The past 6 weeks have seen me travel across 4 countries playing 3 events, attending a coaching camp and 2 fitting days.
I began in New Zealand in mid June when I played a small event in Cambridge on the new KiwiPro Tour. I played some nice golf over the 2 days. My best memory was the way in which I played the difficult par 4, 11th hole. With out-of-bounds on the left-hand side of the hole many players lay up, taking the easy option and playing for bogey. I picked an aggressive line off the tee which would put me in best position to attack the flag. Taking Driver both days, my execution was perfect. Hitting beautiful draws just inside the fence line. I went on to hit two good approach shots to 10 ft and 2 ft and birdie the hole twice. I finished with rounds of 69 & 72.
Following on from New Zealand I played 2 events on the Canadian PGA Tour. I was able to play events on this tour following my efforts in China in 2014. I played the first week at Pine Ridge GC just outside of Winnipeg. A Donald Ross designed course built over 100 years ago. It was a great old course in beautiful condition. My best memory from the week was the way I played to my game plan, not caring whether the result or outcome was good or bad and just purely focusing on what I could control. Scores of 71 and 79 meant I missed the cut but I was really happy with my play that week.
The week of a Touring Professional can be quite busy and full on. So with the opportuinity of visiting the new Polar Bear exhibit at the City’s Zoo, I took a few hours off one afternoon and went along with the PGA Tour Canada TV show to check things out. You can watch the program by clicking the video link below. The story begins at the 8 minute mark.
From Winnipeg we travelled to Thunder Bay, arriving to rain, thunder & lightning. Very aptly named indeed. This weeks course was out at Whitewater country club, 15 mins east of the city. Labelled as the Tournament of the year on the Canadian Tour. I was excited about the week in store. I was greeted by my hosts for the week, wearing my logo on their shirts at the airport. It seemed I had two staunch Canadian supporters already.
Whitewater golf club was a great layout, set amongst dense forest. Just some 20 minutes down the road were the 2nd biggest falls in Canada. The Kakabeka falls and a local river. It wasnt uncommon to see Deer, Wolves or Bears roaming the course area.
The tournament was hosted by the Staal Foundation. All 4 brothers are professional Ice Hockey players from the area. The support for the event was incredible. My best memory from the week was the way in which I played to my game plan. I hit some beautiful shots in the opening round. My swing was feeling a little bit off during round 1, so I stayed patient and played to my plan well. I managed to shot a couple under par to begin my week. Round 2 saw me hit a number of great shots, getting better feels and beginning to attack the golf course. I fought back several times during the round but came unstuck on my back 9 after an errant tee shot. I fought back again with some more birdies but ended up missing the cut by a couple of shots. 70,74.
I noticed a real difference here in Canada with the level of play. The level of play is by no means any better, its just theres more players at this level. This was great for my game, and stirred me up inside to work even harder on my game during the weeks on the road and once home in Melbourne
From Thunder Bay I flew to Houston. Golf Australia were hosting their annual high performance camp in the Woodlands, TX. I was fortunate enough to be invited along. It was a great opportunity to see all my coaches and get feedback whilst on the road in tournament mode. My biggest finding was the way in which my body had reacted to the difficult travel of the previous month. I keep on top of all my stretching, gym work and drills pretty well. However not having a physio travelling with me I’m often unable to get good treatment on the road. I was lucky enough to see a good physio this week and we got stuck into some issues which had been holding me back. Within 3 days work I was back feeling great with more knowledge of my body and exercises to keep on top of those travel issues incase they appeared again.
The camp involved 8-10 coaches and 35 golfers. I was joined by 3 NZ amateur boys over playing the American summer. It was good to see their progress and love of the game.
From Houston I flew across to California. I am very fortunate to be looked after by Titleist. They have their testing facilities in Oceanside, California and I spent 2 days working through my current clubs and testing for better/new products. I was able to make some real progress on this area over the 2 days. I’m looking forward to getting the new clubs in play once they are completed.
I now have 3 weeks in Melbourne preparing for the busy 2nd half of the year. Our China Schedule is still up in the air with tournament dates but I will be ready to go once they are confirmed.
Until then, happy golfing!