling closer and closer, but I’ve stuck to my plan!

Again, last week my preparation was first class, I feel it always is, that’s something my team and I pride ourselves on, we give it 100%.

I had Mark’s (Coach) watchful eye there too, which always helps.

 

This run of three events on the Tour is huge, the prize funds The Rolex Series offer are staggering, so it’s an amazing opportunity to boost your OOM standings!

The course at Le Golf National is out of this world, could well be the toughest all year, but it’s 100% the fairest!

It’s also hosting the Ryder Cup in 2018 and for every possible reason it will be an incredible venue!!!!

Every hole has its own amphitheatre feel to it, and there are so many risk and reward holes which for matchplay will be very entertaining!

I really do love this place, and enjoy the challenge it presents, even if you do want to pull your hair out coming down the last few holes when the wind is up!!! It’s tough!!

I played nicely for the first two rounds, but a few slips of concentration cost me!!

In round one I shot 72 (+1) but, as I’ve said, I knew my game was in a good place…day two we were nearly last out off the 10th, and I got off to a lovely start – birdies on 11 and 12.

I then made a nice birdie down 15!

Again, a few mistakes coming home, but a good couple of up and downs on 7 and 8 kept me inside the cut line!

I had one hole to go to get the ‘cut monkey’ off my back…a decent drive, a crap lay up, I then hacked it towards the green to see it plug in the face of the trap…

Once I saw where the ball actually was I didn’t think I could get it out… it was ‘hit and hope’ and thankfully with some brute force it came out, went forwards and left me a two putt from 18ft to make the cut safely in the end!!!!

I’m not going to lie, there was a sense of relief!!!

So, weekend golf, and a pay day of some sort to look forward to…and maybe a little less piss taking from a few mates who claim they play more weekend golf than I do!! Ha-ha, Ben!!

With the depth of the prize fund it meant that a weekend move up the leaderboard would be very fruitful…so Saturday’s plan was to climb as much as possible!

 

The weather was shocking – it wasn’t the worst weather I have played in but combined with the strength of the course it could well have been one of the toughest days on a golf course in a long time.

So to start the way I did and then finish the way I did was a sickener!

Four under through 8 holes I hadn’t missed a shot, I was flying and already extremely wet through!

The rain was in and out and at times unplayable, I then stood on the 15th tee and really didn’t know what to do…

It was coming down sideways, and it had got cold with the wind too!

The round got away from me there with a visit to the water, double bogey, bogey, par, triple bogey to fall back to plus four for the round, and then even a warm lunch didn’t make me feel any better!

Round 4 was a fresh start and another chance to try climb up the board…’points mean prizes’ and every penny could make the difference come the end of the year.

I played lovely, couldn’t buy a putt, and in the end shot 73 (+2) but there was so much to take from this round and it left me extremely excited with what’s around the corner, whichever corner that may be!!

 

On to Ireland we go!

A huge thank you this last week has to go to Steve (Caddy) for his efforts. I think he magically creates an extra two arms when it rains, as the demand I put on him when it’s wet is massive and he deals with it fantastically well!

Also for the support I had this week from Cathy and Jim Baxter and Steve and Sheila Selbie (Selbie Opticians) for cheering us along from the sidelines and entertaining us on an evening!

Amazing support and great to have them with us for the week!

Massive thanks!!

Process, process, process! NEW Blog – Germany

Another week off flew by and it was back to Germany once again for the BMW Open, which this year would be played in Munich.

The week at home was great, some nice time with the family, and a first to actually spend Father’s Day with the kids! On top of that I had some solid practice days and kept building on the areas that needed the most attention!!

Like most jobs, and plenty of golfers, we all have times when the game/work feels tough, doesn’t go to ‘plan’ and you feel like you’re not getting your rub of the green.

But the most important thing is how you react to those times!

I’m my biggest critic; I feel I’m pretty honest with my own assessments and never hide away from advice or views from the people in my team who I trust!!

So, I feel I have a great plan and process in place to hit the middle of the season strong!!

But social media really does make me laugh sometimes, some of the comments and little gems of knowledge you receive from people who think they know the ‘answer’, and many times from people who have never played the course or never even met me.

I don’t know how people like Rory, Willet, Poulter and many more of the players in the social media spot light deal with it.

“You’re making too many bogeys” – sorry, never noticed…

“Your par 5 stats are poor” – have you played them?

“You need a new coach/caddy” – why? It was me who hit it…

“Why did you make 7 on that easy hole?” – did you realise it was a 30mph wind and raining?

“You need to make cuts, Chris!” – really?

“Why did you hit driver in the trees?” – Wasn’t trying to…

“If you’d made par there you would not have missed the cut” – good maths…

I’m not trying to sound like an idiot here, but sometimes people really don’t think before they tweet!

As golfers, we all try hard, at the time you do things for what you feel is the right reason, as I would like to think everyone does…but we are humans not machines and we make mistakes…that’s golf, that’s life!

In fact, I bet even machines would make mistakes if they were to play golf!

It’s like you’re not allowed to play bad – Rory got so much criticism for missing the cut at The US Open…golf is hard!!!!

Steve Elkington even claimed he’s bored with golf, he’s won enough money so isn’t interested! That’s laughable!!!

I think also people forget that there is more to a player’s life than golf, and you rarely see what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’.

All I can say to you guys is I give it 100% every time! And maybe that’s why the frustrations feel worse at times, hence this bitter last few paragraphs….

I had a good group for the first two rounds, Lee Slattery and Nino Bertasio, both great guys, chatty, good attitudes and very professional! They both had good caddies too, so it was always going to be a fun round, and that sometimes can make a huge difference.

We all played ok in parts but made a few silly mistakes between us. I shot 71 (-1), Lee 72 (lvl) and Nino 70 (-2).

I saw a lot of improvements in my game from over the last few events and felt really comfortable on the greens, which is always a nice feeling.

I can also safely say it’s the most enjoyable round of golf I’ve had in 6 weeks, it just felt better. I probably smiled more in one round than I have in the last six weeks on a golf course too.

Round two started poorly on the 10th, I missed a short putt, then down the next all three of us hit it in the water off the tee.

We could see my ball, actually thought it was semi playable and at one point I had my shoes and socks off. I didn’t go through with it, but that didn’t stop Steve trudging through the water with his trainers on to double check if it was my ball!

We then had 16 holes of trench foot and squelching shoes!! Daft bugger, but as ever he took one for the team!!

I made a solid birdie down the next, and another on the 17th. I really should have entered the two’s club again as I would have been in serious credit this year!!!!

I was playing nicely enough, a perfect birdie down 1 and I was back inside the cut line!!

I felt in control and I actually felt I had it this week! But as I’ve mentioned before, that’s when golf bites you in the a**e the most!!

Bogey, bogey, bogey and it wasn’t to be! A sad way to finish off but plenty signs of promise!!

If there is a good thing to take from this poor run of results, it’s that the good stuff will feel even sweeter when it comes!!

I can’t wait!!

So, after a day of practice Saturday, Sunday was then a travel day to Paris and a week I am really looking forward to!

Paris National is an amazing course and will be a great Ryder Cup course when they host it next year!!

I’ve been going through the course in my head from last year; there are 18 challenging holes where good shots are rewarded but anything wayward and it’s seriously tough!

 

UPDATE: The #CharityBall (4th August)

I just wanted to share the link with you for our JustGiving page which so far has raised £1150.00 towards our £15k target, and that’s before what we raise on the evening!

Not a bad start!!

We are also looking to create the biggest and best raffle anyone has ever seen so people on the night really dig deep as already there are so many prizes you will want to win….

If this is something you think you maybe able to help with that would be fantastic.

Thanks as ever for your continued support

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thecharityball

Caddies on Tour – Austria Blog!

Another week, another country and another golf course…there is no hiding from the fact that things aren’t currently going to plan! But it’s not for the lack of trying…can you try too hard?

Golf is a very frustrating game, it’s very fine margins…one shot here, one shot there, you can lose momentum so quickly and sometimes it’s tough to get it back.

But last week in Austria I did feel like I had turned a corner; my practice Tuesday had gone really well, I felt I was starting to hit some better shots, and the videos I had been sending to my coach looked a lot better.

Also, I was requested to play the pro-am, and that was perfect timing, it was a chance to test my swing in a semi pressured environment.

I drove the ball well, hit some good irons and felt to roll it nicely. I have fond memories of the Diamond Club, finishing top ten last year, so felt I knew my way round quite well.

The only difference this year was that the course dried out fast and got firmer and firmer…fast running fairways and bouncy greens, a combination which meant you had to play well and control your ball.

Round one I was pretty solid, I got off to a nice start and was a couple under after 4 holes, then it all fell apart on the tricky 7th…my tee shot found the fairway trap and from there I hit two into the water short of the green; in the end, I made a decent up and down for an 8 (+4).

Have I mentioned momentum at all? It had well and truly gone!!

A good birdie on 9 kept me upbeat and in the end I finished +1 which, with an 8, was respectable and around the cut mark.

So, after some practice, I headed back to the hotel and out for tea for one of my favourite meals – good old-fashioned Schnitzel, potatoes and cranberry sauce!

This week I was staying just out of town in a hotel recommended by the caddies. It’s quite a refreshing change staying where the caddies stay and normally nice and cheap. I would say I have a good balance with what I do, sometimes in the players’ hotel, sometimes on my own, and whenever possible with the family.

But it’s great to go out with the caddies – you hear some fantastic stories about some of the game’s greats, some hilarious stories about their own journeys around the world, but also you hear their perspective on the game and what they think of many players from a caddie’s point of view.

Who’s disliked, who to avoid, who pays good, who pays bad, who they think are great players etc etc….

Like my coach Mark talks about, caddies also see things with ‘hindsight’…and they don’t have the emotion attached to shots that players have…if they don’t know the player well they just see the shot as the shot.

“It’s 158 yards, hit it at that tree” – simple…or so it should be but as players you are wired slightly differently and see danger in a different light to them.

Finding a good caddy is tough (don’t worry Steve, you’re in the good bracket) and some players really struggle. It’s very easy for a caddie to get the blame and normally they are the first one to get the bullet.

I know one player who has had at least 10 caddies this year; that can’t be good for your game but maybe he’s looking for that ‘super caddie’ to transform his game.

Caddies lose jobs every week, and there seem to be little milestones throughout the year when there is a big shuffle, such as around Wentworth, and definitely in the next few weeks before the big money Rolex events start.

Nobody wants to miss out on playing these events and of course that’s understandable, but I’m sure there will be texts flying around all over the place offering their caddy services to certain players.

Caddies are a huge part of the Tour, they are mandatory, they aren’t allowed to use trolleys (bag weighs 20/30kg), and from a player’s perspective they make life a lot easier, though some would disagree I’m sure!!

My only gripe for them is that sometimes they seem to be ‘mistreated’ or don’t get enough respect for what they bring to the tournament – like I said, they are mandatory and a key part of the event each week. Players ALWAYS get full hospitality, food, drinks, comfort all week, it’s fantastic…but for caddies this sometimes is a privilege, some weeks they get nothing or just food on tournament days.

I know this is down to the sponsors/promotors, as it’s an expense for them, but if something was to change I think it would be great for them to get the same privileges as the players, families, managers etc.

Luckiest caddy on Tour... best boss and gets paid a fortune ;-)

Luckiest caddy on Tour… best boss and gets paid a fortune ;-)

SOME FLASH BACK PHOTOS FROM MY JOURNEY WITH STEVE!!!!

So back to my golf…

Round 2 the wind was up, easily a two-club wind and it had dried the course out, it was tough! I felt it was one of the toughest tests of the year, there were a lot of demanding shots and you had to get your ball in position to stand any chance of making birdies.

After 18 holes I made none, and signed for an 80!

My worst score of the year and it didn’t actually feel I had played that bad, it just got away from me very quickly!!

I actually joked to Steve on the last that I had to make birdie to break 80 or someone was getting sacked – his reply was priceless…

“But I really like working for you and don’t want to have to sack you”.

So, another early bath, but this time it wasn’t a weekend on ‘misery hill’, I was flying back to Manchester for a day’s practice at Woodsome, and then the following morning in Leeds with my coach before flying back to Spain to see the girls!!

Onto the next one we go…

Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland!

The Nordea Masters

So, the week started early due, sadly, to missing the cut at Wentworth, but I stayed around to practise on Saturday and then headed down to Walton Heath Sunday to see the course prior to US Open Qualifying Monday morning.

With it being 36 holes Monday I didn’t want to do too much Sunday, so I walked the Old Course with a wedge and putter, and then after lunch set out to walk the New Course.

After three holes, a rain storm brought us in and we called it a day, deciding to play the New Course ‘blind’ the following day.

I had decent tee times in the second to last group, so no need to set that ‘killer’ alarm clock! “Phew”

The courses were great – heathland, loads of heather like Crosland Heath, and decent greens, it was going to be fun!

Starting on the New course I missed two chances early on, made a poor bogey on the 3rd and battled around, finally pulling the shot back along with another getting to -1!

A crap bogey around the turn but a perfect eagle on 14 saw me finish -2 for round one!

It’s pretty much all or nothing in these events, and especially with the heavy rain Sunday night it made the course a lot easier, so we expected the qualifying score to be at the least -8!

I think through 9 holes I was level par, and the clouds were getting darker, I joked to my playing partner “if it rains are we going in?”

And from that moment I went birdie, birdie, eagle and all of a sudden, I was -6… the challenge was still on!

We got on to 16 and didn’t even realise it was a par five… I hit driver, 7 iron onto the green, and walked off with birdie to get to -7….

Birdie, birdie finish maybe?? Sorry, not this time sports fans, as a bogey on the tough 17th soon stopped the dream!

But over all a positive day, the best I had driven the ball all year, I just didn’t get my share on the greens or that’s how it felt!

So, a long day Monday, time for the third hotel in three nights and back up to Heathrow airport to get some sleep before that ‘killer’ alarm I mentioned and a 6.30am flight to Copenhagen!

It was Sweden (Malmo) this week for the Nordea Masters but we actually flew to Copenhagen in Denmark and had courtesy cars across the bridge and straight to the course, again a fantastic service from the Tour and Promoter!

A bit of practice, then out on the course for a practice round… 7700+ yards this week, so a long battle and after some rain and strong winds it soon became longer and longer!

It’s a great track, mostly through the woods, but then out to sea for 4 holes down the coast!!

Rooming with Sam Walker and Marcus Armitage in an apartment this week, we headed out for dinner then got back and hit the pillow.

Wednesday was planned to be the normal preparation day, but after shocking winds all day and being bitterly cold, there wasn’t much practice anyone could do.

I got a nice surprise Tuesday, though, Laura’s mum and dad are out with the family in Spain and suggested that she came out to Sweden to watch, so she did, her parents looked after the children and Laura flew into Malmo Wednesday afternoon.

So back on the 1st tee again Thursday afternoon, and after 8 holes it wasn’t the start I was after (+3). It was playing pretty tricky for everyone; the scoring wasn’t great and I stuck at it… I then made 4 birdies in five holes and got to -1, which also moved me inside the top 20.

I had some momentum and some confidence back, but as most of you know as golfers, that’s when this game bites you in the a**e the most!

Double bogey, bogey, par, bogey, par finish to fall straight back to plus 3 and back down the leaderboard to where I was after nine holes!

All that bloody hard work and let it go, very frustrating!

Day two I played much better overall but couldn’t buy a birdie! I shot 74 (+1) to miss the cut by three shots!

Again, a tough week to take – the only saving grace was that after a full day of practice Saturday to put a few things right over videos with Mark, we then managed to fly back to Spain to see the children!

Now that felt good, I’ve not seen them for nearly three weeks and I wasn’t supposed to be going back for another week, so it was a big surprise for them when they woke up Sunday morning and daddy was home for two days before flying back out to Austria!!!!!!

I can’t wait!!

It is the dream job, and I’m very lucky to do what I do, but I’m looking forward to being a dad for at least 36 hours and forgetting where the clubs are!