Scottish PGA Championship at Deer Park
31st August 2021
For my final event of this season, I chose the Scottish PGA Championship at Deer Park.
I’m still very much changing everything in my swing so I was 50/50 about playing at all but felt it was important to use this as a bit of practise as to what I’d been working on.
I’d been given a decent draw with Greig Hutcheon and James McGhee, who are both very good players, so I welcomed the chance to play alongside them and even learn a bit.
During the first round on Tuesday, I was surprised how nicely I was moving and I was definitely getting into better positions at the top of the swing. It helped that both Grieg and James are quite methodical players and take their time over shots which allowed me to follow suit and stay relaxed. We got thru the front 9 without much talk as they are quite serious players but the back 9 was a little more chatty and James eventually asked about my role with LGM Scotland. We spent a full hole talking about faith and wellbeing and although he didn’t claim to believe in anything in particular he appreciated the need for contentment in life and valued the work we were doing to help, especially our Pro-am events.
I felt more comfortable in the first 10 holes of this event than I have in a long time and that’s due to persevering with the changes. My tee shot on 11 was a really poor swing and was due to my brain overthinking which caused me to tense up a bit. In a way, I’d been waiting on it going wrong as I knew I couldn’t expect to play the full round without a few poor movements after only a few weeks of changes, but it was disappointing and cost me a triple-bogey after being in reasonable control. From then on there was a bit of doubt, and although I didn’t hit any real poor shots I started to swing a little faster and this produced 3 more dropped shots out of the last 6 holes due to leaving the approach shots off the edge of the greens and then not getting up and down.
The boys were quite kind to me afterwards and Grieg had said he thought I played reasonably well despite working on some things but he did say that a sharper short game would have got me round in at least a half dozen shots less. When I thought about it he was spot on and it’s so easy to focus on one aspect of the game and pay less attention to the other. I didn’t hit the ball much worse than those guys but their short game was far superior and was the difference with our scores.
The second day I decided to practise more short game before I played and it did make a slight difference. I probably wasn’t swinging as nice as the previous day but I was getting it round and it was good practice again. Greig and James were playing really well and it was good to watch them roll in birdie putts one after the other. They had a confidence that shone through and that’s what I’m aiming for next season. My short game was better but not a patch on theirs. It showed me the way I need to be thinking if I ever want to contend in these events and I lost count of how many times they got up and down from inside 50 yards.
During the back 9, Greig shared a few stories when he played on tour and he’s very honest when saying it’s not a glamorous life for most of the guys out there. We often look at well-known individuals in any particular career and think they must have a great life but the reality is very different. It’s hard work and full of disappointments along the way, especially in professional golf, and he most certainly feels things could have gone very differently for him had a putt here and there just dropped at the right time. I go back to the previous day when we talked about contentment and the hard truth is that God is the only person who can provide this completely and no amount of wins or prize money cheques can match that.
There wasn’t much more chat over the last few holes but I managed to finish 6 shots better than day one and this was mainly down to the short game. I congratulated the guys on a great couple of days play and they were sitting comfortably inside the top 10 heading into the last 2 days. With the cut sitting at 3 over I was a good few shots away but felt I’d achieved what I set out to do in this event. I’d gained a fair bit of confidence and saw exactly where I need to go. Before I left, Greig commented that for someone who only plays once a month I definitely had a game in there and just needed to play more to bring it out. It’s something I already know but nice to hear from such a good and well-respected player. I know there is more to come and despite the past few years disappointments on the course, I’m closer than ever to turning that corner and being a prominent player on the Tartan Tour that God can use for his purpose, large or small.
We keep going,
Vincent Brown PGA Professional at Logos Golf Ministries Scotland
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