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.
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!