For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the million dollar question of how to best prepare for a golf tournament in order to peak your performance. Athletes in all sports spend hours, days, weeks and months to try to find out what is right for them and it seems like most sports have come a lot further than golf and golfers. A simple excuse that is often used is that golf is so different from other sports as it is much more complex. It is physical in that you play over four days plus practice days in sometimes exhausting heat, but it is nothing like a marathon or a cross-country ski race. It is psychologically demanding in that every shot takes a more or less difficult decision and successful execution of that decision means sticking to it like there is no tomorrow. But then again, it is probably nothing compared to shooting or archery. Golf is tactical as it most of the time is you against the course but then again, what sport at the highest level is not tactically demanding?
I am sure that many other sports would fall under the same category and be just as complex as golf. Perhaps that is also what makes them so interesting and unpredictable. I do seriously also wonder if there is any other way to properly prepare for those sports than to play the sport itself. The Swedish professional, Daniel Chopra, once played 40 tournaments/weeks in a year. When I asked him why he did that he said:-
“That is why I turned professional. I enjoy playing.”
Tommy Fleetwood, England, Lancashire and Formby Hall, is en route to something similar. His schedule from early June has been more than intense. Starting with the Amateur Championship which is not exactly a normal event with 36 holes of qualifying followed by 36 holes of match play per day for as long as you are in the Championship, he then flew out to France to compete in the qualifying for the French Open (yes, he won that one nicely…). Tommy then came back to England for the Brabazon Trophy after which he returned to France for the French Open. A missed cut there meant he could return to Heathrow to catch up with his mates on the flight out to the European Championships in Sweden. The Europeans is certainly not a normal week either and with Tommy being the leading player on the team it had him playing no less than 180 holes over the seven days of practice and competition.
By now we have made it to the Open Championship week and Tommy actually has a week off. This lead him into the English Challenge at Stoke by Nayland, his first crack at a Challenge Tour event. After four days of competition there Tommy finished second, only to jet off to the English Amateur where he teed it up in the morning the day after for the first of the two qualifying rounds. 6 rounds later Tommy is playing the semi final at Little Aston this afternoon, against fellow European Champion Tom Lewis.
Of course a schedule like this cannot go on forever. The worst case scenario is obviously that it leaves Tommy in burnout, with Glandular Fever or something similar. Having said that though, in any walk of life, if you want to be good at something, the basic rule is to make sure that you do it a lot. If there is any truth to that Tommy has got a bright future!
Follow the final matches of the English Amateur here.