Compleat Golfer’s playing editor explains the roles of individuals in the success of a professional golfer’s career.
If you’re one of those people who gets a little ‘envious’ – I’m not sure that’s the right way of saying it, but I hope you know what I mean – about the lives professional golfers lead, I have some words of comfort for you. Sure, there are many highs and the rewards are big when things go your way. We also get to see the world, which we wouldn’t ordinarily do if we had a ‘normal day job’.
People only really see the exterior aspect of our lives. You see us when we’re inside the ropes in tournament play from the Thursday to the Sunday and you might think, ‘Wow, what a life!’
Sure, it is and I always count my blessings and don’t take things for granted. But, there’s also plenty you don’t see. I’ve always taken my role as Compleat Golfer’s playing editor seriously and from the outset I promised to take you into my world.
So, in the spirit of continued ‘access and insight’, I can assure you that the life of a professional golfer can be really lonely at times.
Which means the people with whom you surround yourself have a massive role to play in your career. When I say the people around you, I mean everyone.
I’ve always thought I had two lives – Golfing Brandon and Non-Golfing Brandon. So, let me start with the former and explain the roles of the people around me when it comes to me being ‘at the office’.
You must have a coach who pushes you and drives you to achieve more, but most importantly, that person must want you to succeed. A coach should help make you a better golfer on a daily basis, while also take you under their wing, helping guide you along your journey as a professional golfer.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had some amazing coaches, all of whom have played a massive part in where I am today. So I can’t emphasise strongly enough the role the coach plays in your life as a pro golfer.
It’s vitally important, for the physical and mental wellbeing of a professional golfer, to surround yourself with the right people. I’m sure you’re familiar with numerous examples of how sportspeople have been surrounded with the ‘wrong people’ and how their careers have derailed as a consequence.
Apart from the coach, it’s important to have a good, trusted trainer. What’s the difference between coach and trainer?
The coach makes you become a better golfer. The trainer helps for two main reasons: injury prevention and physical development.
A professional golfer travels the world for over 30 weeks a year, which puts the body under an immense amount of stress, so taking care of your body is incredibly important. I’ve always tried to take care of my body, which is probably why I’ve been relatively injury-free my entire career. Long may that continue!
Then there’s the mental aspect, because what the body does, the mind does tenfold. The mental rollercoaster of a professional golfer’s fortunes will debilitate someone who isn’t used to it. The weekly ‘defeats’, loneliness and self-criticism need to be dealt with, which is why a psychologist helps you cope with life as a professional sportsperson. I’ve always had the need to speak to someone. Sometimes I’ve even had more than one person to help me cope with my golfing persona and the non-golfing one.
The latter is what brings me to possibly the most important people in our existence. The people ‘outside the ropes’ have the biggest impact on our career. That balance between having a ‘normal life’ and a ‘golf life’ is always difficult. Friends and family who are invested in your career and professional dreams are important. It’s these people who can make the difference.
The key here is to ensure those around you want the best for you, not the best for themselves through you.
I’m incredibly blessed to have the most amazing group of people around me. I know they want only the best for me. Those people know who I am, where I am and where I’d like to be. I don’t know where I’d be without them. So, here’s a shout-out to them. They know who they are.
– This article first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!