2014 started with a nice change to the last 12 months, after having a break from the game not touching a club and merely just relaxing with family and friends. It’s always difficult working my way back into practicing, which I mostly do at the beautiful Southport Golf Club, on the Gold Coast. Most of my practice at the moment has been on the range, working on some small technique changes which can be a little dangerous for me. Sometimes when I think too much about technique, I take that mental state out on the course and concentrating on how to hit it rather than where to hit it and thus affecting performance.
So as I get close to competing I will make sure that I at least play plenty of holes and work on the art of scoring, not technique. I have been working with my coach Kev Morley on taking my hands out of my swing a little, which is coming along nicely. I still have a long way to go to ingrain the change (as a general rule it takes you about 10,000 balls to change technique), so I still have a fair few to go this early in the year.
My goal is to spend about three hours a day on my long game, and 1.5 hours each on my chipping and putting, in addition to gym and physio work. Southport Golf Club have built a new chipping area which is I think the best on the Gold Coast so it’s great for working on my short game. I had a few other commitments, one of those was looking after my friend and former caddy Rob Beecher, who badly broke her foot in November last year and is only starting to walk now. So I have been her taxi a few days a week, as she couldn’t drive. Though given she helped me for years on the bag, it’s the least I can do.
On top of the small technique changes at the start of 2014 related to a club fitting I had in early January, which resulted in new set of Titleist irons. I am now using a shaft called KBS C Taper Tour which is feeling good, but is a completely different shaft than I was using, so they are taking a little getting used to. It’s amazing how different shafts can flight the ball differently. My old shafts are designed to get in the air, which was causing my ball to fly to high. At the fitting, I was launching my 6-iron at 21 degrees. US PGA standard is about 16 degrees, so basically way too high. The new shafts have brought the flight down so it’s just a matter of trusting the lower flight.
I have also been in the gym working on my fitness, even though you wouldn’t think so! I’m finding as I get older, it’s a little harder to lose the festive weight!
In reflecting on a great year I thought I would put together some facts about my year in 2013.
Last year I played 304 days out of the year. This does not include travelling in-between events which can take a day or even two sometimes, depending on how far we are going. Given that the average person works about 235 a year – no wonder I needed a break at the end of the year.
In 2013 I spent more than 200 hours travelling, approx 100 hours actually sitting in an airport and was lucky enough to visit 10 countries. I think Virgin and Jetstar are happy if I continue playing!
My first event for the year was the Victorian PGA Championship at the Heritage Golf Club. I finished 11th there last year so I was looking forward to returning to a course that I feel comfortable and enjoy. Unfortunately I hadn’t brushed the rust off enough after my break and missed the cut by a shot though as I write to you here at the QLD PGA Championship, I am really looking forward to a nice run of events with the Victorian Open and New Zealand Open to follow.
I’m hoping the hard work will pay off through these events but more importantly help me prepare for the year ahead in Japan.