By Steven Jeffress
Not much has happened over the last month in the way of tournament golf. As a golf Professional this is part of the job, so it’s a training month which has been going well. I’ve been practicing hard and been back at the gym so everything is feeling great. Most of my focus with my coach Ben has been on the putting green, with a fairly big change in my putting routine. I’m working on shortening the time it takes to hit a putt. Hopefully this will let me flow a little better and hole more putts!
Rather than bore you with my practice habits, I thought I would talk a bit about why golf is such a great game and a couple of past experiences that I have had that makes me love this game. It’s been amazing to think of the people that I have met and the places I have seen due to my golfing career. My number one experience would have to be when I played Augusta. For those of you who don’t know how I ever got the opportunity to play Augusta here what happened.
I played in the 2012 New Zealand Open and was lucky enough to paired with a gentleman from the United States, Pat Battle. Straight away from the 1st hole we clicked. I had no idea until about the 5th hole that he was a member of Augusta National, but we were just playing having a great time. When I did find out where he played I proceeded to ask a thousand questions! I still am in contact with Pat and can have a hit at Augusta anytime that I’m over in the states.
This is a perfect example of what golf can do and the opportunities it can give you. You never know who you are playing with or the experiences they have had. I also met some interesting people while at Augusta. There was an English gentleman, who’s name I can’t remember that was the only person in the world to be a member at Augusta and Wimbledon Tennis club. How awesome is that! Having Rob Beecher and Robbie Bennetts playing along with me was also special. Rob broke 90 both days off the men’s tees and Robbie made birdie on the 12th hole the first time he played it. I think that story has come out a couple of times at dinners!
Qualifying for the Open Championship in 2013 was a close second to Augusta. For a guy from Port Macquarie who had never been to a major championship, to playing in the oldest, not only major, but tournament in the world. To think, only 1 year before my game was in such bad shape, I almost gave the game up. I remember struggling to swing through past my left hip. If I had of given it up, I would have never had this experience.
The majors were unbelievable. From the crowds at the practice rounds, right through to some of the players that I met. Guys that I have watched for years on TV, like Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and one of the greats, Gary player. Once again to have my support crew Rob Beecher, Robbie Bennetts and Jeff Lloyd with me to experience it, along with my mum is something I’ll never forget. Thinking back to when I was struggling, it was my support crew and friends that helped me through this time. Golf has such a strong circle of support. I’m sure other sports have a similar thing but in my experience if you're struggling, other golfers will help out to get you back on your feet.
If you had of asked me with four holes to go at the 2014 Fiji International; would I have been happy to finish second and win a good cheque? I would have said yes. But how wrong would I have been! The awesome journey that I went on after winning would not have happened if I had finished second.
Without golf I don’t think that I would have ever had the opportunity to play with or even meet some of the world’s most famous people. These are only three stories of how golf has changed my life. I have hundreds more and have friends that I never knew before golf, not only all over Australia, but the world. My advice to everyone is get out there and play different courses with different people as you never know who or what may come out of it. That’s where the Qantas Golf Club is awesome.
Qantas Golf Club run events all around the country, and the world, where you can see new places and play new courses. For me, I have played a large majority of courses in Australia, but always love playing somewhere I haven’t been. It's exciting walking up onto a hole that you have never played before. You can compete against other club golfers for some great prizes and like in my case, meet new life long friends. I have been involved in a couple of Qantas Golf Club events and think that they are on the money. Combining golf, great destinations and people that love the game.
It’s going to be a busy couple of months with seven events in eight weeks. I start down at the Victorian PGA Championship, an event that I won in 2006. After a couple of weeks in Melbourne, I head to Perth, then Sydney, two weeks in New Zealand, finishing up in sunny Queensland for the Queensland PGA. The game feels great so who knows, there maybe a win in there somewhere!