After a nice couple of weeks in Portugal (with the second week being a week off) I got to Ireland for our next event. A sensational links course at Portmarnock about 20mins from Dublin. We seem to be realy lucky at the moment that everywhere in Europe is getting blessed with great weather ...and Ireland was no exception.
After having a bit of a good 'chat' to myself (and some friendly nudges from some friends) I had to be focused on getting my game back on track. I was able to get some good ball striking going on the range and to feel good about my swing. I gained a renewed confidence in my ball striking heading in to the first day and we couldn't have asked for better conditions to start the tournament with. A beautiful links course and completely still ...not a breath of wind all day. It took a few holes for me to trust what I was doing with my swing on the course and unfortunately that 'adjustment' period included catching one of those fairway pot bunkers! Nothing much you can do from those but hit out sideways and play on from there.
The day continued on pretty well from there with solid ball striking all day. Tell you what though, I still could not buy a putt if I tried! You know the type of day I'm sure? ...one of those days of "...what could have been". Anyway, finished with a round of +4 which at least wasn't completely disastrous. I knew it would still need a solid round the day after.
After my much improved ball striking, I was more fired up than I had been for a long time and I felt confident about a good day on the course. The second day was somewhat tougher than the first with a 2 club wind blowing most of the day. When you combine that with a links course with elevated greens and pot bunkers, you have an exciting day on your hands. My good ball striking continued for the day and I made some fantastic par saves. Considering the conditions and the fact that my birdie putts still wouldn't drop, I was very happy with par golf and just one bogey after 15 holes. And then came 16.... (does that sound gloomy enough?).
Well, I don't really know what happened, but apparently part of me thought it would be a really good idea to hit the biggest snap hook I could muster and land the ball on a 45 degree slope in long thick grass. What ensued wasn't pretty and ultimately cost me an 8 on a par 4!!! ...that was it. My tournament was over.
I was demoralised. ...completely! After having put in so much hard work and keeping such a good round together in difficult conditions, it really is cruel how quickly it can all be taken away. I think it's one of the things that makes this game so unique. But it is that challenge that draws us all to it and keeps us hooked. We just know we can do better! :)
You know what though, at that moment I was pretty much ready to throw all of my clubs in the bin and just go home. Seriously. I didn't know how I was going to continue. I was in my hotel room feeling pretty sorry for myself when I was reminded of one of those things we learn in life. It's easy to chat to people and help 'pick them up' when they're feeling down or when life is a little tough, but it is really hard to have that same conversation to yourself!
It's usually quite hard to accept I think, that when we are angry, sad or upset at something, it is actually often a 'choice'. It gives us excuses for things not to be so good and to explain things away. I also think much of it is in fact learned behaviour. ...we are 'taught' (not necessarily directly) to react in certain ways to different circumstances. Dealing with different challenges in life can be very hard to face and it is often too easy to let it get the better of us and feel 'beaten'. I also believe, in that context, that we also posess the ability to 'decide' to react differently ....to not be sad, angry or upset at things. We are allowed to let them pass and to move on.
I realised that when I sat back in my hotel in Ireland after that ugly finish to the second round. There is only one person that could ultimately help me ....and that was me! There were just too many good things to take away from that week and if I was to move forward and start getting better results, then that is what I should be taking with me and focusing on. ....we all know of course that it is often easier said than done, but that's of course where the challenge lies. Do we want to take the easy way out or do we strive to make efforts to move on from where we are ...to learn from past experiences. Accept them for what they are and to focus on the 'now'.
I have also been very lucky at this stage to have some help from my family, which has given me the possibility to continue playing a few more events. I had too many good things to take away with me from Ireland. So that's what I decided to take with me. ...next stop. Norway.
I think this past has gotten long enough. Maybe I'll leave the update on Norway for a few days, or for the weekend. It'll give me a chance to get some more images together for my new IMAGE GALLERY! ;)