Author Archives: Chris Hanson

The Italian Open

After a disappointing Dunhill Links, it was nice to know I would be jetting off back to a course where last year I had some success! Golf Club Milano in Monza for the Italian Open and another cash-filled Rolex Trophy event at an extremely important time in the schedule!!

It was make or break week for many players, and a very clutch time for me too!! Lots of guys needing huge weeks to keep their playing rights for next year and with tenth place paying around €100,000, it was the week to do it!

And if I quickly flash ahead to Sunday, plenty guys did it…Gregory Havret on the brink of losing his card for the first time in probably 20 years secured it with a €65k cheque.

Max Kieffer needed to perform and did!! Matt Wallace needing a huge week to improve his category and did, winning €297k

Also Marcus Fraser who has struggled all season banked €251k and wrapped up his top 100 spot!!! Impressive stuff, and as they say in the sporting world, it takes some big balls to do that, well done guys!

My week ended up being pretty frustrating; I felt after Wednesday I had got my game in a good place and Thursday played very nicely. My approach play was world class.

Rounds of 68, 70 (-4) only saw me scrape through to the weekend on the mark as the scoring was good, and with Soomin Lee making birdie on 18 he knocked everybody on -3 out for the weekend and, from a selfish point of view, nicely reduced the cut to 65 players, which is the perfect number!

Had Soomin made par, the cut would have stayed at -3, an extra 18 guys would have made the cut and then with the new rule, that would have meant a round three cut and a watered down prize fund!

So, with the money on offer this week it was definitely the weekend to shoot two 65s.

I got it to a couple under in round three through 7 holes but too many stupid mistakes and very poor mental attitude cost me and level par wasn’t the round I was after!!!!!

It certainly wasn’t the weekend to waste shots, I was determined to make up for it in the final round. I have wasted too many opportunities this year and need to improve on this to be a much better player!!

So how did round four go? After that last paragraph it should have started well but it didn’t!!! The difference from playing early compared to after lunch was massive, by midday people were going for the first green in two with irons…at 8.30am it was cold, misty and you couldn’t get near the green in two.

I hit a decent drive, a good lay-up, then wedged it to 12ft – sounds good? It does until I three putted giving a shot away on the first!!!!!! What an absolute idiot, to put it politely!

An 8 iron to 6ft on the second and a 6 iron to 5ft on the third meant I bounced back strong and after a few more good approach shots I ended up shooting 68 (-3).

Relatively happy with my round, I hoped to climb a few places, but with everyone making birdies everywhere I only grabbed two extra places and moved up to 50th.

My Rolex series performances haven’t been great, but it was still a much needed €23k on the OOM…there are not many weeks you win a cheque like that and move down in the Race to Dubai (93rd)!

So, with one counting event left in Spain before the ‘end of the season’, it’s important I stay focused, I have goals I still want to achieve and pushing for a place in Turkey is high on the list!

It’s a field size of 78, and with many players who may choose not to play it could fall further down the list, so let’s fight for every penny at Valderrama and see where we are Sunday night!!!

On another note, I must say a huge thank you to Phil Shaw (Woodsome) for his amazing support this week in Italy. Phil enjoyed his trip to Prague last year so much he wanted to support me at another event. This week he cheered me along for 72 holes, joined me for dinner all week, and we had a great time, first class company!!

Then Friday, extra support appeared, Richard Sykes (Woodsome) was out with work in Milan and joined Phil on the sidelines to cheer me along!!

I can’t thank you guys enough for the support, hope you had a great time!!!

British Masters & Dunhill Links!

THE BRITISH MASTERS @ CLOSE HOUSE

After flying in from Spain on the Monday morning (25 Sep), it was great to spend a bit of time with family and friends before heading up the A1 for my first British Masters.

I arrived at the hotel late that evening, unpacked, ironed a few bits, and got to sleep ready for an early start Tuesday for some practice before my coach Mark arrived to join us for a practice round.

I’d heard the course was quirky from when the Europro played there earlier in the year. I’d also heard from a few players that it wasn’t great…but in May for the Europro it was firm and bouncy!!

But I would guess most of those views are because it’s not your ‘standard’ sort of European Tour course…so on arriving at Close House I was very impressed! Driving in you see the elevation changes straightaway, but with well-defined fairways lined with wispy long US Open grass, I thought on the eye it looked great!!

You then follow the road down to the clubhouse and hotel which felt like a good half a mile…and on arriving at the clubhouse the Geordie welcome was fantastic!

Super friendly, a beautiful clubhouse and I just felt there was so much pride in hosting this event! The staff couldn’t do enough for you!!

As the week went on, the atmosphere started to build. A through road split the 18th green, 1st tee, 4th green, 5th and 12th tee and along the wall there the crowds lined up to watch the golf unfold.

It really was a great viewing area; from there you weren’t far from the 6th tee, 11th green and the driving range, it was hustle and bustle all the time, and the friendliness of the fans spread throughout the crowds!


For me personally it was pretty special too. Only being two hours from home meant plenty of people came up to watch – friends, family, Woodsome and Crosland Heath members, plus many others from Yorkshire and afar who I’ve met along my journey to the European Tour – it was great to see you in the crowd!!

Playing with Poulter on the Saturday, everyone kept shouting his name, but he didn’t know any of them. I knew every time someone shouted my name I had to look as I knew them, and really wanted to say hi too! That was special!!

The week for me started nicely, my preparation had been good and from the games I did in practice I knew my game was in good shape.

First round I ripped it up one, missed my birdie chance but then birdied the next three holes! Apart from a three putt from 55ft on the 8th, I played the first 9 holes perfectly making 6 birdies!

A couple more on the back nine and I happily signed for 6 under!!
Throughout the week I played solid, managed my game really well, and felt very comfortable in my first British Masters!

After a 3 under round two, that put me in a tie for second and brought a TV fixture for day three with Poulter!

You hear mixed rumours from caddies, players, and people in the golf world about Ian, but I’ve always had full admiration for what he’s achieved in the game. The guy is a serial winner and a Ryder Cup legend – who cares if he tweets about his Ferrari collection? He has earned it and it certainly hasn’t just been handed to him!!

I’ve always been fascinated with the insight into his life on Twitter, and also many other players and sportsmen/women, that’s why I love Twitter so much!

Anyway, in typical Hanson fashion, I probed him throughout the round with questions, and certainly learnt from his game how to manage certain situations.

I also felt I had a first-hand example of ‘player power’ when he called the ref for a ruling on the back of 8. A wet, boggy lie on the fringe but no casual water . . .

On the ref arriving, Ian’s words in a stern voice were something along the lines of “Hi Ref, this is GUR isn’t it” and the ref obliged allowing a drop in Ian’s favour.

I had a similar incident in Crans this year where I was in a faded white line, shocking area of grass which we felt should still have been GUR. On politely asking the ref what he thought, I got a firm “NO, just play it how it lies”.

Maybe a sterner presentation from me would have got the desired drop…who knows!?


So, in round three I shot 69 (-1) to stay in the mix and get the three ball pairing of Fitzpatrick and Lowry for Sunday.

Two great guys and very enjoyable company! I started the round hot: birdie birdie out of the blocks and into the lead. I played some good stuff throughout the day but unfortunately dropped a few shots down the back nine which meant I finished the tournament in T11th.

But what a great week, and some very needed Euros on the OOM at such an important time of the year! I was happy, #TeamHanson was happy, and the drive up to Scotland that night was a fun one!!!!

Beep, ting, vibrate, the phone was non-stop and the hundreds of messages of support flooded in as ever. It is truly amazing and extremely overwhelming the support I receive each week!!

So again, thanks from everyone at #TeamHanson, hope you’re enjoying the journey!

Also a huge thanks and congratulations must go to Lee Westwood for hosting the event. I can’t imagine what commitments he must have had throughout the week, and then to play as well as he did just shows what a professional he is!!!!!

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ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS @ THE HOME OF GOLF

So straight from Newcastle and three hours up the road to St Andrews for the next event! Laura and the girls flew in to Newcastle on the Thursday morning (28 Sep), and they were with me again for the Dunhill Links, which was great!

We also stayed in the official hotel, which we very rarely do due to the expense, but the crèche was in the hotel this week and not at the course as it usually is (due to there being three courses in play). So it was just really handy to be on site and fantastic for the kids!

It’s a week I was really looking forward to. I had a few family members up too and we were all looking forward to meeting my amateur partner and good friend from last year, Art Moossmann and his wife Jacqueline.

We had both requested to play together and were quietly hopeful we would get to team up again. So on Tuesday night at the ‘draw’ party it was a huge disappointment not to get that privilege…there is never a guarantee you will, but with us both requesting we thought we might.

We wished each other luck, but still planned to meet up throughout the week as much as possible!


So after three days’ preparation around the three courses, I still felt my game was in good shape. We walked St Andrews and Kingbarns with just a wedge and putter to hopefully save some energy and on the Tuesday played Carnoustie, or Carnasty as some people like to call it.

It’s a long week, and the day you play Carnoustie you have to factor in the 6 hour rounds and the hour trip each way around the Dundee estuary.

I got drawn to play St Andrews Thursday; it’s a very special venue but certainly a course I haven’t got to grips with yet.

On arriving at the tee I met my new partner for the week, Nikesh Arora, we got on great throughout the week, but unfortunately for both of us we certainly weren’t firing on all cylinders.

We battled hard but links golf certainly beat us this year!!

And at times it truly did beat me hard! I’m not too sure why, but I seem to find it a lot harder than everyone else, or that’s honestly how it feels.

Firm turf, massive slow greens, huge amounts of run, cold winds and deadly pot bunkers!! I’m not embracing the challenge like I should and for me that’s strange, as put me on every other course and I’m a pretty patient player.

The wind for the week wasn’t the norm and we played the front nine at St Andrews into a very tough wind into and out of the left, I didn’t drive it well, struggled to commit to my lines and got myself out of position too many times!!

We then turned downwind on 9, I drove the green to 20 ft then three putted! Argh!! That summed up the day…

In the end I shot 74 (+2) then followed that up at Carnoustie the following day with a 73 (+1), which then left me a lot of work to do at Kingsbarns, needing 65 (-7) to make the cut!


Sorry to be negative but that probably wasn’t going to happen, but I sure wanted to give it a go!!

I started on 10, missed a good chance there, birdied 11, then bombed a drive down the 12th, a pretty straightforward but spectacular par 5. I went for the green with rescue but found the greenside trap. Up against the lip I had to give it a go – the ball popped up, hit the face, bounced back, then hit my club again…oh dear…a double bogey 7 and all of a sudden the day got a whole lot harder!

In the end, I signed for plenty and hung around near the bottom of the leaderboard; a tough and frustrating week, but as always a learning curve, to play with JB Holmes day one, and then former world number one Martin Kaymer day two, was interesting but then the highlight of the week was to meet and play with Wladimir Klitschko on day three.

What a legend he is, one of the most recognisable sporting champions in the world and possibly one of the nicest guys I’ve met!!! Extremely down to earth, so modest and a pleasure to talk to, and as ever in Hanson fashion I totally interrogated him about his boxing career!!

To learn more about professional sport, yourself and to become a better person/professional, you have to take these opportunities to question the greats in whichever sport they’re from!!

So, another Dunhill Links was over early and I’m sure if I’m back I will be better prepared!!

So it was time to say a tough goodbye to the girls and leave them at Edinburgh airport and head down to Huddersfield to get a Monday flight back out to Italy for the next event – the Rolex Series Italian Open, where I have fond memories from last year!

 

The KLM Open!

Weeks feel like they are flying by at the moment – that’s another run of four tournaments ticked off – but it’s great to take plenty of positives away from it all and, of course, add points to my OOM tally!!

In Denmark, my ball striking was world class, but a cold putter led to a missed cut by 1 shot; from there I went on to finish T14th, T37th, and finally T25th last week at the KLM Open.

And it was great to see the effort I’ve put in to my putting pay dividends and see my stats hugely improve, as I promised you all they would!

I had also set some short-term outcome goals to push towards over the previous 4 events:

• win €100,000
• be in contention
• push for top 250 in the world

I didn’t achieve them all, but I got myself in contention to win, I added approx €50,000 to the OOM, and raised my world ranking back up to 331

So, how did the KLM Open go last week?

I arrived with positive memories of a T8th finish last year; I like the course, hence the reason I chose to play this week, rather than Portugal next week which is my scheduled break.

But this year the course couldn’t have played more differently, and the forecast predicted it was going to be another very wet week which would surely affect the scoring.

Thursday morning, looking out of the hotel window, it looked pretty grim; scoring wasn’t great but at the top of the leaderboard players were still making birdies. I watched some of the coverage and the wind was in and out, and the rain was coming in showers then drying up.

It certainly changed in the afternoon. The first of the afternoon groups got it tough, they probably played 9 holes in wind and rain, which progressively got worse to the point where we then teed off and after two holes of fighting with umbrellas and debating with the referee, they called it off!

I haven’t played in rain and wind that bad for a while. I holed a good 10ft putt for par on 10, I then played the unreachable par 4 11th sensibly to 12ft for three, and then watched the wind make a mockery of the putting and I three putted my way to a double bogey!!!

Coming off the course then was the best possible decision. We got lucky to restart the following day and had pretty decent weather for 34 holes!

I parred 12 on the restart then birdied the next four holes making putts from 55ft, 16ft, 8ft and 18ft!! In the end, I shot 68 (-3) and followed that up in the afternoon with a level par 71 to cruise through the cut to enjoy some more weekend golf!!

Bad weather and delays sure make the weeks feel longer and longer, you miss the breaks and down time you normally get during a week, and they’re what keep you fresh for the whole tournament.

And this week I also had to find time to locate a dentist, with half a back tooth falling out in Crans last week, making it super sensitive and pretty painful. Thankfully I got it sorted Tuesday night in the local town, with some help from my manager Duncan!

After a slow start to Saturday’s round, I then made eagle on 6 to change the momentum for the day, it got me under the card and from there I played nicely, carding another round of 68 (-3) which also moved me up to T16th with a round to go.

I had some more #TeamHanson support out this week – Cathy and Jim Baxter cheered me along all the way, so it was lovely of them to join me for dinner Saturday night.

So, one last push and then home for a week to see the girls!!

Through 9 holes I was level par, and both my playing partners were -3. I was playing ok but nothing dropped, all of a sudden it feels even worse when they are pulling away from you!!!

I then went bogey bogey, so you can imagine how I felt!!!

I constantly remind myself that every shot counts, they all have the same importance, all you can do is stick to your process, try to hit good shots and hopefully hole some putts. Down 12 I did and it gave me a little lift!!

I then hit it close on the par 3 14th and birdied 15 after finding the par 5 green in two shots!

I parred in for 70 (-1) which felt ok – it dropped me down the board to T25th but I guess it’s another solid week and nice to shoot four rounds of level par or better.

I’ve now got a scheduled break and then it’s full steam ahead for the final four events: British Masters, Alfred Dunhill Links, Italian Open, and the Spanish Open!!

Four fantastic opportunities – I can’t wait to get stuck in!!!

Just WOW!! The Omega European Masters

The Omega European Masters is an event I have watched on TV for years, admired the views, and envied everyone who played there, but never thought I would get to play it myself!

So achieving the dream of getting my Tour card for 2016 I was so excited to tick this event off my bucket list…but to then end up 5th reserve meant I never got the chance to play and had to watch it on TV again!

So, this year I was even more excited to play and visit Crans Montana, knowing that I was going to get my bite at the cherry after keeping my card for the 2017 season!!

After flying to Geneva from a successful week in Prague, I then had one of the most beautiful 2-hour train rides – courtesy of Omega!!

The train gets you to the bottom of the mountain and then BMW get you to the top! This really is living the dream, they couldn’t make the journey any easier for us!

The climb to the top is breath taking, it plateaus every so often and you think you’re there but then climb again further up the mountain where the views get better and better – to the point where you’re in the clouds!

On Saturday night it actually snowed and it felt you were level with the snow topped mountains whilst playing, but due to the size of the mountains is was just misleading as to how big and far away they actually were!

And the crazy thing was you could keep climbing higher and higher up the mountain we were on!!

The village of Crans Montana has a similar feel to St Andrews…you walk off the golf course into the village, the bars, cafés, shops and the buzz around the place is amazing! Relaxed, classy and totally chilled out!

On arriving at the course I signed in and collected my player welcome gifts from Omega – some aftershave, a cigar and some chocolates!

Tuesday and Wednesday I had some friends arriving – Ben Johnson, Michelle and Tony Booth, and Lin and Mike Ockenden.

It’s fantastic to have some #TeamHanson support at the event and to have them cheering me along through the good and bad of each round is great!

Thanks guys!

It was also great to meet Ian Saxton and his friend who were in Crans for the week and supported me throughout my rounds!

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So I then had two full days to see the course, get used to the altitude and the difference that makes to the ball’s carry distance…and of course get my head around the spectacular views!!!!

Practice rounds can sometimes be tough, you have to play with the right people, it needs to be constructive and you don’t want to waste a minute!

At first I thought the course may be a bit too tricky, a bit fiddly and maybe even unfair…

But I soon changed my tune! It really was a good test! You had to shape the ball both ways, have full control over your shots and be super patient!!

Play well you can win, play poor you have no chance!! It was a fair course and I couldn’t wait to tee it up – I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The first two days I was paired with Anthony Wall and Dylan Frittelli, we all played steady for two days and all made the weekend, which was nice!!

For me, I was on the cut bubble with 7 holes to play and then made six 3’s in a row – four of them birdies – to cruise through the weekend level par cut on -3!!

I’ve played with Anthony a few times now, and the crazy thing is many of you probably haven’t heard much about his game, but to spend 20 years on the European Tour, win twice and bank €10 million is super impressive!

And I personally can vouch for him being one of the best players out there! You wouldn’t watch him on the range and think ‘wow’ like you would with Rory, DJ etc…

But that’s not real golf!! Real golf is scoring, not dropping shots, holing clutch putts, saving pars and making the easy birdies, and not hitting a shot till your 100% ready and committed – it doesn’t have to look as pretty as Rory can sometimes make it look!

Anthony does all the above and I sat down with him after round two to discuss his game! I learnt so much from him again, there were just stand out moments in his rounds which were world class and I can’t thank him enough for his time and the kind words he had on my own game too!!

I actually think that the conversation I had with him had immediate effect; the mindset and the lessons learned from those two days, plus having some great chats with my mind coach Iain Highfield, really rubbed off on me for the weekend!

I struggled off the tee, but wow did I make some Anthony Wall saves and decisions! I didn’t waste a shot and battled so hard over the weekend making every shot count!!!!

Thanks for the lesson, Wally, and your time across the pond in America, Iain!

Over the weekend I shot 70, 69 to hang around the leaderboard in the same position and finish T37th.

Again, more valuable OOM points and so many positives to take into the next week in the Netherlands for the KLM Dutch Open!

Exciting times!!!

How my schedule looks…

  • KLM Dutch Open
  • week off
  • British Masters
  • Alfred Dunhill Links
  • Italian Open
  • Spanish Open 

Denmark/Prague double blog!!

Double blogging this week as I’ve fallen behind… Denmark first, followed by my T14th in the Czech Masters, so skip half way down if you don’t want to read about the Danish event!

So, it was back to one of the best events of the year at the Himmerland resort for The Made in Denmark Championship!

This event is known for its huge crowds, concerts each evening, and the amphitheatre par threes – with the 16th probably one of the most famous holes all year – “Himmerland Hill”.

The reception you receive walking up to the green is amazing and if you make birdie then you’re in for a treat!!!

It was my third year back and I couldn’t wait!

I had #TeamHanson out with me last year and they were here again, but this year we managed to get into one of the on course summer houses, thanks to Jeff Winther one of the Danish players!

The resort is great too, the crèche for the kids is great, it backs onto an amazing miniature adventure golf course, and there is also a swimming pool, spa and bowling alley!

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We hoped for good weather, as the previous two years it was shocking at times!!!

We got settled in the summer house Monday evening, booted out a few unwanted visitors and laid some poison, as it seemed a few little mice thought they could join us for the week!!

Tuesday I played a practice round with Laurie Canter and Eddie Pepperell, had a great laugh out there and felt to get my game in good shape for the week!

Wednesday was the standard practice and preparation day, followed by a fun swim with the kids and the Winther family!!

My last two appearances at Himmerland had gone ok, 50th and 18th, so I was positive going into the week!

We got the rougher side of the draw this week but it certainly wasn’t tough. People still scored Thursday afternoon but with no wind in the morning the majority of low scores came from that wave…

I played solid, stayed patient and in the end signed for 70 (-1); my ball striking was good, but I probably didn’t hit it close enough to create as many chances as I would have liked.

Day two I was out early…the forecast was for strong winds to build through the day, but it never really got worse.

Again, tee to green I played lovely and the stats proved it!

But bogeying my first two holes meant I was on the back foot all day!

I actually led the stats in fairways hit and greens in regulation for 36 holes (GIR).

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And as good as those stats are it then led to some stick on social media as to how bad my putting must have been…

Ok, it wasn’t good, but it didn’t feel that bad and I’m making progress in that department for sure! But that GIR stat doesn’t tell you how close to the flags you were on the greens, remember it’s only saying you hit the green… and those greens were not flat!

With three holes to go I was +1 for the tournament and felt making another birdie I would be safe…. but felt +1 probably had a chance to make the cut too!

It certainly didn’t feel easy!

After waiting around for a bit we soon realised it wasn’t going to make the weekend, and in the end level par was only just safe!!!

So a weekend of practice and training, plus some quality time with the girls before we flew onto Prague Sunday evening!

And you guessed it, I spent most of that time on the putting green! It’s getting there – I will prove it!

THE CZECH MASTERS…

So onto Prague and it was a fresh week and a new challenge, it was my third year here but a first for the family!

If you haven’t been, you HAVE to come for a long weekend…it’s incredible, what a beautiful city, so clean, amazing architecture, cheap food, very cheap beer and so much to see!!

Laura and her parents were here to support this week and they all loved the city, it really is a fun event!

I had the day off Monday, you can’t spend all day every day 7 days a week at the course, so the clubs stayed in the flight bag and we walked what felt like the whole city, proper tourists for the day, walking round with the map and camera out!

We even took to the river for some paddle boating with the kids – tough work on the quads!!

Tuesday it was back to ‘work’ or ‘playing out’, as Laura calls it!!

I played nine holes in the morning and did some decent practice, but I was first reserve for the pro-am so didn’t want to play 18 in case I got the nod for the pro-am the following afternoon….

Wednesday morning was a big putting session then at 12ish I got the call, someone had pulled out with injury in the pro-am so I had to peg it up at 1 o’clock.

It certainly affected my practice plan for the week, but it was also good to keep getting some game time in…. don’t forget I didn’t play last weekend after a missed cut!!

So round one got off to a nice start, I holed from 10ft on the first for birdie then hit the perfect drive down the second and pitched it to 2ft!

Birdie birdie and away we went!! Another birdie on 5 and 9, I turned in -4 and was cruising nicely!

I birdied 12 and my only setback in the round came at the tricky 15th, where I probably got a little unlucky with the tee shot!

So a solid first round lying inside the top 5; that was nice to post a decent first round for a change.

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The forecast for round two was pretty grim, rain all day, and wind to go with it!

Lee Slattery went out in the thick of it and somehow shot -7… the round of the day and beating the average by 10 shots – possibly the round of the year!

I really did get the lucky side of the draw, I warmed up in the rain, played my first hole, the tenth, in the rain…

Hit a 7 iron to three feet, made birdie, teed off on 11 and then we got called in!

So back to the hotel and up at 4.45am to get back for a long day of hopefully 35 holes.

Saturday there was no wind, no rain, and pretty perfect conditions, a chance to take advantage and a chance I took!

Ok, I get what people said to me, a long tiring day, but I preferred that to the rain the day before which Lee played in!

I hit seven iron again on the 11th after the restart to 3ft to follow up the first birdie!

I then played the rest of the round nearly flawless, my approach shot stats were out of this world gaining 5.80 shots on the field into the greens – I don’t think I’ve ever been above plus 3 before!

One bogey down my 13th (5th) but I bounced straight back with a birdie, and closed the round out with a 66 (-6) and it moved me into a three shot lead after 36 holes!

A dream start you could say!

As I mentioned with the delays, we were back out for another 18 holes and played the last in near darkness to get round 3 complete!

After starting the round perfectly making birdie down 1 and 2, I then went on to hit 3 scrappy tee shots which got me out of position and if it wasn’t for some very good putting I would have shot in the high seventies!

But I did tell you my putting was getting better, so it was nice to see some fall in!

I signed for 75 (+3) and was happy to get back to the hotel for a sleep and a lie in!

Round 4 I got off to a crap start, a perfect tee shot and a very positive second shot I then went on to play a very poor chip and three putted for bogey!

I’ve struggled all week out of the rough around the greens and had a bit of a mental battle with the shot you had to play, the grass is so thick and wet, and the shorter the shot the trickier it gets, and on camera it probably looks so simple!

I battled well, gave myself some good chances but in the end it was a 73 (+1) and I finished the week with an agonisingly close birdie putt on 18 and a T14th finish!

Would I have taken T14th at the start of the week following Denmark and that progression…? I’m sure I would!

But after 36 holes it’s obviously disappointing not to capitalise on a good week!

But that’s golf, every week is a learning curve and it only makes me more determined to go out there next week and get better!!!!

And especially when it’s Crans Montana in Switzerland for the Omega Masters, an event I have always wanted to play and have heard so much about!

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!