Balancing practice, improvement and tournament golf

It has been a rough six weeks on the golf course. After a really consistent start to the season I have missed four cuts in a row. And yet the frustrating part of it is I am playing great in practice rounds and swinging well on the range. I just can’t seem to take it into tournament play.

One of the things that perhaps holds me back at times is seeking long-term improvement over short-term performance. As a golfer, you are always trying to balance these two things.

You obviously need to play well and get results, but you are also looking at the next step to improve and get to the next level. My long game is generally what lets me down at the moment, and it is because I have been putting a little too much focus on making some tweaks to try and improve in the long term. It has come at a cost as I have lost a little bit of feel and awareness. The margins are so fine and these courses hammer a slight miscalculation, or a mindset that isn’t quite right. Paris National can bring you to your knees if you aren’t quite on it!

After having a chat with my brother Andy and coach Nico, we are going to focus on getting back to being a ‘player’. That means working more on hitting specific shots. I need to get the creative and instinctive part of my brain going again. When I have my best results I feel very instinctive. I see the shot required, feel it in my body and swing, then simply try and execute. There’s little conscious thought involved – I just see it and do it!

We have worked really hard to build a solid and reliable swing but in golf all that work can be undone if your mindset isn’t quite right. With small margins, any change in performance gets highlighted, good or bad. I know my game and swing are in good shape, I just need to find the right mindset and get some mojo going!

I have two exciting events coming up, the Irish Open and Scottish Open. Two Rolex series events on links courses. What more could a Northern lad who grew up playing links golf ask for?