The Black Sea

Tour Diary

Trying to think how many flights I’ve taken since turning professional back in 2006 is a pretty scary thought, but just thinking back to last year alone it must have been somewhere in the region of 70.

But on writing the start of this blog whilst landing into Samsun from a Heathrow- Istanbul connection, it was the first time I’d had that strange sinking feeling after the plane nearly touched down but then pulled full throttle and hit the sky once more!!

Straightaway I thought the worst and immediately thought of my family. Planes amaze me and to this day seeing how even the small planes get airborne and stay airborne, is simply incredible.

And the fact a plane can now fly direct from London to Australia blows my mind!!

So it was a ten minute delay and an extra quick fly over Samsun at midnight before landing, and then heading off to the hotel to get straight to sleep, with an earlyish start up at the golf club the following day.

I really didn’t know what to expect; it’s Turkey, most people think about sun, good golf courses, all-inclusive great hotels, and holidaymakers!!

But as you may have noticed, we weren’t in Belek!!

After seeing a few photos from the players who made the trip earlier than me, it looked pretty grey, the town didn’t look like it had ever seen a tourist and the course resembled more of a rugged heathland track than a lush holiday resort!!

We were actually on the Black Sea; the temperature was very cool morning and night but midday it warmed up to nice golf t-shirt weather, but we were going to need some warm clothing through the week for the early starts!!

I’m now on the road for three weeks – it will be a shock to my system, Laura’s system but even more so for the kids! Bar a few weeks, we’ve spent the last four months together, had loads of fun, had some extremely interesting and challenging weeks, but had some real quality time!

But now I will pretty much spend four months away – the Challenge Tour schedule is certainly not family friendly, and as it says on the tin ‘it’s a challenge’.

I felt my prep had gone well for the week, I’ve made some positive changes and some bold changes so you’re always a little apprehensive, I guess.

But in round one I played nicely, stayed patient and got to -3 with two holes to play.

A bogey bogey finish wasn’t great and certainly dropped me well back down the leader board, as the scoring was crazy low…and now meant I needed to go out and shoot a low one on Friday!!!!

After looking at my scores for the two days, I certainly didn’t make any easy birdies. Some holes were nearly ‘gimmie’ birdies and I just seemed to be slightly out of position on all of them.

For example, the driveable par fours, I was just in the rough not the fairway or had a few awkward bunker shots around the green…just never had that easy chip or two putt birdie!

But that’s my fault and those first shots just need to be that little bit better!!

So a miss cut in the first event of the year is never nice, but if you use it as motivation for the next week and not get negative, then it’s not a bad thing!

The learning curve continues!!!

So it was a weekend of practice whilst half the field continued to shoot some crazy low scores.

There can’t be many weeks where four guys shoot -10 and one shoots -11 and that’s in one round!

So it’s three flights up to Bilbao in Spain for the next event, and I’m looking forward to Jacob Campbell starting his stint on the bag with Team Hanson!!

Let’s do this!! #BirdieTime

Last modified: January 14, 2024