A Lonely Paradise 

I suppose it was inevitable that having only been separated from our new puppy five hours ago, I would be writing about being alone. Alone I am in seat 21F with nobody sat beside me. Good job because I’m always afraid of somebody accidentally peering into my phone for the fear of revealing my unfinished thoughts. Once they’re out however, they’re out. That never embarrasses me. Plus I’m always drawn to the feeling that I have when I see someone writing something that appears personal. The wonder if whether what’s being penned is truly worth it. Surely overstated. Rumination. 

But that’s the nature of my job. It’s the nature of many people’s jobs. The beauty of travelling alone is that it enables me to experience plenty of ‘me time.’ The beauty of company is that it rebalances the sanity in my mind. 

I don’t remember when exactly I started talking to myself aloud, but I remember doing it profusely when I was 19. That was the time of Anthony Robbins, Bounce, The Talent Code and plenty of other eye opening stories. I used to go out on the course at Drayton on my own, in my own world, and talk out loud to myself. I would have to stop what I was listening to on my iPod obviously so I could respectfully hear my thoughts. That would be rude otherwise. I’ve never really talked to many people about this habit. I’ve told Jen that I do it and she simply cannot understand. All she understands is that I’m clearly mad. It’s like I have this other person, this friend who I converse with, open up to, he knows my deepest thoughts and I articulate them to him. If nothing else it’s great speaking practice. But I think it is something else. I think it’s a consequence of being a golfer for 20 years. I think it’s a side effect of being alone. When it comes to golf, I would always rather be alone on the course than with anybody. I am 100% comfortable with who I am, alone on the golf course. It’s a sanctuary for me. I guess you could say I’m not really alone, I’m with the person I’m talking to. I’m just not sure who he is or what purpose he serves. I’m sure someone can tell me. 

This ‘other half’ of me however is part of the reason why I’ve shied away from any psychiatric help over recent months and years. I believe that the best way to change or to receive help is to open up. Open up your mind and reveal your vulnerabilities. I presume most people don’t do this with themselves. I do however. And so there really is nothing I could tell anyone that I haven’t already told myself. Not only is this person I’m talking to my biggest critic, he is my biggest friend. And there’s nothing we don’t talk about. Whether it’s political talk, why God doesn’t exist talk, anti-pull-hook talk, the meaning of life talk, it’s all there. Me and my little gremlin friend. 

The more I digest the consequences and reasons for these actions, the more I intuitively feel that it’s a smart thing to do. To become your own mentor is surely a great achievement no? Especially if that mentor can see things objectively.

 “Your only hopes are all within you- Elysium, Bear’s Den.” 

This is the crux of life, success and improvement. Responsibility and accountability: It’s the only way to a brighter future and one that you will understand. 

Sometimes I turn on LBC, and often it’s when James O’Brien is on unfortunately. Normally I let him speak, give him his opportunity to express his dissatisfactions and then I turn the radio down. It’s my turn to talk. So I do, I explain to him why he’s wrong, how he’s wrong, and I even give myself as many opportunities I want at making sure it’s God damn fucking eloquent. I consider calling in but of course I bottle it. 

I’ll talk to myself when I’m driving, it’s the perfect situation, but if I stop at say a set of traffic lights and there’s a car In front of me or beside me, I’ll stop talking. Afraid that they’ll look in the mirror and be thinking ‘why is that guy talking to himself?’ I completely forget the fact of course that my get out clause could always be that ‘I’m on the hands free love.’ But I stop talking. Im inherently embarrassed by this habit. 

Am I alone in this? There must be other people who do this. 

I’ll never forget the time I discovered that I wasn’t the only person who rocks his head at night when he’s tired. Another golfer owned up to this slightly awkward habit. Once I was away as a junior in Denmark with the team and I went to bed early because I was ill. I was ill but I also wanted time alone to listen to music and rock my head. I was undergoing my rituals and I was deep in the middle of nowhere when all of a sudden the lights were on and Andrew Johnston and Matt Haines were at the end of my bed rolling around on the floor laughing. I don’t know what they thought but boy was I embarrassed. I remember saying it was a ‘side effect of my flu…’ 

Revealing these habits of mine isn’t something that scares me now or embarrasses me. I’ve completely given in to the fact that we are all innately messed up and complex in our own little ways. It’s what I love about life. 

I don’t even know why I wrote this but maybe it can show young people in particular that no fear should be had in showing vulnerability. Vulnerability I’ve always found to be the first building block towards success. It should be embraced. 

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34 Responses to A Lonely Paradise 

  1. Darren Bagnall says:

    Appears to me that your writing is enough therapy for you Eddie. Keep living life your way and FFS, don’t stop talking to yourself aloud (you’re definitely not alone), you’d drive yourself mad otherwise.

  2. Alessandro Liverani says:

    You are definitely not alone: I talk to myself too and I love being alone on the golf course. In fact, I don’t like to play tournaments because I can’t stand spending way too much time with people I don’t care about. You don’t have this luxury I am afraid.
    You are in my Fantasy Race team for next week’s tournament. No pressure, uh?
    Alessandro

  3. LoadsofBirdies&Pars says:

    Keep the chatter goin’ Eddie…brilliant stuff.

  4. Andy Dutton says:

    I jabber to myself non-stop, Pal, but then I’m 56, which isn’t that old, honestly! Seriously, we all do it, Ed, to one degree or another. Good to see you’re blogging again, great to know you have Gus in your life, and hope all goes well next week.

    Cheers

  5. Steve King says:

    Liberosis: The desire to care less.
    About golf and well, most stuff really. Enjoying lone time is a skill and should be encouraged. Enjoy your trip Eddie (and your own jibber jabber!)

  6. Hey Eddie, thanks for sharing your raw, truthful & geniune thoughts. I feel that what you write is always relatable to me. Keep it that way Ed! Hope to play with you one day on the European tour in the future. Cheers!

  7. Kevin white says:

    Hi Eddie nice of you to exspress your thoughts we all have that little voice I think it’s our way of releasing pressure that we can share our thoughts with our mind and no that we will not be corrected or looked down apon as its only us to account for this calming process keep writing it’s refreshing good luck with your journey

  8. Jamie Bradley says:

    Keep it going EP your scribbles are brilliant insight into lifes little ‘isms’ that each individual has ! Having a word with yourself during your alone time to put your world to rights is standard practice, sometimes I even disagree with and correct myself. Also caught myself having a wee dance out on the fairway or practice area and have to say it’s all part of my warm up routine.

  9. Alan Morris says:

    We all have dialogue with ourselves whether its unspoken or spoken thoughts. I think spoken thoughts are healthy. I also think though going to see a counsellor would be beneficial. Good luck Eddy I always enjoy your articles.

  10. Seems to me Eddie, that your blog is an extension of your habit. Is it a way of overcoming shyness? The begged question is whether it relates to your day job in a positive or negative way.

    Tell you one thing: your happiness in your own company makes me think of others, most notably Phil Mickelson, who will obviously talk to anyone at the merest sign of a Sharpie, and makes me wonder if he does it as a means of escape from whatever the fuck is going on inside his head.

  11. Hi Eddie, the “Lonely Paradise” yes it can be a paradise 🙂 Caddie = Your Mind > Player > Your Body let them speak to each other for our goods 😉 this is why at the end of the day I am not that “Lonely” …. #IamCaddiePlayer speaking to myself. See you at the PGA Wentworth! Cheers

  12. Eddie, I am exactly the same frequently talking to myself out aloud. I especially enjoy playing golf on my own, talking to myself whilst I play, yes I play with friends but when on my own it is my little bit of sanctuary and peace and quiet from the pace of modern life.

  13. Paul Sheehan says:

    Thanks for that Eddie, really enjoyed your musings, very liberating to show your weaknesses to the world, keep them to yourself and they will be a constant drag…onwards and upwards

    Paul sheehan

  14. Paul Sheehan says:

    I should have said vulnerabilities….not weaknesses

  15. Roger Manners says:

    Dear Eddie

    Best article you’ve written – well done.

    I used to work with pros – I’m not a psychologist. Golfers don’t need them. They need someone like me – a mind manager who can help you think correctly at the right times through constant practise.

    I live in West Oxfordshire and would like to meet up if you think I can help you. I will be back in the UK 17 May but please feel free to email me if you want to talk.

    Best regards

    Roger Manners

    PS. I’ve worked with the likes of Clarke, Brand Jr, Drummond, Cage, Gary Harris – 8 European Tour winners in all. RM

    ________________________________

  16. David Mitchell says:

    Eddie you are not alone. I have been having conversations with myself for years. It started when I went to boarding school, I would lay awake at night, missing my family at home and try to get over that by telling myself that eventually it would all come good.

    I have always been comfortable being on my own and like you, I am very happy being on my own on a golf course. Frilford on a Sunday afternoon is fabulous. The two of me thinking and talking about all sorts of things! On my own but never alone.

    Same goes for when I am driving or in the garden or just about anywhere. Some might think it’s a strange habit but one I have no concerns about. In fact I look forward to the conversations as I never know what the other me is going to say or do! That said, it’s important to be on your guard to ensure the other you does not take control because there can only ever be one real you.

    The great thing is, people like us will never be lonely and never be wanting for someone to talk to but, and this is so important, don’t fall into the trap of being too self reliant. Work hard to make the time to talk to and more import, listen to others.

    Play well and enjoy the conversations!

    David Mitchell

    >

  17. David Mitchell says:

    Eddie you are not alone. I have been having conversations with myself for years. It started when I went to boarding school, I would lay awake at night, missing my family at home and try to get over that by telling myself that eventually it would all come good.

    I have always been comfortable being on my own and like you, I am very happy being on my own on a golf course. Frilford on a Sunday afternoon is fabulous. The two of me thinking and talking about all sorts of things! On my own but never alone.

    Same goes for when I am driving or in the garden or just about anywhere. Some might think it’s a strange habit but one I have no concerns about. In fact I look forward to the conversations as I never know what the other me is going to say or do! That said, it’s important to be on your guard to ensure the other you does not take control because there can only ever be one real you.

    The great thing is, people like us will never be lonely and never be wanting for someone to talk to but, and this is so important, don’t fall into the trap of being too self reliant. Work hard to make the time to talk to and more import, listen to others.

    Play well and enjoy the conversations!

  18. Paul Evans says:

    Brilliant piece Eddie, I cycle to and from work every day, and always have a full blown conversation with Me, about anything and everything. And, rocking one’s head from side to side to get to sleep, I have always assumed that to be normal. Ask Mum & Dad next time you see them. Good luck in Portugal and Sicily.

  19. Jon bolter says:

    Keep on the blogs , I love them, I want you go under par regularly and get right on track again and stop having to pour your thoughts to all and sundry . All the best , chin up , head still and bosh

  20. Karen Wales says:

    Love your blog. Insightful and articulate. Don’t stop writing. You speak for many of us.

  21. wazmn says:

    Lots of thanks from me too. Because NOW I realised I have the same ‘condition’ – having commuted 2 x 1,5 to the day job (cannot live of golf yet) for seven years we moved, and I have been missing something for 3 years. It’s the me-time !! Naturally !! It makes sense now – it all makes sense !! Thanks, and good luck !

  22. wazmn says:

    Sigh. That should have been – ‘..seven years, then we moved closer to my work, I now do not have the time for my-self anymore, and I..’

  23. Hi Eddie,

    Nice and deep thoughts as usual. I do have dialogue with myself as you do but never out loud, I tend to just do it inside my head. I think it’s quite a healthy thing to do.

    Good luck in Portugal tomorrow! 🙂

  24. Steve Baker says:

    Dearest Eddie, as a 52 year old self talking, f**k’em all, none rocking bedroom freak, lol, I got great pleasure and equal amounts of humorous sadness reading your beautiful inner thaughts. I have never played golf to any standard, and when I tried, the thought of being forever playing Jean van de velde’s meltdown hole at the Open, under the pressure of £5 a man 4 man stroke play ended any hopes of me getting any enjoyment from the game. So, to imagine being able to be so close to finding fulfilment from a game so many people believe would be a source of so much personal pleasure must be at times, soul destroying.
    And yet, as you already know, golf, as in any aspirations in life that may be unobtainable, the frustration can become all consuming and carry over to the very many beautiful and loving moments in your life.
    I, myself have worked for the last 25 years with two wonderful gentlemen who are both on the autistic spectrum, their lives are led by, and decided by other people advocating on their behalf. And while I know they are surrounded by people, including myself, who have given there lives caring and doing the best they can for these gentlemen, at the end of the day, I have learnt that to be able to make my own personal choices is the the greatest gift in life.
    So, carry on being Eddie Pepperell, loner, head rocking, club chucking, puppy loveing freak and make the choices you want.
    P.s coming over, with a couple of mates on Saturday after being so moved by your words, to cheer you on to victory in Portugal, so don’t miss the cut, and i’ll buy you a pint, if you get me a great big f**k off steak!
    Fondest regards old fruit, Steve Baker.

  25. Graham Yates says:

    Hi Eddy,
    Great blog again.
    I was all ways talking to my self when I went out solo on my motor bike, and I all ways got the right answers!!!!!
    It happens on the golf course when I play on my own, and strange as it may be I all ways have the best round of golf when on my own!!!
    Bt no pressure Eddy you are in my fantasy team this week.
    Good luck.

  26. James Wilson says:

    This is a really interesting article and it is great to see the words written down. At your age there were only two of me. But as the years have gone by someone else has come to the party and they now have conversations about me without me! In fact they have been arguing over things like club selection, the line of putts and how to conduct me. It has got to a point where they argue so much that at times “”I”” feel emotionally and physically drained. I recognise this as an emotional attachment to the golf ball. If the golf ball does what I have instructed it to do I feel happy and confident if it doesn’t then I can be sad or angry. On our own we three get on quite because we know and trust each other so well but as soon as others get involved and start pressing our buttons our emotions start to get active and we can get excited, angry or sad over situations that really should not bother us that much because the things that bother us are just facts and most of which are outside our control. Anyway, enough about us. Well done to you both in Qualifying for the US Open and I wish you lots of agreement in consideration of the facts that you will be confronted with in probably the hardest test in golf. No criticism of each other analyse each problem in its own right and deal with it.

  27. Charlie Cruikshanks says:

    Just read Eddie’s blog for the first time. Interesting insight to the life of a professional golfer. I just want to say that I also regularly talk to myself. In my case there are some phrases I tend to repeat out loud. The phrases are inconsequential harmless and have absolutely no relevance to what I”m doing but for reasons even I don’t understand give me comfort. My wife sometimes hears me and thinks I’m nuts. I’m 65 years of age and so a lot older than the fresh faced Eddie but worryingly for him as I get older I find I am talking more to myself. Consider myself popular and have quite a few friends but run the risk of losing some if they get to know about this.

  28. Eddie, I have only just discovered your blog, but I am making up for lost time… I have to say, as a pro of some 35 years and owner of around 200 golf books, this is some of the best stuff available. I know it is not all golf stuff (thank goodness), but I would want any young golfer planning on going anywhere in the game to have a good read here. So many writers/facebook posters etc. are so full of themselves, so interested in looking interesting, in being “the guy who invented sliced bread”. I am loving how open, balanced and frank your blogs are. Thank you. Regards, Michael.

  29. Dan Clarkson says:

    Great blog Eddie, best of luck in the US Open – enjoy it!

  30. John Burton says:

    Hi, Ed, was watching US open and heard commentator advise viewers to read your blog, so I did. Never read anyone else’s blog before, thought it was just for people up themselves. How wrong I was, well, in your case at least! I’m pushing 69 yrs so think a lot about life (and death). I babble to myself a lot, always been a bit of a loner, and love playing golf alone, or with my (few) close friends. Wishing you well in this tournament. Will be following your future blogs.

  31. Jonathan Stordy says:

    Heard you had this blog whilst watching the US Open yesterday. Loved golf all my life and your blog is the first time I have read genuinely original thoughts on life from a pro. Have taken about 800 planes for work last 6 years and your reflections on the pleasure of “thinking bove the skies” ring very true. Makes up for the pain of getting through security. As does the pleasure of playing alone at 7 in the morning or 8 at night in the summer. Had noticed your masive talent before but your musings make me a firm fan. Keep on expressing yourself on and off the golf course:)

  32. David says:

    Well done on your performance in the US Open. You must be so pleased after the trials and tribulations of the last year or so.

    Onwards and updwards!!

  33. John Foster says:

    Hi Eddie, well done! …for The US Open, a great result, and for writing this blog. …I hope you won’t mind me commenting on something you said in your most recent post?
    …………………………………..
    What you describe is very common. In fact we all have a ‘voice in the head’. Most of us will only say out loud what that voice is saying occasionally, although many do so quite regularly. You talked about there being two of you, and in a way, that’s right. There is the You listening and the You talking. They are both part of the whole. The voice in the head is the thoughts generated by the brain, based on all your life experiences. The You that listens is the inner self – the “real You”. It is perfectly fine to see a separation between the two and nothing to worry about speaking out loud what the brain is saying – but of course the brain can get carried away with itself and is prone to getting things wrong!
    …………………………………..
    If you would like to find out more about this, just let me know, I would be happy to share some reading sources. Best wishes for the rest of the season.
    John

  34. Tanja Lewis says:

    Hi Eddie P
    This is such a cool article. Well written and funny. I will link to it for sure. Oh and I think most people do this, in one way or another. But seeing so clearly, what great company one can keep in your ‘lonely presence’ is a gift. Write on, I’ll look forward to reading more. ( Actually it was the tv sports commentator, Henrik Knudsen, from Denmark – who publicly told the viewers about your blog – you’re famous 😉 )

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