Golf down under! New blog…

Tour Diary

It’s pretty mad really… The 2016 European Tour season actually starts in 2015!

And it feels even crazier that two days after Tour School you’re packing to fly half way round the world!

In a good way, you’re playing well as you have just qualified, so it’s a great time to keep playing… But really, after a full season of ups and downs on the Challenge Tour, it’s the last thing you want!
I was ready for some time off, see my family, put the clubs away for a bit and get ready for 2016…

But I had two big weeks ahead to try to start the season with a bang…

As you know, SA went pretty well over all, a T44th finish saw me put some money on the OOM and although my game was not great, I felt like I had a chance to compete.

From SA it was then a pretty tough journey to Australia. I’ve never been before; of course I knew it was a long way, but until you actually book the flight and realise you’re in the air for over 20 hours, it soon sinks in…
7 hours back to Dubai and then 14 to Brisbane was our flight path!  We landed around 5.30am after the time difference and headed straight to the course to practice. 

I slept a bit on the plane and didn’t feel too bad with regards to jet lag! But out of nowhere my wrist really started to hurt…

I think I must have slept on it whilst curled up on the plane and then the repetition of hitting balls inflamed it! I saw the doctor and he gave me some medication and I was told to ice and rest it!
The next day I didn’t push it, chipping and putting were the main focus and I just hit a small basket at the end of the day to test the wrist… Everything was perfect, I was good to go!

Tuesday night’s sleep was perfect too, 9pm till 9am; I woke up great thinking I had cracked this jet lag! But how wrong could I have been…

Wednesday and Thursday night I just lay there wide awake, head spinning and certainly not sleeping!

That’s my first real experience of severe jet lag, and I’m not too sure if it’s something you can beat!!  Round 1 the wind was up; the course was a great layout but the greens and surrounds had recently been re-developed! In mine and most of the players’ views it was far too severe and the run offs around the greens were brutal!

I love the windy tough conditions and for 13 holes I was cruising!

A few bogeys and a few birdies – but that was fine! Then out of nowhere I had two massive car crashes!! A triple on 14 and, to put the icing on the cake, another on my 18th!

80!!! Plus 8 and a massive fall down the board – don’t get me wrong it was tough, but it suited me and despite the big numbers I played well! It wasn’t as windy on the 2nd day, but still it played tough! I knew under par had a chance to still make the cut, but coming off the course the wind had started to calm down! 

I did shoot 71 (-1) but in the end it fell one short of the cut line!

A tough one to take, and to fly half way round the world for it makes it harder! But that’s golf and I dare say it will happen again sometime!

But I have to take the positives; I said I played well and the Tour stats proved it…

For the first two days I was number 1 in fairways hit, 16th in driving distance and 20th in greens in regulation (GIR) and that’s kind of how my score card looked!
Just two bad holes in 36, which in this game means an early bath!!

So Saturday I headed up to the course for some morning practice, before meeting my good friend Jason Wood who had flown up from Sydney for a week’s holiday and drove two hours to meet me for lunch and dinner and a couple of beers!  It was great to catch up, talk golf and chill out for a few hours before he kindly dropped me off at the airport! So now it’s time to get home – I’ve never been more excited about Christmas! It’s been a long year away from the girls but now we have nearly a month together. 

Jess is 3½ and Olivia is 1 and walking now, so it’s going to be madness! They are such little characters and I miss them so much when I’m away. I just really hope we all get to travel a bit this year together before Jess starts school.

Every now and again I get a little lucky, or so my friends tell me… This time they were right!!

After missing the cut I was finding it too hard to change my Emirates flight to get home early; the only option was to pay £3000 and go business!! That certainly wasn’t happening!

But the event was sponsored by Emirates and they had some decent hospitality around the 18th so I went to find someone important…

After explaining my situation I was soon put onto a flight 24 hours earlier, just on a slightly different flight path.

7 hours to Singapore, 7 hours to Dubai, 7 hours to Manchester!

What a result, and at NO charge whatsoever…

The luck didn’t stop there; the first flight went fine, I slept for 6 hours and had exit row legroom… But then when I was boarding for the second flight I got pulled to one side…

“Is everything ok?” I asked…

“Yes fine sir, we are just upgrading you to business.” 

My jaw hit the floor! Never have I turned left onto a plane; never did I think I would! But for the next 7 hours I had my own massive chair/bed, full three-course meal with proper knives and forks and a huge TV screen! WOW!  How I think it had happened was this: the stop in Singapore was only an hour to refuel and pick up some passengers. Because economy was full they had to upgrade some people to business. And because you get silver membership with Emirates through the European Tour I was the LUCKY chosen one! It still didn’t make me feel better about missing the cut, but it helped!

So another experience to add to the list, along with meeting a Koala bear – which was cool!   But the biggest animal disappointment after so many good ones in SA last week, was that I didn’t see a kangaroo…

I’ve been told they are not in that part of Oz, even though I was also told there are more kangaroos then people in the country and it sure sounds like not many people are fans of them!!

So it was ‘mum’s’ taxi once again back from Manchester airport and I was home Sunday night to finally let the last month sink in and reflect on what’s been a great year!!

Again, a huge thank you to everyone who has made it possible, for all the wonderful messages throughout the year, and I really hope you have enjoyed sharing the journey through my blogs!

Hope to see many of you through the festive period!

All the best – CH

Last modified: June 3, 2019