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Gary WolstenholmeMBE

GARY WOLSTENHOLME MBE | THE OFFICIAL SITE

August Monthly Newsletter 2016

I can’t quite believe that we are already saying goodbye to August, and greeting the start of the Autumnal Season… how time flies when you’re so focused on your goal! However before we bid adieu to August I have some interesting moments that I would like to share with you in such a busy month all in all.

I ended my newsletter last month on a high from the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship in which I believe I performed pretty well, and I certainly felt that my short game benefitted from the experience if nothing else which is one of the many benefits of par 3 golf I believe.

I also mentioned in my July newsletter that I was looking forward to a couple of weeks off following the hectic July schedule to regroup. So at the start of August I had a couple of weeks to generally work on my game as well as plan the rest of the season which is always welcome without the constant stress of competition where I am expected to maintain a constant high level of attainment every time I play. As I’ve explained previously it’s tough to have to stay completely on a high level of performance, and it was certainly a great help I believe to have a period of reflection and focus on how to try to improve.

During that “off period” I did play a Pro Am at Lancaster Golf Club – a most enjoyable golf course and one of my favourite venues in the region. Despite the wind picking up making play difficult that day I finished up shooting 68 (-3) to win by 2 shots from a strong field of PGA North Region pros which was a confidence boosting victory going into the final third of the year. The success at Lancaster proved that my game wasn’t far from where I needed it to be to challenge for a much more secure place on the Senior Tour next year from where my position is currently this year… which has been very uncertain even from tournament to tournament as to whether I even play. I played with Graham Curtin, Maurice Cotter and Paul Aplin who are all members at Carus Green, so that was a fun experience for me as well playing with friends from home.

Following that success I travelled to the excellent Archerfield Links Golf Club in preparation for the Scottish Senior Open which I qualified to play in fortunately through an invite which was a big relief at this crucial stage in the season. I was also able to stay and play some golf with a very good friend of mine Alan Chainey at North Berwick and played there on the wonderful West Links Golf Course one day as well during the week which was good preparation for the tournament as it was as ever a very competitive match against Dave Warren & Joe Gillan.

Archerfield is a truly wonderful set up and DJ Russell has created two superb courses there the Dirlton and the Fidra. The surroundings are breathtaking too, it is a wonderful part of the world and if you are ever thinking of going on a holiday to Scotland I would highly recommend the Berwick area.

While I was up in Scotland I also took the time out of my busy schedule to do a bit of junior coaching too both at our event, and for a friend Dave Warren supporting local juniors. I believe it is important to put something back into the game that has given me so much and there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing someone else is hopefully benefiting from my expertise. It is something that only takes an hour or so, but just like the other charities we work with, it is a very worthwhile cause for the future.                     

The cool weather once again was not particularly in my favour on a long course with strong winds effecting everyone’s game on the Fidra course at Archerfield for the main event, but I managed to overcome that hurdle and shot 69, 68, 71 and finished in a tie for 5th place just a couple of shots off the pace of Paul Eales the eventual winner… very well done Paul! I was delighted with that result as at the beginning of the week I knew that if I could get a top five then it would get me automatically into the next tournament guaranteed. Not a fun situation to find yourself in, but pleasing that you can on occasion rise to the challenge against an ever improving standard of competitor on the Senior Tour. I truly love to play on the Senior Tour, and will always try to do everything possible to stay competing there. However it’s certainly not easy to do so with the ever improving standards being set each year!  

Anyway following that 5th place position as I’ve said I secured my place in the Willow Senior Golf Classic at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club the following week. Hanbury is a little beauty of a golf course, with a great variety of holes but certainly favours the bigger hitters as there was little real rough off the fairways, and very soft receptive greens. For this event I was of course a late entrant only getting in on Sunday evening the week before therefore I wasn’t in either Pro-Am on the Wednesday or Thursday, and therefore had to squeeze in whatever little practice I could on the course before the main event with the limited time available outside of the Pro/Am times… as with all the driving between events, and the pressure of needing to succeed etc. each week meant I was pretty tired mentally, so I tried to manage my time as effectively as possible. Unfortunately despite my best efforts I suffered a difficult week at Hanbury shooting rounds of 76 (including a 9 of all things on the 15th! I can’t even remember ever having anything more than a 7 before that.), 72 and 74 to finish the event in a tie for 46th position…definitely not good enough! This was a huge disappointment after having recorded three top 5 finishes already in 2016 as well as a top 30 at the Senior Open Championship! Still you try to learn from the experience, and you just have to dust yourself off and “get back into the saddle”

However I still remain inside the top 15 on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit despite this hiccup, and will continue as I’ve said to bid to earn back full playing privileges on tour for the 2017 season?  To do so I need to finish inside the top 20 by the end of season following the conclusion of the MCB Tour Championships in December…a tall order, but after my pretty successful start to the season it’s certainly not impossible.

However putting the disappointment aside of Hanbury, and looking to the future I had some great news this month in that I received an invite to the Paris Legends Championship Tournament which is taking place from the 9th-11th September. I am really looking forward to that and will undoubtedly be spending a lot of time preparing for that in the upcoming days, and I’m also hoping to get into the Travis Perkins at Woburn next week as well off my ranking as I was informed that there was no chance of an invite regardless of my current position on the OoM of 14th which many of my friends feel is somewhat incongruous considering the circumstances.  

The waiting game continues though as I am also yet to hear whether I have secured a place in the Senior Italian Open which is taking place from 21st-23rd October. I will find out mid-September I guess, so I will be able to let you know in the next newsletter perhaps.

Overall as August comes to a close I feel as though my game is not too far away from where it needs to be, and I just need to continue to play enough competitive golf to keep the game sharp through the remaining months. It’s also all about determination, as well as constantly working on my game, and then try to see where I can improve. Golf really is a “work in progress” no matter what level you are! Interestingly I’ve met up with the guys from Accra a top shaft production company in the hope of finding that “little something” which might just help my game… but only time will tell.

Hopefully next month I’ll have some good news all round, and I hope that you are keeping well and enjoying the game however you participate.

Best wishes as always,

Gary

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