Competing at the Deer Park Masters
3rd and 4th August 2021
After receiving a call from the PGA to play in this event I had mixed feelings due to the inconsistent nature of my game this year.
I had an inkling I would get into the event being the 1st reserve so I’d been hitting some balls and playing a few holes some evenings to try and get some sort of order to my play but was finding it really difficult to get a consistent movement.
I felt I needed to play even if just to get some tournament practice in so accepted the spot.
36 Hole Pro-Am event
As this is a 36 Hole Pro-Am event I was playing with two separate teams each day and the 1st day had me with Andrew, Jim, and Jock.
As I introduced myself and chatted a bit about LGM Scotland, Jock interrupted me and said that he’d played with me in this event before. I couldn’t place him and think it was from a few years back but it was good he remembered the Ministry at least.
I was hoping the guys might have asked me a bit more throughout the day but it’s very common that nobody mentions anything about faith these days and they steered clear.
It was a difficult day for me and from the opening tee shot, I could still feel the movement was wrong. It’s such a horrible feeling to stand over each shot and not quite know where it’s going, and this was going through my whole game.
Normally I can revert to a safer shot to keep the ball going one way at least, but this was like nothing I’d experienced before and utterly demoralizing.
The guys understood my situation and sympathized but it’s bad enough going out on your own and playing like that never mind in a tournament.
I tried to stay jovial for the team and make light of the situation but inside I was hurting and didn’t really have an answer. Andrew and Jim had to leave right after golf but Jock wanted to stay for a bite to eat so I joined him for a half-hour so he wasn’t left on his own.
We chatted mainly about golf and I relayed my disappointment of the day but he was fairly supportive and it was a nice end to a difficult day.
It was then I realized I had to do it all over again the next day.
Day 2 of the Competition
The following morning I arrived in the car park and met Gareth Hardy who was also playing in the event. He knew I was really struggling and tried to give me some encouragement but I was already apprehensive about the day and my shots on the range didn’t help.
I did manage to share our Outreach Day at Falkirk with Gareth and he was pleased we were moving forward.
He’s always supportive of any events we do, whether he’s coming to them or not, and he wished us well in our efforts.
It was a beautiful day and I was blessed with a very nice team who were understanding of my situation. Tristan, Andrew and John were from Dunblane and were simply happy to be there without much expectation so the pressure was off right away.
Although still not moving correctly and feeling out of sync, I had suddenly realised that after 24 holes of golf in the tournament I hadn’t lost a ball despite hitting very few straight shots.
The swing still felt terrible but I was getting it round and not looking as bad as before.
At that point, I’d made my mind up to completely rebuild after the tournament as I needed total clarity in what I was trying to do and everything had become so clouded and unclear.
Both Tristan and I shared a chat regarding taking the knee at football matches and we both agreed it had probably run its course and was more of a token gesture now than actually making a difference. I do feel there is such a fine line these days between encouraging someone to take part in something and making people feel obliged to do it which kind of contradicts the message.
I used an analogy of faith being used in the same way and how that would never be tolerated, but they’re definitely seems to be different rules for different causes and it’s so easy to manipulate the system by simply being ‘offended’.
I still finished with the same ball I started with and that is quite something to go 36 holes of golf, swing as badly as I can remember, count on one hand the number of straight shots hit, and still not lose a ball.
The team I had on the 2nd day made it bearable for me and they were great company right up to the end of the round, carrying it on through our meal. I did mention to them about our day at Falkirk but they politely declined due to work commitments that week.
It was a very difficult couple of days and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as helpless on a golf course.
After some reflection I know I need to start the re-build and I’m talking grip, stance, alignment, set-up, takeaway, everything.
I won’t go through that again on a course and will hope to have a solid movement for next season. With just the Scottish PGA Championship left for me this year in September I don’t think I’ll have it ready by then but I can use it as a tester of where I’m at and where I need to go.
Sometimes things need to change and I definitely have to.
We keep going,
Vincent Brown PGA Professional, Logos Golf Ministries, Scotland.
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