Our globe-trotting European Tour ambassador, Richie Ramsay, had to self-isolate after returning from season-opening tournaments in the Middle East. Before he travelled out to Kenya, the enforced break after Qatar gave him a chance to reflect on how his approach to golf could translate to other walks of life.
“I’m very good at self-assessment. As a professional golfer, you have to be. As in any walk of life, there are things you can control and equally things that are beyond your power.
When I was younger, I would get very frustrated with things that were uncontrollable, like a bounce kicking left into gorse, or a gust of wind catching your ball and taking it off track to find a bunker or a rubbish lie.
I’m a lot better dealing with that now. It still annoys me but I get over it a lot quicker!
Some people get to a wall and decide they can’t go that way because it is in their path. They turn back. Others see the wall and think how best to negotiate it and continue on their way. Nowadays, when I come up against any sort of obstacle on or off the golf course, I try to handle it more positively, by adapting, having a plan and being able to exert some control over the situation. By doing that, I find it takes a lot of the stress out of the situation. You have a clearer idea of how to progress.
It’s an approach that can be beneficial away from the golf course too, particularly with the pandemic throwing up so many challenges for us all. There are enough problems in life without adding in the ones you simply can’t control. It becomes very stressful. It’s something you have to work on, it doesn’t come easily.
People talk about an X-factor in sport and the likes of Tiger Woods certainly has it. The top players can play their best under pressure. It’s about conquering your mind and freeing yourself up to hit the right shots at the right time.
The same can apply to an amateur who is in with a chance of winning the club medal – or in your own line of business. Of course, you have to be right physically for a sporting challenge, but this is more about your mental state, the confidence and attitude you bring to your game.
When I was younger, I used to think getting annoyed was actually quite good as it would gee me up. I would get criticised in some quarters – by people who didn’t know me, who had never spent a day with me and who had no idea what was going on in my life off the golf course. But you mature naturally with getting older, and I’ve made a conscious effort to listen to the people around me whom I trust and who really know me.
I put a lot into my golf, of course I do, but I appreciate now that it isn’t the be all and end all. I used to like to do everything myself, in my own way.
I enjoy speaking to people at pro-am events and understand that they have a strong emotional attachment to their own business – and golf is my business. I see some people who try to do everything and end up getting nothing done.
Delegating is so important – I have learned that from other walks of life. So I look to identify the good people who are valuable assets and let them get on with what they are good at. Whether I’m looking for a physiotherapist to work on my body or a short game coach, I speak to friends and contacts whose judgement I trust and draw up a shortlist.
Ultimately, though, you have to make up your own mind and find someone you can enjoy a close relationship with to take things forward. You can’t take everything on your shoulders, you come to appreciate there are people out there who are good at what they do and sometimes it makes sense to rely on them.
I suppose that sums-up my relationship with the team at Carbon.
I went with a different financial company initially, even though I had spoken to Carbon. In hindsight, that proved to be the wrong decision but, as in golf, I look to learn from my mistakes.
Sometimes, to get to the top of the mountain you have to take a step or two backwards. Everyone makes mistakes, but the key is to learn and move forward, rather than making the same mistake over and over again.”
Read Richie's previous blogs "The 2021 European Tour: 42 tournaments in 24 countries" and "European Tour ambassador Richie Ramsay reflects on a year in Lockdown".
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