Time to get started

After the longest off-season of his career, it’s time for Chris Paisley to get back on the road for his 14th year on tour

The new golfing year is just days away as I write my first column of 2024 in OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. By the time you read this, my 14th season as a professional golfer will be underway – and yes, that does make me feel very old!

The Challenge Tour season begins with four events which are co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour. I played these events last year and thoroughly enjoyed them. After a long off-season, I am genuinely looking forward to competing again.

I have had almost three months away from tournament golf – the longest break of my career. To spend that time with my family was incredible.
I was lucky enough to see Annie’s first steps a few days before I left for the 16-hour flight from Florida, and I will never take that time at home for granted given how much I’m away. The three months flew by and while they felt extremely busy, they were also very fun and productive.

I don’t think I have ever felt as calm, focused and motivated as I do right now. I had a great plan to prepare for this season and I feel like I’ve given it everything these past few months. I put a lot of work in on the range, slowly edging my swing closer to where we want it to be, and I tried to spend a lot more time on the golf course too.

The golfing culture in America is quite different to the UK. For starters, the Americans love to gamble! I had a few matches that got pretty spicy, and these allowed me to see how my game held up when I was nervous. No amount of practice can replicate that feeling of playing for more money than you have in your wallet! Fortunately, I was in the black by the time the off-season was over.

The weather and access to regular golf with good players is also so beneficial. I can have as many competitive rounds as I want, but also have time between rounds to hone my swing, or work on any issues that showed up on the course, without having to worry about the weather or course conditions.

Thank you all for continuing to follow and support me. On paper, my situation doesn’t look great as I begin 2024, but I have never been happier behind the scenes. I am back to my old self, ready to climb the golfing ladder and go beyond what I have managed to achieve before. Let’s get going.