Each month, Compleat Golfer’s playing editor takes us into his world. This month he explains his love for whisky.
This past month, I was fortunate enough to visit one of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries, GlenDronach, and it got me thinking. I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between whisky distilleries and professional golf.
It was fascinating to see how much goes on behind the scenes, much like golf. Now I’m not going to go through every step, because that would fill this entire issue, but the number of processes that happen before the spirit is even put into a barrel is astounding. Much like when you develop your golf game – it’s not glamorous, it doesn’t smell good, it’s sometimes painful. It’s countless hours of what may seem mundane tasks – but crucial to your game – like holing thousands of putts on the putting green. However, each task is carried out with precision in order to make sure the product is perfect, like when you’re doing your swing drills on the range.
This ‘behind the scenes’ part of the process is often overlooked by the outside world. But without it, you wouldn’t have what you have at the end. Being focused and dedicated when no one can see you is the most important thing in professional golf. You constantly need to keep the end product in mind, whether that be getting your Sunshine Tour card or winning The Masters, never lose sight of the goal.
Once the spirit is ready to be barrelled you need to decide which barrel it will go into. Will it be a port cask, sherry cask or maybe an American oak cask? This is much like choosing where you’ll play during your career.
While no one barrel is better than another, it’s all about what you prefer, but making that decision makes a massive difference in the long run. The same about the Tours. While playing on the PGA Tour may seem like the pinnacle, maybe it’s not for you. Maybe you want to travel the world on the DP World Tour? Or maybe you know you don’t travel well and you want to stay in SA. None of these are bad options but whatever you decide, that decision will impact your career five or even 10 years from now.
That’s why I’ve always believed being able to have a high self-understanding is crucial for anyone who wants to play professional golf.
Once you’ve gone through all the processes and you’ve selected your barrel, it comes down to patience. Allowing the spirit to mature with age and become the heavenly liquid that is single malt whisky.
In golf, the same. Allowing yourself to mature as a player over time. Not only within your game, but also as a person. Travelling on Tour is the greatest way to mature as a person. Meeting new people, learning new things and seeing new places is what life on the road is all about. So, being able to embrace these aspects is crucial.
And when the time to bottle comes, and you’re holding that trophy above your head, only you will know what went into making that happen. So sit back and enjoy every taste and smell. Knowing it was all worth it.
– This column first appeared in the September 2023 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.