I’m actually spending more time in the gym running, working on strength and flexibility than I am walking the golf course these days. So when I was invited to play with two competitive buddies of mine from twenty years back along with the Director of Golf at Monte Rei, I jumped at the chance.

Knowing that my game was a little rusty, the opportunity to pitch my game against two tried and tested players who would easily fall into the category of peers, was something which kept me away from a tipple on a Saturday night. Also knowing that the course is easily the best golfing experience in the Algarve, needless to say my clubs were clean, balls were marked and my favourite ball marker packed away. Truly showing the excitement was present.

It was the anticipation, excitement which every player has prior to a game which means something. No matter how experienced you are, the game is timeless in this respect. You never know what you are going to get all set against the backdrop of knowing that this is precious time to be treasured. So regardless of how you play; a horrible time on the course will always beat a good day in the office.
Well I stank! It was a truly terrible performance on my behalf. I lost more balls, hit less greens and three putted more times than I care to remember. Thank goodness my partner and I dovetailed our performance otherwise our four and three defeat would have been much, much worse.

But the whole purpose of the article this week is to explain the review process which I have gone through over the past twenty-four hours, which is an area which separates the more experienced competitive player from the club player.

I am actually more enthused about the performance than I could ever have imagined, because I know that is the worst I can play with a healthy body and a very rusty golf game. If I engage in a process of diligent practice combined with regular play the hibernation funk my game is currently in, will slowly wake up.

This conclusion is accurate because the process of doing the leg work, hitting balls, analysing my weaknesses and then improving them has always worked in the past. Something which the club player often misses. The leg work, or the hard yards as they say in the NFL, have to be covered.

If the Portugal Masters is part of your itinerary this week, make sure while you are watching the players do what they do best you realise these are not gods you are watching. Incredible creatures which can magically control animate objects they are not. They are very hard working athletes, in great physical shape (normally), who have invested thousands of hours into their games. Granted they were born with an aptitude for the sport but hard work, dedication and coaching has taken them the rest of the way.

It’s a journey which every professional, no matter their field of expertise, has travelled. It’s really understanding where you stand and what it takes to make the next step up. How much effort directed in which direction is the key.

This is what makes you, me and them kindred spirits. We all want the same result, a better performance, a lower handicap or even a handicap. It’s getting to grips with the work which will take you there that is the fun part of the journey.