Back to Back 1836 Tour

1836 Tour

Well.  Far from my best over in Lancashire…

This week I entered a couple of 1836 tour events before the kickoff to the season, to see where my game is and what things I need to work on in the run up to my 4 week stint of touring.  I call the 1836 tour a ‘Shootout Tour’, its basically 18 holes or 36 holes, usually £100-£150 entrance fees for a first place of anything between £500-£1500.  Lots of PGA Club Professionals play this tour and also the Pros that haven’t managed to qualify on the Europro (UK main Tour).  If you shoot under par or around level par you should pick up some money to cover your costs.  Unless your winning every event, you ain’t making a living on this tour.  Its also the first time I’ve put my brand new equipment to the test.  New woods, irons and wedges, the full mashings. The irons and wedges may take a while to get used to as for new lofts, spins, club and swing weights etc. but all for the long term better.

Southport and Ainsdale

This is a great little track set close to the west coast, in the heart of what I’d call English golf Haven.  Its surrounded by Royal Birkdale, Hillside, Formby and a few others; some of the best golf courses in England.  Monday afternoon was sunny with an strong cold arctic wind which made it very tricky to control the ball, however I love links golf, so I was looking hopeful!  The greens were fast and bumpy (still recovering from winter), and with the howling wind, it made it difficult with the flat stick.  A near hole in one at the first was all about as good as I can say that came from that round of golf!   I shot +2 (74), a nothing round in my eyes. I had 5 birdies, mostly on the par 5s which meant there is some low scoring golf in there, but the rust of not playing links golf for a long time had me over. I placed Tied 15th and of course 14th was the last place to be paid out.  Even though I wasn’t playing my best I was still determined to make birdies! The Birdie Club has given me new motivation!  The winning score was -7 (65), the guy must have made the day look easy!

Full Result

Positives: Tee shots found lots of fairways + plenty of birdies
Things to improve: Flighting the new irons into the wind (too much spin), Mid to long distance pitching (60-90yards)

Formby Hall

Another great golf course over in Lancashire home to apparently my lookalike Tommy Fleetwood! Opposite to Southport and Ainsdale Formby hall is an inland parkland course, lush with plenty of trees and water! The wind again was blowing stronger than the day before, 3 layers of tops and a wooly hat in Mid April, not ideal golfing conditions but we battle on non the less!  After starting with a cracker of a drive down the middle of the ‘pot bunker’ lined 1st fairway, it was all looking so promising. I had 111yards to the flag, the wind was into the face a little so I upped a club, play a knockdown shot.  It set off like a rising jet, and kept going up, and up and up.  The wind eventually picked up and threw it down 30 yards short of the green.  I laughed off the embarrassment and annoyingly didn’t get up and down for my par.  That kind of set the tone for the day.  The playing conditions again were extremely difficult.  The greens were rock hard, fast and bumpy, a lethal mix.  The wind made it tough to find the fairways and if you found yourself in the rough, good luck trying to control the ball.  No chance!  I played with a good friend from college, Paul Kinnear who played in The Open at St Andrews as an amateur a couple of years ago. I also played with the winner of 1836 Tour event held here at Formby Hall a couple of weeks ago Mark O’Hara. Paul finished +5, Mark +9 and myself +7.  +7 79!!!  Tied for my worst score since turning Professional.  Not a happy chappy. I was annoyed with how I played but I was more frustrated with how I composed myself.  I became all aware of it after the red mist had settled after the round.  I let the conditions of the day beat me, I made excuses of how impossible it was, how bad the greens were, how stupidly long the rough was; all during the round.  I purposely not let myself do this in “tour” tournaments, I prefer when the conditions are tough because I know I can stick in and grind a score out. I became a victim of my own thoughts and I believe I downplayed the importance of the event.  None the less, an early eye opener, a stepping stone crossed and improvements to be made.  We go again…

Full result

Positives: Short game from very poor lies was very good, short putts on bumpy greens all went in
Things to Improve: Emotional and self talk awareness on course, flighting new irons into strong winds

Costs for 2 days:
-Entry Fees: £275
-Hotel: £30
-Petrol: £10
-Food, Course Planner, Range Balls: £30

Total: £345
Earnings: £0 

(insert angry face)

Whats next?

So my next 4 tournaments I’m really exited about!  I fly to Abu Dhabi on the 20th April,  my first Mena Tour event is just north of Dubai at a place called Ras Al Khaimah on the 23rd, last year I finished 8th so hopefully I can push on and post better scores!  Then from Dubai I go straight to Thailand, Hua Hin again for another Mena Tour event.  Banyan is a great great golf course, hosted numerous Asian tour Events.  The guys behind the scenes of the Mena Tour have just secured an invite into the PGA Tour Dean & Deluca for the winner of the tour.  The prize fund in this PGA tour event is $6.6m!!  This proves the Mena tour is moving a promising direction!  There are 3 consecutive Mena Tour events in Thailand, however I’m skipping the 2nd one as Im going to China to try qualify for a new Tour out there.  It was associated with the PGA tour last year however, because the Chinese Olympic authorities wanted to invest more money into the prize fund, they fell out with the PGA tour over money caps and have now gone their own way.  Prize funds for these events are quadruple the money I play for on the MENA tour $200,000 per event.  Aside the money, I’m more interested in the European Tour card handed to the winner of the Order of Merit.  They also have Asian Tour Co-sanction invites up for grabs and Q-school spots for the highest 5 ranked.  From China, I’ll be flying back to Thailand to play in the Pattana Championship near Pattaya.  A great 4 week stretch timed well with each other.  My main focus now is to earn playing privileges in China as I just missed out in South Africa, so the 2 Mena tour events in the run up will set me in good stead for Q School!

I don’t really mention my money situation to anybody who asks about how my golfing is going but I thought I’d share with you a little insight.  So since November I haven’t played any “Tour” competitions (apart from the two 1836 tour events this week), my aim since then has been to raise Sponsorship money for 2017.  With great thanks my Shareholders from 2016 have again supported me for 2017, which takes a little strain from the pressure.  However, it feels like I’ve haemorrhaged a big chunk of it away already and I haven’t even played any tournaments!

Sunshine Tour school cost me close to £2500.  I’ve just paid for China School, £1250, Visa £200, Flights to Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, China and back £600, Mena Tour entries £400.  Yet to book hotels, car rental and money for food.  It all adds up very quickly!  This is the not so glamorous side Professional Touring Golf.  Im 25 years old, most of my friends are settling down buying houses with their girlfriends, I’m still living at home, out of a suitcase if not on a friends couch from time to time.  But. I keep looking forward, I see myself where I want to be in a few years and I’m not going to let anything stop me, theres going to be some sacrifices and losses on the way but I believe making my dreams come true not a matter of if, but a matter of when.

If you know anyone that might find interest in reading my blogs, whom may join my Birdie Club to help me on my way, please spread the word.  A small help goes such a long way!

This week I made 8 Birdies

The easiest method of contributing to my Birdie Club is a direct link to my PayPal, so after each blog I’ll leave the link at the bottom.  You can donate as much as you wish per birdie (Thank you)

PayPal.Me/heratygolf

Until next time, I hope your keeping well and look forward to seeing you soon!

Joe