The Senior Open

I played my qualifying round at The Berkshire Golf Club’s Red Course.
This is a wonderful heathland course with fairly firm fairways and heather lining every hole on both sides.
This puts a premium on driving ability as the ball can bounce into trouble if not struck on the correct line.
There is an even split with six par-3’s, six par-4’s and six par-5’s.
The key to the course is playing the par-3’s well as there are some really tough holes among them.
The par-5’s are fairly easy with 4 of them reachable in two shots.

There were roughly 105 players for 8 spots into the tournament.
Unfortunately, I shot even par 72 and missed by 2 shots.
I started off well with a birdie on the first hole but unfortunately could not build on the round and the only blemish was a bogey on the 16th.
I struck the ball well hitting 14 GIR but did not convert the birdie opportunities and then I had two 3-putt greens on par-5 holes for pars that did not help in building a good score.

So the first part of the European Senior Tour is now complete and the schedule becomes much more fragmented from here on.

There are only 3 more events plus the tour championship to go from now through mid December.

Changes In The European Senior Tour Membership Eligibility

The European Senior Tour has also implemented a new criteria for membership eligibility in 2016.
The intention is to reduce the starting fields from the current 72 players for regular events down to 54 players.
The events are also going to become more of a pro-am for two rounds and the final round with pro’s only.

This means being part of the tour going forward will include:
1. Only the top 20 on the final money list from this year,
2. Any tournament winners from this year,
3. The top 20 off the all time money list (combined of the main tour and the senior tour earnings),
4. The overall money list winner from 2013, 2014 and 2015 and
5. The 5 lowest scores from the 2016 EST qualifying school.

This policy is going to affect at least 50% of the players playing this year and hence there is a big push to finish inside the top 20 on the money list.

Mid-Season Review

At this time of year I begin my mid-season review. I have been doing this annually since 1982.
I find it helps me to step back, catch my breath, evaluate where I am at and what I need to do going forward the rest of the year.

This review comprises my statistical evaluation, financial position and then the goal setting and planning for the remainder of the season.

Without getting into everything let me share with you however that it is obvious that to this point my ball striking has been really solid but my putting has not been up to my usual standards.
At the moment I am 35.584 over par on my putts gained/lost stat for the 30 competitive rounds this year dating back to Tour School in January.
As an example at The Senior Open qualifying I was 3.474 over par in putts gained/lost. An even par result for the qualifying would have put me straight into the event.

Often times when I travel overseas I carry two putters with me in case a change is required but this time I did not do that as I opted to carry an additional sand wedge because of the different turf conditions compared to back home.
While the work put in on the greens felt productive the results indicated otherwise.
So a change is as good as a break and for sure there will be a new putter in my bag for the Canada Cup next week in Victoriaville, QC.

Overall I am having a wonderful time.
Playing golf all over the place, against world class players is what I have always enjoyed.
A 7th and 8th place finish in a couple of events so far is encouraging for the future.

Thanks again to all of you who write to me and of course I appreciate your comments and encouragement.

To those who have booked lessons in the coming weeks I look forward to continuing to help you to reach your potential as well.