Since I am coming to the end of a five-week break from tournament play, I thought it would be a good time to give an insight into my time away from the European Tour.
For me, off weeks are just as important as tournament weeks; they allow me to live a normal life, recharge physically and mentally, hit the gym a bit harder and continue developing my game. Most importantly it allows me to spend time with my wife and family – after all they are the ones that make all the traveling and hard work worthwhile.
A typical break for me is split into three equal parts. First is rest – I like to put my clubs away and get away from golf as much as possible. After two months on the road the last thing I want to do is talk golf! Recently, I’ve been really into cooking and I love spending my evenings trying out new recipes. We have also been spending a lot of time making our new house a home. I love this time, because I forget that I am a golfer and I just get to do what I want (as long as the wife allows it).
The next phase is training. I ease my way back into practice and build up to a pretty intense level of work. I love to hammer the gym and get stuck into any technical work with my game. This is probably the most boring, disciplined and tiring phase, but I love it. I recently had my coach over to Florida and we grafted for five full days. It was exhausting but very satisfying. I get a lot of self-belief from feeling like I am outworking my competition.
The last phase is preparation. Here I bring the intensity down a notch and I become more focused on scoring well. When you have a phase of hard technical work, you can lose your sharpness so it’s important to get that back going into a tournament. I arrange as many competitive games as I can with a few pros in the area. We’ll throw in some money and after a few games the sharpness comes back because it stings if you get whipped by your mates!
Having the right balance of down time and hard work is so important. I feel that it’s the quality of your work in these periods that will ultimately determine how successful you will become.