A very happy new year to you all. I hope it is a happy healthy year both on and off the course. My festive period was better described as being more restive than festive. With Asian Tour School starting on Jan 4th I didn’t really get to enjoy the full holiday season. Regardless of how much you try to switch off even for a few days, your mind is always on the next event, so relaxing can be a challenge!
Asia was a fantastic experience as always and I played solid golf in Tour School, particularly at first stage. At final stage I put myself in contention but failed to convert enough chances to make the top 35 who qualified which was a little frustrating. This year was particularly competitive with Richard Green coming out on top in a play-off at final stage with a total of 28 under par for the four rounds! Fantastic golf and a real step up in standard compared to previous years. I shot a total of 21 under par for the 8 rounds I played between first and second stage, which would have easily qualified in recent years. Although the course was set up for low scores, there was also plenty of trouble out there and some of the scores were hugely impressive.
I’m naturally a little disappointed not to have collected an Asian card but I was delighted to get such competitive golf in during the month of January, which will stand me in good stead as the season comes around.
Speaking of my game, I have recently switched coaches. I have been doing some great work with Simon Byrne who is the head pro in Hermitage GC. I decided that I needed some fresh ideas before going to Asia and Simon has been a great help since we began working. Simon bases his teaching method on a guy called Jimmy Ballard who is a world famous American teacher. Jimmy has coached numerous major champions and has been teaching the very same swing and fundamentals for over 50 years!! Now that is impressive in this day and age where teachers change their ideas on the swing almost overnight. Jimmy Ballard is worth looking up on Youtube if you get a chance, you wont be disappointed with the information.
I’d like to thank most sincerely my great friend and coach John Kelly for the last few years. He has been an invaluable asset to me both professionally and personally and has encouraged me to go and see what else is out there in terms of coaches and swing ideas. I have no doubt that I will end up back in John’s teaching bay in St Margaret’s before long.
Myself and John and some other Irish pros will be heading off to Praia Del Rey GC in Portugal later this week for their annual PRO-AM. We are being joined by a motley crew of amateurs from Mullingar GC so good fun will be on the menu as well as trying to take home the silver!!
My schedule this season will be similar to last season, incorporating the majority of the Europro schedule and as many Challenge Tour events as possible. Very much looking forward to the Challenge Tour heading back to Galgorm Castle in August and Mt Wolseley in September. Two brilliant tournaments and great for all Irish players.
With so much winning and losing being a result of mental strength it is important to pay attention to that side of my game also. All tournament winners regardless if they are pros or amateurs have managed to incorporate mental strength into their game. For some it is natural, but others need to work on it. I am in the group that needs to work on it! I love reading about the subject of psychology and picking up little nuggets of information as I go. I have just finished a book called “Commit” written by Enda McNulty who is a well-known Irish sports psychologist. Fantastic read and one of the most practical psychological books I have read which was refreshing.
As I sit here at home writing this I am also booking flights and Accommodations for the season ahead. I like to have all of my travel booked and organized before the season starts. It puts my mind at ease and is also a lot more cost effective. How did people survive without websites such as “Skyscanner” and “Booking.com”!
So cheerio for now and I look forward to keeping everybody updated as the season gets going. Thanks again to all my sponsors for their fantastic support which gives me the opportunity to keep going.
Yours In Golf