Posts Tagged 'EGU'

To flow or not to flow

This morning was an interesting one. I visited Lincoln University to have a good look at their facilities and to find out what opportunities there might be to work together. Once again I am quite struck by the facilities and possibilities that are often so hidden within the university world. There is no doubt that times are changing and universities are pushed to find not just other sources of income than the public sector funding, but also other areas of society that have an interest for what they do. This can only be a good thing – for students and universities because it brings them closer to ‘real life’ and for organisations and companies, such as the EGU, that have every chance to access knowledge and intelligence that the otherwise would not come anywhere near. This makes me think (again) about Finnish neuro-reasercher Matti Bergstrom and his book Neuropedagogy. One of Bergstrom’s thoughts is that schools should really be built in the middle of communities or towns where there is a constant flow of people in and out. Other central parts of the community such as the police station, the library, the supermarket etc should be natural parts of the school as wherever there is flow there is new ideas. Have you ever walked into a school building and had that feeling that there has not been a new idea there in at least the last 20 years?

There are of course companies and work places that give you that same feeling, not to talk about certain activities and sports. I am convinced that the more we bring things closer together the better it will be!

Reflections of an autumn morning

As I wake up to an absolutely glorious September morning I come to think about golf’s calendar. Yes, I know that is sad but the bug of golf tends to do things like that to us. My thinking is that the weather in general is good for golf at this time of the year, the courses are never better and yet there is so little competitive golf to play in the amateur game. In the professional world the PGA Tour conclude with the Tour Championships next week, without Tiger Woods for the first time. In Europe the fight for next year’s cards is hardening and the Race to Dubai has yet to reach its climax. If there will be one that is. The Ryder Cup in early October should mean that the pro game feels interesting for a bit longer as at other times I remember the distinct feeling of ‘the party is over’ after the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Whether October in Wales will have any resemblance of a party remains to be seen I guess.

To come back to the amateur calendar I fail to understand why it is like this. We cannot wait to get started in the spring when temperatures are still freezing cold and the grass on the greens really has not started growing. In the summer any decent amateur can find about three tournaments a week to play in but come the end of August it is like somebody has pulled the plug once and for all. Hibernation sets in!

This of course is not in the best interest of the developing players and needs addressing. Perhaps something for the EU to get involved in???

The noble art of preparation

Tommy Fleetwood

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.

Freedom from fear

A number of years ago now I attended a seminar in Phoenix, AZ, around the Intelligence of Play. One of the speakers was a guy named James Durlacher. If I am not completely mistaking, one of his books is called ‘Freedom from fear forever’. As my journeys this summer have taken me to the Amateur Championship, the European Championship, the Open and now the English Challenge at Stoke by Nayland I come to think about this phrase again – Freedom from fear. I wonder how many golfers can hit their shots without fear and I wonder how much of a difference it would make if they could?

What I see in many of these young golfers I am afraid is a lot of fear. And it does not seem to get any better as they get older. In fact it is the other way around. I guess when money is tight, you have a mortgage to pay and wife and two kids waiting at home, it is not the best formula to be free from fear on the golf course. I have seen one player this summer though who seems to be able to do it. An Italian player in the team that England played in the semi-final of the European Championships. Nino Bertasio probably hasn’t yet got a mortgage to pay but he has the shortgame of a magician and for now that appears to be enough. In all honesty I have never seen anything like it but I would imagine that Seve at his best was something similar. If you are confident that you can get it up and down from just about any position around the green, including the famous ball washer, then I do not think there is that much to worry about. Seve’s perhaps most famous shot came from a parking lot in the Open and he hit that with the same level of confidence as I see Nino play his shots with at Österåkers Golf Club some 30 years later. Not since those days of Seve have I seen a player that so obviously expects to hole it everytime he is in a bunker. Nino will soon be on a tour somewhere and it will be incredibly interesting to follow what that does to him!

And then starts a new tournament

The two England Teams made it comfortably into the top flight in the respective European Championships, Men’s in Sweden and the Boys’ in Turkey. Scoring in both places were higher today and with the team out in Sweden shooting +9 for the day the team parked in 3rd position going into tomorrow’s match play stages. Laurie Canter was the low scorer for the day with his level par 72. A round that held no less than seven birdies! Laurie tied with Chris Paisley in the individual aggregate scoring. Chris was 3 over today left which left him on one under for the 36 hole total, just like Canter.

In the boys’ event in Turkey the tendencies were similar with higher scoring today. Chris Lloyd defended his opening 64 with a level par, 72, round. Englishman of the day was instead Nick Newbold on 5 under, 67.

England now go in the quarter finals, in Sweden against Finland and in Turkey against Italy. Find the scoring here (men) and here (boys).

Golf’s marathon weeks

After a bit of adventurous travelling the England Teams have arrived at their respective venues. England Boys had a bit of trouble with the air traffic controls and ended up arriving in Turkey at 2 o’clock in the morning. Tommy Fleetwood perhaps had the most challenging journey as he traveled via Paris where he competed in the French Open at Golf National. Only a water visit on the 18th on the second day kept Tommy from playing over the weekend and this meant that he could travel back to Heathrow on the Saturday morning and catch up with the rest of the England Team on their flight out to Stockholm, Sweden.

Tommy came to Stockholm with a bit of a lesson learned in the noble art of not giving up. Tommy played the first two rounds with Mark Foster who started out with a not so impressive 76. One day and another 63 (!) shots later though he was right back in the mix for the event. Mark shot 70 in the third round and as I write this he is 4 under in a tied for 6th in the final round. That is a performance of a true professional!

The European Championships, Boys and Men, start on Tuesday in Turkey and Sweden. If you want to follow the boys then go to Brian Roake’s excellent England Boys News. The men I will try to keep track of here and of course you can follow the official scoring etc by clicking here.

From great to… not so great!

Golf is an interesting sport. The difference from one day to another can be like night and day. Most hobby golfers would know this from personal experience but even most elite players will probably share this experience. I was at the EGU South Eastern Boys Qualifier the other day. A fantastic event I have to say, where the 11 counties of the South East come with their top 6 under 18 players to try to qualify for the County Finals. 5 out of 6 scores count each round and no doubt there is a bit of pressure on to put good scores on the door. Towards the end of the day I ended up in a discussion with a couple of people around “why is it that a scratch golfer is all of a sudden a 10 hcp?”. Great question! Usain Bolt or any other top athlete in most other sports would very seldom show that kind of discrepancy from one day to another.

Looking at the results from Celtic Manor it is easy to see that Chris Wood had a very similar experience. A fantastic 65 in the first round to something a lot less special on the second day that saw him sink like a stone on the leaderboard. To me this is the great beauty of golf! The combination of physical attributes that will help you hit all the shots you can think of and the mental demands that are unlike most other sports. All it takes is a decision that is not quite 100%, a failure to commit to a decision that could have been right or one little distraction that gets to you at the wrong moment. This means a missed putt, a missed fairway or an unfortunate penalty shot. From there the viscous circle can get started. Every now and then though you will be able to break this circle. The key is to find out what you did then. If you don’t know – try to look at or speak to somebody else and steal his or her recipe!

To follow some of the action this weekend click the below links:

St Andrews Links Trophy 2010

Wales Open

Memorial Tournament

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