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Gary WolstenholmeMBE

GARY WOLSTENHOLME MBE | THE OFFICIAL SITE

June Monthly Newsletter 2016

As we draw the curtain down on June I want to tell you that it’s been a strong and positive month all in all, as well as fill you in on what I have been up to generally.

I was at The Celtic Manor resort at the start of the month in the SSE Wales Senior Open, and I believe that it helped me learn a lot about where my game was and what I needed to work on in preparation for a busy next few months. It was the first European Senior Tour event of the year for me, and basically after a shaky start where actually I hit the ball pretty well on a tricky course my game got sharper as the week went on. I finished in Wales with rounds of 76, 71 and 68 for a 31st place which was pretty positive…. and I think gave me confidence as I headed to Channel Islands for the next event the week after. Fortunately I was able to continue the good work when I went down to the Acorn Jersey Open at the famous La Moye Golf Club overlooking the beautiful western coastline of the island.

At La Moye I bumped into a good friend of mine for many years, Des Smyth on the Wednesday afternoon. He gave me some very sage advice which probably gave me the confidence to approach the event with perhaps more a more positive appreciation of my chances than I had prior… “you’ve got this opportunity to show your strengths, and this course suits you down to the ground you’ve just got to go out and take the chance”.

I thought about it, and I felt that actually I was in a stronger position than maybe I had realised. With the fast hard running fairways and responsive true greens, I was able to compete with the rest of the field including numerous Ryder Cup captains, players and major winners. The event is a slightly different format to most European Senior Tour events, and is perhaps the way the tour sees it may need to go in the coming years with a Pro-Am format for the first two rounds of an event. This format meant that I was partnered alongside an amateur for the first round on Thursday then again on for the second round on the Friday before the professionals only compete in the 18 hole finale on the Saturday. 

I was fortunate to be able to have my manager at Champions of Golf, Lloyd Bailey as my playing partner in the Pro-Am. I enjoyed the opportunity to play golf with someone who was wholeheartedly on my side and whom I knew well which made it even more enjoyable. I was really pleased that I actually took that feeling of positivity to score quite nicely in my first round, but should have been significantly better in truth as I didn’t capitalise on some excellent golf that day. However a 71 put me in contention at the end of the first day. Then in the second round I really found my form both in my long game and on the greens, taking more of the opportunities I made for myself to get myself right into contention to win with a second round of 65. I was still trailing, but I knew I was playing well, and confident I could contend on the final afternoon at La Moye.

Interestingly Farmfoods owner and one of my sponsors Eric Herd, who was playing in the event too with Ian Woosnam as his professional said to me before the final round, “….you’ve got to not just be thinking about getting yourself into position, but get yourself into thinking about actually winning!” I liked that thought a lot, and took it with me into the final round! On reflection I think I would have won, barring a triple bogey on the 9th where unfortunately I lost my ball from the tee shot… which was very frustrating as I think in six years I’ve only lost two balls previously! You would think that with the number of people helping me look for my ball it would be almost impossible to lose it, but somehow I did… so after that from leading the event on 12under I slipped back to 9under! This would normally knock any player back badly, but I was able to get myself back into a strong position to win the tournament with birdies at the 11th and 15th holes. However a bad decision off the tee on sixteen cost me yet another shot annoyingly.

So it all came down to a play-off and sadly it wasn’t to be as far as I was concerned. Ian Woosnam and I both lost out to the eventual winner Gordon Manson who, by making birdie at the third playoff hole, took the Jersey title. I personally want to congratulate Gordon on yet another marvellous performance.

On a very positive note for me though, my top 5 finish in Jersey did give me the opportunity to guarantee my place in Switzerland for the next event as with the current qualification process the Senior Tour has adopted I wasn’t certain to play in one of my very favourite events on the schedule, the Swiss Senior Open at Bad Ragaz. 

Jersey is a wonderful place and I can’t endorse the island more. It’s an amazing place to visit whether you want to play a spot of golf or just enjoy a much needed holiday. I would recommend a visit to the island without a shadow of a doubt.

I then went home with a measure of confidence for obvious reasons. I was then due to play the following week the North Region PGA Championship at my home course Carus Green where I have my Academy. There was a little bit of pressure here I think due to the fact that everyone wanted me to do well.

68, 69 were my scores in the Championship which again I was pretty proud of really, but should have been better on reflection… the putter definitely not being as hot as I needed. However these scores gave me a share of 10th place overall. In the big Pro/Am the following day at Carus I eventually got the putter working, shooting a 65 which got me a second place finish…. so I felt in the end I had done pretty decently all in all which hopefully augers well for a successful continuation of my golfing season. The course at Carus was in wonderful condition that week, and was by far the best it has ever been to date. It is a compliment to the green staff’s work who maintain it throughout the year, and in all conditions! Particularly when you consider that the course was literally underwater in December!

I have been working on my game very hard with my coach these last couple of weeks since to get myself as sharp as possible for the next five weeks where I have got; the Swiss Seniors Open, WINSTONgolf Senior Open, The Senior Open Championship and the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship at Nailcote Hall… a very demanding schedule with the rest of my commitments to fit in as well! I am also involved in a sponsors Pure Retirement Golf Day in early July at the beautiful Nailcote Hall, as well as doing a nightly highlights program for Sky Television during the Open Championship from Royal Troon where I won the Amateur Championship some years ago now. Hopefully I can continue my positive run of form for the remainder of the season despite the tough schedule I’m pursuing now.

Interestingly another thing I have been very pleased recently is the new Max Golf Protein drink I’ve been asked to champion, and I genuinely think it is a very good product. Basically I am using it around about the 9th hole on each round, and I think it really helps with regards to my energy, concentration and general physicality during a round…. so many thanks to those guys at Max Golf Protein for introducing me to the product.

So as I’ve said I’m feeling pretty good about the future right now, and I want to take this opportunity to say thank everyone for the support and help I’ve received recently from so many quarters. I have had many, many emails and texts from so many different people about my success in Jersey in particular which certainly gives me a good feeling of how people are interested in my continuing competitive career.

Hopefully I can capitalise on whatever opportunities I now get on into the future, but realise that it will be anything but easy! However with a strong work ethic, support from all of you and a bit of luck too of course hopefully we can all be celebrating more successes on into the future!

Good luck, and I hope your own month has been fun too!

All the best,

Gary

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