Posted by & filed under Blog, Previews.

Mark Townsend, deputy editor of National Club Golfer and with decades of losing bets behind him, breaks down the movers and shakers for 2018.

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

There’s an awful lot of good sense being talked at this time of year on how to make a few quid from this season’s early-bird prices in the majors. Most of which is based on extensive research and knowledge, some factual analysis, some previous course form or even an ability to perform on Bent greens.

Or, like me, you can fritter away some of your hard-earned on a variety of whims, some cluttered memory of someone like Rod Pampling holing a chip on the practice ground and putting your hopes on your favourite player who is only your favourite player because he has a history of coming up short.

So if you are looking to lump on early and get ahead of the crowd then feel free to follow my cut-out-and-keep advice…

 

Masters betting track record

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images
Winners:

1993, Bernhard Langer, 22/1
1994, Jose Maria Olazabal, 14/1

 
Notable misses:

1998, David Duval, 16/1
2004, Ernie Els, 14/1
2012, Peter Hanson, 275/1
2015, Justin Rose, 18/1
2017, Justin Rose, 14/1

 
When you look at this track record you’d be entitled to shut down this page, right here and right now. No winner since Olly 24 years ago when, and with some delicious irony, I didn’t even watch the action.

I was in Gran Canaria on a misjudged, in every sense, week away with a one-time girlfriend. My mind was on Magnolia Lane all week, hers was on her ex-boyfriend-now-husband.

So, with my winnings of around £46, there were two happy endings to our week in the African archipelago.

And to this year and how to unravel the Green Jacket puzzle – which, I know, is a sentence that makes no sense at all.

First on the slip is straight out of leftfield – Jordan Spieth – which is part man crush, part awe and wonder at his skills, and part fact. Finishes of 2nd, winner, 2nd and 11th are too good to overlook so why would you?

Next up is Rickie Fowler which is, again, a bit of a soft spot for that Hollywood smile and, again, some fact-based hunches. I like a happy ending and Fowler must have been asked about his Sunday-itis and lack of majors as much as Lee Westwood – one is 29, the other 44. It will happen, it has to, and Augusta has a nice habit of getting players off the mark.

It’s finger-in-the-air-time and we’re looking for an outsider, ideally in three figures. Here my mind flits between the same old suspects and the same old memories. I shut down Westwood and Paul Casey from my thoughts – never again – and discount Louis Oosthuizen on the basis that I’ve backed him here since the day he arrived on the property. I settle on Charley Hoffman. Remember that incredible 65 on a gusty first day last year? Try and overlook the way he then fell apart, much as he did in 2015. But you can get him at 150-1 so you’re basically a winner already.

 

US Open betting track record

Goosen

Credit: Getty Images

Winners:

2003, Jim Furyk, 25/1 AND 28/1
2011, Rory McIlroy, 18/1

 

Notable misses:

Colin Montgomerie, 1992-2009 inclusive, generally around 25/1

 

You’d be right to point out relatively few slim pickings from over 30 years of punting at the USGA’s showpiece. Then again I hoovered up at Olympia Fields when I backed Gentleman Jim not once but TWICE. And four nights working at the BBC were spent obsessing about how Stephen Leaney and Jonathan Byrd could mess up my week. They didn’t and I repeated the trick just eight years later when I put all my faith – and an enormous and out-of-character outlay of £5 each-way – in Rory after his Augusta meltdown.

This year I’m not even going down the route of looking at events at Shinnecock in 2004. What relevance does that have these days? You might be interested to learn that little pumpers Tim Clark, Corey Pavin and Mike Weir were all in the top 10 on Saturday night.

So where are we in our thinking just six short months from when the tournament gets going?

Do we fascinate over who did well last year at a different course which is 1,005 miles away from Shinnecock Hills.

No, we get swayed by looking for the next Webb Simpson or Brooks Koepka and a couple of young home bucks who are in or around the top 30 but who nobody really talks about. I give you Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. No US Open missed cuts between them and as good a chance as any. Apart from the really good players.

 

Open Championship betting track record

Kaymer

Credit: Getty Images

 

Winners:

1993, Greg Norman, 12/1
2001, David Duval, 20/1
2012, Ernie Els, 22/1
Near misses:

2003, Thomas Bjorn, 33/1
2004, Ernie Els, 9/1
2009, Tom Watson, 25/1

 

Ah, now we’re on safer ground. The Open, links form to pore over, past Dunhill Links Championships to go at and almost 35 years of encyclopedic knowledge of the oldest major.

And the same old tired thoughts. Is Andres Romero in the field this week? Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm won at Portstewart so he must be worth considering, Tommy Fleetwood is the course-record holder so he might go off as favourite?

Dustin Johnson might have an ordinary Open record but he nearly won at Sandwich? Can Spieth defend, why does nobody ever defend?

Padraig Harrington loves it at Carnoustie of course – based on that week 11 years ago and not troubling myself to check his form there since – and Martin Kaymer likes the Dunhill though, again, I won’t trouble myself to see his course form.

Or we can just all our eggs in one basket and lump on Rory at 14/1? What sort of price is that for a man of his skills? Yes, he might do his ankle or his ribs in the build-up or he might just run away with it on those big, flat greens.

And have a little saver on Tyrrell Hatton at 66/1. He, as we’ll all be reminded 10 times a day in July, has won the last two Dunhills.

 

PGA Championship betting track record

Harman

Credit: Getty Images

Winners:

1984, Lee Trevino, 33/1

 

Near misses:

None
Unlike most I’m quite a big fan of the PGA Championship which, I think, is reflected in the above hit rate. I’m not sure why I got behind Super Mex at Shoal Creek but I was allowed to stay up to watch the final exchanges and my dad explained how much my 50p each-way outlay might add up to.

I think I backed Kenny Perry in ’96 at around 66-1 and Justin Leonard two years later but I couldn’t be certain and I only deal in facts.

This year we are off to Bellerive Country Club in Missouri and, if I’m honest, I don’t even know where Missouri is.

This is where, you’ll be reminded and quickly then forget, where the WGC-American Express was due to be held before the September 11 attacks took place on the Tuesday.

Nick Price won the 1992 PGA here, Camilo Villegas the 2008 PGA Championship and, other than that, nothing.

It will be the 100th staging of the Championship and the last time it will be held as the final major of the year – it moves to May in 2019 – so how better to sign off the major betting year with a big-name winner.

I give you Brian Harman.

Posted by & filed under Blog.

1stTee-1320x743

Credit: Getty Images

Most pilot episodes never get a second chance so we should give the European Tour credit for the GolfSixes concept that will return in May.

To recap, last year’s inaugural event at Centurion, in St Albans, involved six-hole matches between pairs representing 16 different countries.

They were split into groups of four and played round-robin games of Greensomes. The teams topping their respective leagues went through to the semis and then the final, with Thorbjorn Olesen and Lucas Bjerregaard coming out on top for Denmark.

It all took place over a weekend, with plenty of razzmatazz – including music, celebrities and fan interaction – as well as a shot clock that demanded the players hit within 40 seconds of arriving at their ball.

The event was certainly well-attended by the standards of regular events and the European Tour claim that:

  • There was a 42 per cent increase in new golf fans at the event compared to standard tournaments
  • Attendees were 14 per cent younger than those seen during the rest of the golfing calendar
  • Social media engagement around the event was 24 per cent higher, with over 20 million social impressions delivered

I don’t know if that makes it an unqualified success but it was at least something different, and surely we can all agree that the game desperately needs an alternative to the monotony of 72-hole strokeplay.

That is especially true for the European Tour, which continues to operate very much in the shadow of the PGA Tour.

As it stands, here in the UK if you have access to the European Tour then you can also watch the PGA Tour on the same channel.

For all but a few weeks of the year, the latter is a better product with superior fields and enjoying the advantage of being broadcast in peak times during our weekend evenings.

The cold fact is that the European Tour can’t match its American equivalent so it surely makes sense to try to offer something different.

That’s easier said than done though.

At the last count, there were no fewer than 42 weeks of 72-hole strokeplay on the Tour’s 2018 season schedule.

Yet the same people who are quick to bemoan the staleness of this rather turgid diet will very quickly turn their nose up at anything remotely different.

The strokeplay format is tried and tested and it works for golf. Anything else is a risk and will bring its own problems.

You only have to look at the Horlicks that has been made of the WGC-Match Play to see that.

Until a couple of years ago, the opening days of this event, and especially the Wednesday, were the most captivating of the season outside of the majors and Ryder Cup.

Yet precisely what made it so exciting to watch – the fact that half the field was eliminated each round – was its greatest weakness.

TV hated it because, come viewing prime-time at the weekend, there were only a handful of players left, some of whom tended to be the likes of Jeff Maggert, Kevin Sutherland and Matt Kuchar. We’ve never yet had a true heavyweight contest in the final – a Phil v Tiger or a Rory v Spieth or even a grudge match.

The nearest we’ve come to a bit of needle was when Victor Dubuisson kept improbably getting up and down from the Tucson cacti in the 2014 final.

The players hated it because it came at a time of the season where they were trying to time their Masters build-up and they didn’t know whether they would be packing their bags on Wednesday night after 14 holes or departing exhausted after going the distance and playing seven intense rounds in five days.

So now we have three days of dull round-robin to perm a last 16 from the starting field, and you still tend to end up with a last 16 that isn’t exactly box office.

(The worst element of it is trying to inject drama into Russell Henley’s predicament when he’s three down through eight having already lost his first game and yet COULD still qualify if he turns it around, but that’s only if Pat Perez hangs on to beat Ross Fisher in the other game in the group. Especially when you have backed Henley.)

At the moment, GolfSixes is more slap-and-tickle than the Ryder Cup. Which is fine. It’s a different spectacle and it’s watchable. The format will likely evolve. Those of us immersed in the game have to remember that it’s not really aimed at us – though that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.

Also on the schedule for the season ahead are the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, the Belgian Knockout, the 2018 Shot Clock Masters and the European Golf Team Championships.

All offer something different. We won’t be seeing Rory, Dustin and Jordan in these events but then they wouldn’t be anyway, regardless of what event the tour was putting on in such weeks.

GolfSixes is not a panacea. Nor are any of the above events. But you have to start somewhere. And for that the European Tour should be applauded.

Posted by & filed under Blog.

tiger 1

As Tiger Woods prepares to blow out 42 candles on his birthday cakes, it’s not all doom and gloom for the GOAT.

The former World No. 1’s attempt to revive his career (again) has started well and it’s got us all feeling giddy again.
Can he win another major?

Well, as you will see, the odds aren’t against Tiger as Quick 9 runs down the handful of golfers to win a major after turning 42…

 

1. Julius Boros

Major wins: 3

Major wins after turning 42: 2
Boros won the 1963 US Open at the Country Club aged 43 before going on to win the PGA Championship five years later.
Boros’s win at Pecan Valley at the age of 48 remains a record for oldest major champion.

 

2. Darren Clarke

darren clarke

Number of major wins: 1
Majors after turning 42: 1
Clarke lifted the Claret Jug at the 20th attempt, a final-round 70 enough to earn the Northern Irishman a three-shot winning margin at Royal St George’s.
Clarke became the oldest Open champion since 1967 and the oldest maiden major champion.

 

3. Jack Nicklaus

Jack-last-fairway-1024x704

Major wins: 18
Major wins after turning 42: 1
A final-round 65 that included a back-nine of 30 was enough to earn the Golden Bear his sixth and final Masters title – 23 years after his first – at the age of 46.
No one has won more majors or Green Jackets than Nicklaus.

 

4. Hale Irwin

hale

Major wins: 3
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Sixteen years after his first US Open triumph and 11 years after his second, Irwin added a 3rd in 1990 at the age of 45.
Irwin is the fourth oldest player to win a major.

 

5. Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino

Major wins: 6
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Trevino won the PGA Championship in 1984 at Shoal Creek, aged 44.
It was his sixth and final major win. He won two US Opens, two Opens and two PGA Championships between 1968 and ’84.

 

6. Ernie Els

ernie

Major wins: 4
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Els lifted the Claret Jug for a second time in 2012, largely thanks to Adam Scott’s inability to cling on to his lead.
The Australian bogeyed the last four holes at Royal Lytham and a birdie at the last for Big Easy was enough to be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year at the age of 42.

 

7. Phil Mickelson

Major wins: 5
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Mickelson started the final round of the 2013 Open five strokes behind the leaders, but a 66 gave him a three-stroke winning margin over Henrik Stenson, aged 43.
Now 47, but who would bet against Mickelson adding another major to his tally?

 

8. Payne Stewart

Payne Stewart

Major wins: 3
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Stewart won the 1999 US Open, his third and final major championship at the age of 42. Who can forget that fist pump after seeing off Mickelson in a play-off.

Months later, Stewart was killed in a plane crash.

 

9. Ben Crenshaw

Major wins: 2
Major wins after turning 42: 1
Crenshaw almost didn’t play in the 1995 Masters. Alongside Tom Kite he attended the funeral of his mentor Harvey Penick in Texas the day before the tournament began and only returned to Augusta that night.
It was an emotional victory for then 43-year-old Crenshaw, who beat Davis Love III by a shot.

Posted by & filed under Blog.

Crombleholme

Lee Crombleholme has one of the most fascinating jobs in the game. He works as the psychologist on the European Tour where, on a daily basis, he gets to hear the intimate mental workings of some of the best in best in the business – his current stable comprises Andy Sullivan, Ross Fisher, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, James Morrison, Danny Willett, Lee Slattery, Richard Bland, Justin Walters, Paul Waring, Graeme Storm and Alejandro Canizares.

So, as you might expect, his working week is as varied as it is busy. Given how players put enormous store, quite rightly, on trying to save a quarter of a shot a round the ability to think clearly and logically every week is pretty much priceless.

 

You got together with Danny Willett at Firestone this year. What would you do on your first sit down with a player?

When I start with a new player I will introduce the model that I work around and explain that. They will give some insight into targeting some specific areas that have worked well in the past and when, before or after a round, to work together. A lot of them will have set routines and it is all down to what they want to do.

When I started with Kiradech he wanted to see me after a round and just see Pete Cowen and Mike Walker beforehand which was fine.

We’ll work through the template, I’ll never tell people what to do as that doesn’t work. I will ask really good questions and try and get them to come up with the answers – I’m of the belief that they know the answers and it’s more about drawing them out and getting rid of the rubbish in their heads.

They are all different which is great as it’s never boring.

B0010P 0081

 

How would your working week start?

All days are different and all tournaments are different. On a practice day I’ll get to the course between 6 and 8am depending on the light. In Qatar it might be 5am.

With certain players we will sit down and I’ll ask what was good and not so good about last week and filter it down to a handful of key points that they can write down in their book.

I’ll ask things like what their acceptance level was like and we can discuss that and it might become a key point.

But it always comes from them; I won’t tell them to sort their body language out for example. I am more of a sounding board, they are the ones who are living it.

I don’t keep the notes, they have them, when you write something it helps to re-affirm things.

I have a good memory for what has worked in the past. It is a challenge but it is only 10 players. In the NHS you might have hundreds of different clients and we do get to spend a lot of time with each other.

 

What about the on-course work?

If it’s the pro-am I will walk a few holes with each player, if there are only two players I will maybe try and do nine holes. I like to get out on the course when possible.

I’ll be looking at routines, focus points or feels and seeing if we can dial into something as simple as possible. Players are good at complicating things so I will try to simplify things wherever possible.

I’ll also be checking on their mental routines, making sure they are doing the same thing on course as they do on the range.

And see how they feel about the course and its conditions; they might have played it for 10 years or might be the first time.

Wentworth-660x371

 

And on tournament days?

I’ll be on the range or putting green and will just be on call. I’ll see if the players are OK or if there are any issues.

If they’ve had a bad first round they might splurge out their concerns and we will then turn it around and find some key points to think about, maybe just for the first few holes to try and get some momentum.

 

What has been a good example of turning something around this season?

Kiradech was a top-40 player in the world a few years ago and then lost his chipping a bit. It was world class but he would really trap down on the ball and not use the bounce, he then lost his feel and that filtered through to his game.

On the Tuesday in Dubai this year Kiradech had a bit of a lack of confidence around the greens so we just came up with a little mental pre-shot routine to stop the negative thoughts popping in. He ended up finishing in a tie for 2nd place.

I always say they are only thoughts and they don’t have any power unless you give them emotion. I will encourage the players to let those thoughts wash through them, maybe laugh at them and replace them with a simple, controllable focal point like hitting an imaginary ball, think about the bounce scraping the grass or not even look at the ball. It is just about shifting the focus.

Kiradech

 

And an example of how your players can differ?

James Morrison might like to tap into a technical feeling, Graeme Storm might have a couple of swing thoughts that really work for him and then you get someone like Ross Fisher and he wouldn’t dream of that.

After a good week some players are fine with the expectation, others try and avoid any score goals.

If I was to say to Stormy that we were looking at the top 30 on the Race to Dubai and that would get us in next year’s Open and, to do that, we’ll need a top 10 this week then it would be game over.

He has done so well this year as he has had no goals like this, he has just enjoyed playing the game and appreciated its nuances which I call the mastery side.

 

How involved do you get with the rest of the team?

Very. I’ll talk to the caddie, coach or manager and have a sit down with them and, if a player has given me their consent, then I will discuss what we’ve been working on. It is very rare that the player might say it’s OK to talk with the caddie but not the manager but it has happened.

When we first get together I will tell them that I just want honesty and motivation to learn and open their mind and, in return, I will work as hard as I can and anything that we discuss will not go any further, I am bound by a code of ethics, unless they are happy for me to divulge any information.

In Turkey, Kiradech was hitting it right to left and he despises that with a passion but he accepted and went with it for that week and finished in 6th.

blah

 

Without giving your secrets away what are you working on when a player seems to be just hitting one chip after the other to a practice green?

A few years ago Tiger was asked at Augusta after a long time off how could he expect to compete when all he had done is practise?

He then looked him in the eye and said it depends how important you make your practice.

I repeat that a lot to the players. Once they have done the technical stuff we want to make sure that the practice drills have a consequence. Every ball counts. I might set them a goal of three balls and give them a total footage of 12 feet or less for those three shots.

If they are outside that then they will do it again and we’ll do that on a Tuesday, Wednesday or even a Thursday morning to get the mind switched on.

Amateurs generally warm up so poorly and there’s no excuse for that. Amateurs have less time so they need to make the most of their 10 minutes practice before a round. Players at club level can really benefit from getting their practice organised.

When you put some challenges in place and then achieve something then that can really lift the confidence.

Lee is the founder of Winning Golf Mind. Visit their website for more information on how to get in touch. You can also follow them on Twitter, @WinningGolfMind.

Posted by & filed under Blog, Competitions.

In last month’s newsletter, we asked you to tell us what your most useful piece of equipment was, to be in with the chance of winning a luxury Mizuno bobble hat.

We had a lot of great responses and, while selecting a group of winners was no easy task, we’ve managed to narrow it down to five.

Here are the winning answers below. Thank you to everyone who took part and congratulations to these lucky winners! We hope these hats keep your head nice and warm when you’re on the golf course this winter!

Stewart Holdsworth: “My electric golf trolley. It enables me to walk for a full round to ensure that I get much needed exercise without tiring myself out and allows me to carry excess equipment in all weathers – whether it’s clothing, towels, balls or food and drink.”

golf trolley

Credit: Stewart Golf

 

Chris Pritchard: “My Galvin Green waterproof trousers and jacket – they keep me dry when it’s wet, warm when it’s cold, and they keep the wind out! Snug as a bug!”

 

Credit: Golf Monthly

Credit: Golf Monthly

 

Dennis O’Neill: “Because of the number of ditches on our course I find my ball retriever (which I call my fishing rod) a very useful piece of equipment.”

 

foremost golf

Credit: Foremost Golf

 

Ian Brannan: “My golf mitts, because there’s nothing worse than trying to hit the ball with cold hands!”

 

original green

 

Credit: Original Green

 

Ben Jagger: “My golf bag rain cover. This keeps all my equipment dry throughout the round and is a simple, cheap piece of kit that helps in tough conditions”

golf town

 

Credit: Golf Town

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

Steve Watton has racked up more than 100 competitions a year since 2011. He tells Steve Carroll why he lives to post another tournament score.

Steve Watton

Credit: Getty Images

Steve Watton plays so much golf he could give Donald Trump a run for his money.

Prolific is a word that defines the Enville member’s desire to get out in amateur competitions – he’s played more than 800 of them since 2011.

From midweek medals to multi-day scratch tournaments, Watton’s diary is always full as he travels the country following his passion to tee it up.

But social golf is not on the Stourbridge native’s agenda. He loves the cut and thrust of events and the constant test of trying to beat his handicap.

We sat down with Watton, a panellist on NCG’s England top 100 list, to ask…

 

803 competition rounds in seven years – just how do you do that?

It’s mostly made up of scratch opens, which are 36 holes in a day. I might play two of those a week, on average, from the start of April until the middle of October. That makes up the bulk of the rounds.

I don’t have too many nights away from home and my home club has a midweek medal every Wednesday, which helps.

Believe it or not, I probably only play two or three days a month on a weekend so it’s mostly weekday golf.

I live in Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, so I have a rule for myself which is that I will drive up to two-and-a-half hours, play 36 holes, and then drive home.

I can get to almost anywhere in England and most of Wales, just chopping off the corners. It would be quite difficult to do, if you didn’t live where I live, without having 100 nights away in a hotel a year.

 

I can’t believe you don’t play that many weekends…

I’ve got three kids, Molly, Maisy, Thomas, and a wife, Rachel, that I have to keep happy as well! She’s very understanding and supports me in my passion.

I’m pretty sure if you took into account holidays, I probably only play a couple of weekend days a month.

 

How do you balance family life and all this golf?

I would like to think, although my wife may agree to differ a little bit, it’s not my family that suffers because of it but work. I’m fortunate in that regard in that I have worked hard, have an interest in a few different businesses, which allows me quite a lot of time out in the week as I choose.

 

Do you ever get time to practise?

A little bit. My office is just down the road from where I live, which just happens to be half a mile from Enville and we have fantastic practice facilities there. I do go down and do a bit of chipping and putting but I am not a big practiser of the long game.

I get bored very quickly unless I am working on something specific. I’ll very often leave the range feeling worse than when I got there. Obviously, short game practice is essential for any level of golfer.

golf scorecard

Credit: Getty Images

What’s the best thing about playing hundreds of rounds a year?
I just love the buzz of having a card in my hand and that little extra adrenaline rush you get. I’m kind of addicted to the competing. If I didn’t play golf I’d probably do something else to satisfy that need.

It’s come to the point now that, on the odd occasion when I do play social golf, I just feel flat and I don’t get the same level of excitement at all.

The norm for me is to have a card in my hand.

 

How do you cope during the winter when it’s non-qualifiers? Are you searching around looking for winter opens?
Three or four years ago, I suddenly started playing 20, 30 and 40 more rounds a year and that’s basically because I discovered winter qualifying golf.

In the West Midlands, we’ve probably got four or five clubs that do a monthly winter series so, this winter, I am playing every month at Forest of Arden, The Leicestershire, Sutton Coldfield and Brampton Heath. I will get four a month in like that.

The Finch Tour has also started to run qualifying events through the winter.

 

It takes a certain dedication to try and find qualifiers during the winter months…

It takes a commitment in terms of driving to go anywhere but, as long as its not frosty and it’s not raining, then I’ve come to enjoy winter golf. Before I started this crusade I was probably like a lot of other golfers where I would put my clubs away.

 

How many balls would you go through in a week, or a season?

God knows. I probably use one a round, unless I lose it, and through the winter I won’t buy any. I’ll just use the ones I’ve got left over from the summer.

 

How does your season pan out?

The Mid-Am Tour is really what my season is based around. Next year, from the start of April until October, we’ve got a tournament every week. That will either be a 36-hole in one day or 54-holes over two days.

Straight away, there are probably 50 qualifying rounds I can play in.

 

Form is an important thing when you play as many competitions as you do. How do you stay positive when that run of .1s comes along?

I think I’m different to most golfers. I just don’t think I get ‘golfed out’ in the same way other people do. Obviously, if I’ve driven two-and-a-half hours, played 36 holes, shot two rounds in the 80s and then drove home I’m pretty fed up.

But by the time I’ve woken up the next day, I’m mulling over in my brain what it was – I’ve got a bank of about 500 different swing thoughts – convinced myself I know what it was and then I’ll want to get out again the next day and prove myself right or wrong.

I need a day off physically, sometimes, because my back can’t take it but I don’t ever get completely fed up with it. Even this year, where I think I had nine or 10 rounds in a row where I missed the buffer by one shot, which was utterly depressing, I woke up the next day and wanted to try again.

Just recently, I have discovered my form again.

watton

Credit: Getty Images

What’s been the highlight of the last 803 rounds?

When I started my golf crusade, it was to play in Open qualifying, which was at Enville. I missed out but, finally getting down to scratch, I was able to play it at Little Aston. That was my goal from the outset and the most gratifying moment.

I played with Scott Drummond, who won what is now the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth some years back, and that gave me a good sense of achievement.

In golf, as we all know, there’s always the next step or the next shot off the handicap.

By the numbers: Steve Watton

Handicap:

Lowest: 0.0
Highest: 3.7

Competitions by year:

2017: 122 (100 away, 22 at home)
2016: 142 (123 away, 19 at home)
2015: 140 (120 away, 20 at home)
2014: 110 (92 away, 18 at home)
2013: 100 (77 away, 23 at home)
2012: 98 (56 away, 42 at home)
2011: 91 (61 away, 30 at home)

Total: 803 (629 away, 174 at home)

Do you know someone who plays more golf than Steve? Let us know in the comments below, or you can get involved in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.