What Professional Life Is Teaching Me

It’s a good job I enjoy having time off! Since nervily holing out on the 72nd hole in Scotland over a month ago, I have enjoyed a nice break away from competition. I visited Rome and Venice with my girlfriend which was very nice and quite unusual as although I travel to many cities with golf I never explore. Since very little has happened in my golfing life of late I’ve decided it’ll be more entertaining to begin somewhere and let my mind meander off into the abyss…!

The English Amateur came to Frilford Heath recently and while it was nice to see some old faces I saw an environment which I do not miss. Witnessing the pressures of selectors, coaches and parents reminded me of some of the reasons I wanted to turn professional. But whilst it was a scary proposition at the time, becoming a professional golfer has been a liberating experience. The responsibility and accountability I’ve had to take as a pro is fundamental to long term success I feel. And while it was comforting to have felt a stable organisation supporting and providing for me, it has been far more rewarding to have faced up to certain fears and other pressures of professional sport.

This is what I believe dictates the differing lengths of time it takes for amateurs to succeed as professionals. It is the culture shock. The realisation of the wider world and the bottomless pit of potential anguish. The burning question in my mind is why do some people succeed quickly, others slowly and some not at all? 

While my professional career is rather embryonic I can already identify periods of learning, periods of competing and periods of working. In other words, my relatively quick success is all down to the fact I haven’t reacted passively to my experiences. I am yet to have found a smarter, faster and more efficient way to improve. From Anthony Robbins to Jonny Wilkinson, each and every book I read I saw this underlying theme. It’s a learning culture you have to create in your mind. The fact I did have 9 months at the start of my professional career struggling helped me. When your bank account is low you can only afford to take one week at a time. Paradoxically I found it easier to cultivate a ‘learning mindset’ when my surroundings were most precarious. 

It’s amazing how quickly you can improve. It’s also frightening to see how some players lose their form rapidly. Nobody is immune to either. That’s what I’m learning to love about success; certain principles remain; constant awareness, a vulnerable environment, quality advice and coaching and a level-head. 

To answer the unanswerable above then, this is all I have done and maybe talent is the reason I have taken to it faster than others but I prefer to be less nonchalant and more anthropological and say if I can do it, so can others and it is only by actively learning it is worth achieving. 

From That Wise Old Owl, Cheers. 


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