Time to reflect

Chris Paisley looks back at his 2022 season, reflects on losing his DP World Tour card, and looks ahead to the challenges of 2023

My 2022 season is over and, professionally, it was the worst year of my life. I have lost my playing rights on the DP World Tour for the first time since my rookie season in 2013. I couldn’t have imagined just how badly 2022 would go, and the dark places it would take me. I genuinely felt as though my career was over for a large part of the year. 

Happily, those feelings have been replaced with optimism. With the help of my incredible family and team, I am starting to play some good golf and can see a path to what will, hopefully, be the best golf of my life.

Unfortunately, Q school came a few weeks too early. Given where I was a few months ago, I’m proud to have made it to final stage and make the four-round cut. 

Golf is hard, and there are lots of good players ready to take your place if you lose form. It was surprisingly nice watching the guys who had qualified finish their rounds while I was having lunch – each of them earned that special moment. 

Ultimately, I think this will prove to be the most important year of my career. It has been filled with harsh lessons that I needed to learn. My career has been a fairly smooth ride since I turned pro. Looking back, that was a result of hard work, good processes and sound decision making. This year certainly taught me how to handle disappointment, and that no matter how badly golf is going, the people that matter don’t treat you any differently. In fact, they rally around you. 

A series of poor decisions led to a severe downward spiral. I tried to make some big changes to my swing and went too far from my natural game. I lost my identity and became lost. It’s so important to fully understand how you swing the club, play the game, and what processes work for you. The goal should be to become the best version of yourself and not stray too far from your natural disposition. 

With Andrew Nicholson back on my team, I now have a deeper understanding of my game – why it works well, where it breaks down and how I can improve. I’m genuinely excited about where I can get my game to. While I’m not sure how long it will take, I believe my best golf is ahead of me. 

I also posted these reflections on Twitter recently, and the reaction was both overwhelming and surprising. Every response was positive, which may be a first on Twitter! Being open and honest on the highs and lows of my career comes fairly naturally, and goes against the frustrating tendency of athletes, especially golfers, to be guarded. 

I put the reassuringly positive reaction down to the humbling nature of golf. Golfers understands just how difficult it is, at every level, and how it can take you to the top of the world and bring you all the way back down again.

I’m proud of how I have handled that journey. It couldn’t have gone worse this season, but I’ve come out of it a happy, wiser and stronger person. 

I’m going to spend some time with my family in the coming weeks. Being away and playing so poorly was brutal. Ella has a little sister arriving in January, and I need some time with my girls. I’ll be back in the gym and on the practice area soon enough, getting my mind and body ready for the 2023 Challenge Tour season.