Let me first of all say thank you to everyone who has asked me to keep you informed of my progress while playing in Europe this year.
I am truly humbled and honoured that you would take the time to write to me and show interest in my playing career.
Unfortunately, due to the large number of people who write to me it has become very difficult to respond to everyone properly and personally.
I have decided that the best way to be able to communicate with everyone is through this website. The website is a little ambitious and I promise to add more details on instruction – technical, mental and physical, as I become more familiar with the technology. For now, the emphasis is on providing a communication platform that I hope you find interesting and useful.
The primary hurdle I face is having limited internet access at the hotels and bed and breakfast locations I will be staying at.
So the website will help me as I cannot possibly reply to everyone, keep in touch with my family and properly focus on my practice and playing time.
I will write blogs from time to time about interesting things that occur and perhaps write about something that someone has asked me to write about.
So to begin with let me bring everyone up to speed on what has been going on since the European Senior Tour Qualifying School back in early February.
I have had a very busy winter since returning from Portugal with planning and organizing the summer schedule.
The EST sends out periodic information or documentation that they require from us or that informs us when the practice range opens or closes, what tee times are permitted for practice rounds, when the course is closed due to the pro am, meal times, available hotels or Bed & Breakfasts, rental cars, caddy booking forms, entry forms into the events and so on.
I have also been trying to sort out where all the courses are located, air transportation from Toronto to UK and then from one event to another and finally product with Titleist/FootJoy to be drop shipped to some locations as the year progresses.
The money earned is in either British Pounds or Euros. In the past I had the money earned wired to an account here at home but it was converted to US dollars. So there is a double currency exchange from the Pounds to US Dollars and then to Canadian Dollars. So in the past couple of months I have been working to open a British Pounds account in the UK to live off of.
Then on April 3rd, I fell down the stairs at home, chipped a piece of bone off my left ankle and also had some ligament damage.
Have made a great recovery and am walking fine now and have been playing regularly.
I had just embarked on an aggressive fitness program of 30 minutes running and 35-60 minutes of bike riding.
I was 3 weeks into the program at the time and had shed 8 lbs. because of this and my nutritional program.
The ensuing layup did not help my weight and cardio training.
I could not do my usual runs up and down the sand dunes near my home, which really helps prep me for Europe, as we have to walk every event. Riding carts are not permitted and the courses are generally quite hilly.
I opened my competitive season with the US Open qualifying on May
18th in Rochester followed by the US Senior Open qualifying on May 20th in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, neither event was successful for me and so now that I will not be in either of these events I am going to attend The Open Championship qualifying during those weeks. The Open Championship has always been on my bucket list and so this is my opportunity to participate in the qualifying process.
I fly to London on May 22nd and have practice rounds still to organize at the various sites used for this years British Senior Open qualifying so I can have an idea what I will be facing in July if I still have to go through the qualify stage.
There are 3 exemptions still remaining to be given out to the British Senior Open to the leading 3 players not already exempt from this years Order of Merit (OOM).
Currently there are 30 members from last years OOM who are exempt into this year’s event.
The first event of the schedule is in Wales from May 29 – 31. I am planning my first practice round for May 26th.
Although I have played in events on the EST since 2011 because I had conditional status, this year I am still considered a rookie and as such will have rookie orientation on May 26. I will also not be eligible to play in any of the pro-am events prior to the start of the tournament.
This will work out fine for me, as I will use the day before the event begins as a day off to recharge my batteries for the event.
I have a very good periodization and peaking plan that has been evolving over the last 4 years thanks to the help of Paul Dewland and am now to the point where I can hit peak form in about 2-3 weeks.
This is a big improvement for me because when I first turned pro in 1982 it would take me about 2-3 months to hit stride.
I had worked it down to 1 month for the first 3 years of my senior career. Lots of times it is just being comfortable with my swing
The solution for me is block practice with limited time frames per discipline and maximizing my reps through deep practice.
These are some of the things that I now cross over and use with my students to help their own games grow at a quicker rate as well.
To me this is one of the benefits of playing competitively.
I have had the opportunity to research the various methods of skill development and worked with top shelf professionals in the various fields of physical, mental and technical development to gain the greatest insights on all of this.
I know when I was a head pro at a club it was impossible to stay on top of my game and to be as current on these things since the responsibilities to the membership prevent the required time commitment.
It is one of the things I told the hiring committee at my last HP job interview.
I believe as a tour player you are at the pinnacle of technical, physical fitness programs, neurological, psychological and nutritional information.
You are experiencing it personally and not through a magazine or by viewing on the Golf Channel 6 months after it is in vogue on tour.
This is a big plus to the membership when you arrive versus your peers who are interviewing without that tour background but as your years at the club continue it is impossible to stay on top of all these things to the same level.
So I have a week to go in hitting full stride and I am off to the races.
I see Woosie won recently at the Insperity event on Champions Tour so he will be in fine form for the first event in Wales as he is from that area and the headliner for that tournament.
Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and I really appreciate you taking the time and showing the interest in my playing. If there is anything you would like me to write about please let me
know. If it’s legal and morally proper I will happily share my EST adventures.