First, I just want to thank the people who replied to my last blog from Ireland/Scotland; there have been times over the last few months I haven’t wanted to write and that’s probably why a few blogs have been condensed into one.
But after receiving such wonderful messages, it soon reminded me why I enjoy sharing my journey and life on Tour!!
So, here we go again…I think we can say the back end of the season has started and it’s safe to say my back is against the wall!!!!
So, what’s the plan?
I got together with my caddy, Steve, and my coach, Mark, over at Oulton Hall!
It was like being back at school – a good old-fashioned de-brief with Mark standing at the front, next to his chalkboard!
But it was great, I didn’t hit a ball in the first hour, we went through some stats, what’s been good, what’s been bad, how we are going to make the bad good and keep the good good!!
You following that!?
It’s tricky, managing your practice time, keeping a good balance, making sure you do enough of something but then not neglecting other parts of your game!
It’s easy to get in a circle…you may struggle for a bit with putting, so you spend more time to bring that up to speed and then your driving takes a hit, as you’ve spent less time on that over that time period!
As I say…a tough juggling act!
Maybe it’s something I’ve not been great at, but I can promise that there has been no lack of effort with my practice!
So, it was Germany bound with a plan in place – I’ve always loved a plan, too; I have a lot of trust in my team, my coach, caddie, fitness and mental coach!
I like to talk through my game, I’m pretty open in getting my thoughts off my chest, and I’m sure I answer a lot of my own questions – but I tend to work best when I’m told what to do!
So, they’ve told me!! #GameOn
Unfortunately, though, Germany was another short week. I got there early Monday, had three great days’ practice and felt ready again for the week!
My best mate Ben made the journey to keep me company for the week, so we took advantage of the Porsche perks and went on their driving experience Wednesday afternoon.
It soon became clear I’m not a very good driver, but more clear that one day I would love to own a Porsche!!!
Best start playing well!!!
We did slaloms, skid pan, emergency braking, launch control, circuits and off road driving!!
A pretty fun experience and extremely lucky to do this for no charge!
Back to the golf: round one went ok, there were some positives, especially the way I putted and I ended the day on level par in around 60th position.
Day two the conditions were trickier, 3 guys shot -7 in the wind and I just couldn’t see those scores!
I was level through 8 holes after starting on ten and then made a few unforced errors! I was fighting again and felt I let myself down, as the Chris of the last two years turned those situations into a cut made not a cut missed!
So, as I mentioned, it was sadly a shortened week and myself and Ben got back Saturday!
That meant one thing!!
I was now caddying for Ben in the Halifax/Huddersfield scratch event!
I was strangely looking forward to it and decided I wanted to try and give it everything, as Steve would when caddying for me!
Well, it poured down – a caddie’s worst nightmare! You soon realise that they don’t have enough hands for the job which you expect them to have.
And as a player when you’re handing your caddy your glove, club and asking for some food all at the same time as he’s trying to use the yardage book, clean your club and hold the brolly…you need to cut them some slack, even when you’re p***ed off you’ve just made bogey.
I gave it 100% for the seven holes we played before being called off, but I would like to think I helped Ben a little.
It was fun! But a seven hole sample of caddy life was all I needed to want to get back to playing!!
I then had two weeks off – week one was a family week, some needed time away from golf and the feeling of chasing success and improvement!
We did some fun things, chilled out, and I really enjoyed some quality time watching my girls play and amaze me more every day!!
But that week soon ended and I was back to work on the game. I had a plan, but unfortunately that had to slightly change as I picked up a hip injury.
I couldn’t quite get the reps in on the range I wanted due to the pain through the ball, but luckily it didn’t stop me working on my short game.
For the next two weeks (Sweden/Czech) I had my good friend Adam Walker on the bag (Steve was on holiday), so Adam came out to Spain early for some practice with me, we played some competitive games with the members at Los Naranjos, and between us had some good short game challenges!
I normally practise on my own (it can get pretty boring and quite lonely), so to have the company and the competition sure helped!!
After a few great days we flew out to Sweden bright and early the following Tuesday.
After a quick warm up we got out to play – we thought the course was great, on the eye it was so appealing and pretty amazing how it had been carved out of the rocks and the hillside!
After nine holes I got the message that I was in the pro-am the following day, so got off the course to practise for the rest of the afternoon. I didn’t want to play 36 holes prior to the tournament!
So, by Thursday we were set to tee it up.
Round one I played nicely in some tough weather; the wind swirls through the trees and it has its own little Amen corner…it’s a tricky exam!!
I was happy to shoot three under and that set me up nicely for day 2.
So, another tricky day weather wise and a double bogey start was certainly not what the doctor ordered!!
You can actually hit good shots round there but with the swirly winds you can easily miss greens without doing much wrong!
The round then had a huge turning point on the 5th and after smoothing a solid 9 iron from 163 it was amazing to see it disappear for my first tournament hole in one but 7th all time!
I shot two under for a five under total and moved up to T13th which recently has been unknown territory . . .
It was certainly progress!!!!
The weekend was ok overall, I played nicely but one bad hole, making 9 on 15, made it look a very average finish around 45th for the tournament.
It sounds crazy but I only just missed the green on 15 by a yard, it wasn’t a shocking shot, but where it finished on the rocks after a bounce kind of got me stuck without many options to get out of the situation.
Onto Prague we went . . .
Last year the course in Prague played great – long, fantastic condition and thick rough due to the heavy rain, and I was leading through 36 holes, so have a soft spot for the course!!
But this year was different – due to the hot summer and no rain, the deep rough was burnt away, so to make it fair they had to cut the thick semi rough which had been watered down too.
It wasn’t fair for the guys miles off line to get away with it and guys just off line to be punished!!! So, all of a sudden you look at the leader board and it’s top heavy with guys who smash it miles!!!!
I played pretty solid through the week – overall it was lots of progress again and I was excited for what the rest of the season holds!!
I finished 1 under for the week in around 60th position but it was another four rounds under my belt and onto Denmark I went with a smile on my face!!!
For two positive weeks, a huge thanks must go to Adam Walker. Two great weeks on the bag helped me ‘dig myself out of a hole’ – thanks, mate!!!!!!!
Now, let’s get to Denmark and see the family . . .
What was supposed to be a smooth and easy journey ended up being a nightmare!
Laura and the girls arrived the Sunday afternoon and my plan was to fly Monday 7am, Prague-Copenhagen, then get a three-hour lift with a few of the caddies!
Sunday night was spent in an airport hotel, with a 5am alarm and across to the terminal to get going.
At 7am when the flight was scheduled we were still waiting, at 9am we boarded the plane, then 9.40am we were back off the plane and waiting for any information about our journey!
With there being at least 30/40 caddies and players on that flight, it was then a mad scramble to book another flight path ASAP!
€400 later, I got another flight to Copenhagen and managed to get a lift north with some different caddies; in the end it wasn’t a bad option, a bit frustrating, but I got to the girls at 8pm!!!
With some guys not arriving till 2am the next day I think I did ok!!