The first 3 events have now concluded and with a 2 week break this gives me an opportunity to write again.
So far all of the golf courses have been very challenging and different surfaces from what we have in Canada.
In Wales my week was defined by 3-putting 14 times over the 3 rounds and obviously at 15 over par I finished down the pack.
I had a wonderful time playing the first round with Sam Torrance who has been a world class player and especially enjoyed his stories. I told Sam a few years ago in Mallorca, Spain that I think he is a fantastic television announcer and I really enjoy his insights and delivery as he covers The Open Championship.
I was also able to pass on a hello from a mutual friend Fraser McIntyre who use to play with Sam’s dad Bob over 20 years ago before Fraser came to Canada to be HP at Trafalgar G&CC.
Fraser, Sam says hello back, can remember you and all the names of the guys who you mentioned regularly played together!!
I have always taken time wherever I have travelled to take in some of the local history and in Wales there is history dating back to the Romans, there are Roman ruins, still perfectly standing buildings in towns that are encircled completely by stone walls, Roman baths and most impressive to me an amphitheatre.
It was noted on a sign entering the amphitheatre – “You’ve stood in the Porta Pompa – the ceremonial entrance to the amphitheatre. For some gladiators, their last footsteps were taken across the very walkway in front of you…”
I like the movie The Gladiator and this sign really hit home to me.
The second week we played a wonderful links course La Moye Golf Club on the isle of Jersey.
The European Tour played for many years an event here and so a good number of the players had lots of experience on the property.
Links golf is my favourite form of golf. I love the springy turf and the fact there are options in approaching the green either through the air or along the ground.
And let me tell you the wind can really blow, influencing the shot or putt and your strategies.
The final result was a T-9, much satisfaction having my first top 10 on tour over here and for sorting out my putting (thanks to Liam Mucklow – Aim Point Express, plus my Kiwi friend Jim Lapsley for their insights).
Jersey is not a very big island and so I had the opportunity to drive entirely around it and the history is amazing.
Among my stops was a visited a former German stronghold that still had the artillery in place.
Jersey was the closest that the Germans got to England during WWII.
It was also neat to view France across the water and when the tide is out (it goes nearly 2 miles out) then Jersey nearly doubles in size.
The third consecutive event was The PGA Championship near Newcastle, England.
The golf course was extremely hilly!! Some tee shots alone had 45 yards of elevation drop or 25 yards of elevation climb to them. Then of course more elevation change on the approach shots.
The course was in fantastic condition and super firm on the greens.
After being on the leaderboard the entire first round a difficult second round resulted in a missed cut.
It was one of those rounds we all have had. So many shots looked fine only to finish in difficult positions. The more I focused on what was happening and how to get myself out of this mess the deeper I dug myself.
Next time I am going to focus on what I want for results, rather than what is happening at the moment and trying to figure things out and thus paying attention to what I do not want. More positive energy if you will.
Gotta love this game eh….still learning after all these years!!
Shortly going to head over to Hadrian’s Wall. A Roman defensive fortification and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overall, I am really happy to be over here playing, enjoying my time and the competition.
I have now “got my feet wet” and been on the leaderboard in 2 events, met almost every player and have been received nicely by everyone.
It has been especially nice to reconnect with some players whom I have not seen or played with since I played overseas back in the 1982-85 period.
I have The Open Championship Regional Qualifying next Monday, June 22nd at West Lancashire GC near Liverpool with 133 players for 3 spots and then the final qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports GC the end of this month.
I am excited about The Open Championship because I have never played in it or tried to qualify before.
So this is my opportunity and I will strike another thing off my bucket list.
It is nice to have a bit of free time now to catch up on emails, plan and book the next few weeks of travel, golf and practice.
Thank you to everyone who has written me, especially after Jersey, again I hope you can appreciate my limitations on time and internet access in replying.