In this week’s Players Blog brought to you by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Jordan Smith reflects on his last visit to Al Hamra Golf Club, changes to his game and why he feels so positive about this season.
Jordan Smith, statements
Coming back to Al Hamra this week brings back a lot of great memories and feelings as it was such a special week for me to win the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge before moving on to the DP World Tour.
Before coming back here, all I remembered clearly was the last hole, the par five and the way we played it, and of course tapping to win. It was probably more the emotional memories I had that stood out because I won with my witness, who was my caddy at the time, and it was also his first win with me.
But when I arrived, everything came back to the surface. I told my caddy as we did some holes on Tuesday that I remember every hole now. I think I just needed something to trigger my brain to bring those memories back, and it all seems very similar back then.
Every time you come back to a place where you won before, it helps you take good feelings into the week. It was a Challenge Tour event and the circumstances were very different, but knowing that I won on this course with a very good score definitely helps me gain confidence, especially now that those memories are coming back to me and are with me. front of my brain.
It also helps that I’ve already had a good few weeks here in the Middle East, so I’m feeling really positive. When I think back to that week now, it’s almost a bit surreal, because it was part of an incredibly quick start for me as a professional.
I had spent a year on the EuroPro Tour and won the Order of Merit, and then winning that event helped me climb to the top of the Challenge Tour leaderboard – which I won the following week, on my first year. The following season I won on the now DP World Tour and had a top 10 in a Major, and I felt like everything was going so well.
I was just doing my thing, I had no mental scars because everything was new, and I just didn’t have any worries – that’s probably why I had this rapid tendency. This learning curve of being a professional golfer happened later for me.
The last few years haven’t been on the same trajectory, and to be honest, it wouldn’t have been smart to think they were going to be. In less than three years, I’ve gone from EuroPro to winning here and competing in a Major, and when things are going so well there always comes a time when it ends up not being so easy.
I think that’s a pretty typical story for a lot of guys here, and I think that’s why you see so many guys coming straight out of the Challenge Tour and winning their freshman year – and then no more for a moment.
When you first come here everything is brand new, you are brimming with confidence and you don’t have the same backlog of negative memories when things don’t go your way the week before or at a tournament previous. year.
You haven’t really had time to be tested yet, and when that happens, you need to be able to reassess things. I think the biggest lesson I had to learn was when things weren’t going my way. I knew I was going to have this down trend eventually, but it was all about getting back up when it happened.
It took me a while to learn some things that weren’t right and figure out what I needed to change and improve in my golf, but I feel like I’ve definitely done that this year. It’s not always huge changes, but learning from things that aren’t working and looking at stats and results and realizing what needed to change.
I always start the year with a new black notebook, and I always outline my goals for that year. It’s been a great way for me to reassess the way I do things, especially in anticipation of this year. I usually get a new book on the way home from the final tournament of the year and write my goals in it on the flight home so they are fresh in my head for the following year.
Goals could be to get into the top 100 in the world, or reach the DP World Tour Finals, or get my putting stats on the green, something like that. I’ll have the book with me most of the time, whether in my golf bag or travel bag, and fill it up throughout the year with things like Trackman tests, grades, distances , clubs or a ball that we could have tested.
There are a lot of numbers. I probably set myself 8 or 10 goals and I don’t look at them until the end of the year, and if we haven’t reached them, we could set the same goal for the following year. I don’t always achieve them, but it’s good to have them around to have things to work on and strive for in a new year, and that’s what I’m doing this year.
I’ve been on a downward trend for a few years, and I feel like I’m going into this year with a lot of positivity and confidence, after making some changes. *Last year was the first time I didn’t make the DP World Tour final and I was really upset about that, and the year before we didn’t finish as high as the previous year, so we knew something had to change.
I still felt like I was working just as hard as in previous years and the swing was good, but the results weren’t coming. It was a frustrating place, and you never know how it will turn out, but we were convinced that making some changes was going to be a good thing.* And while one thing that has always been important to me is to having a team that stays pretty much the same, another thing that I’ve changed this year is my caddy.
I like to keep people on my team that I’m friendly and have a good laugh with because I think that’s important when you’re on tour for weeks at a time. That’s why I’ve been with my coach since I started playing, and my physical trainer since I turned professional.
I think one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make was to stop working with Harry as a caddy, who is my best man. We had been together for four and a half years since halfway through my season on the Challenge Tour, and it had just come to this point.
We weren’t arguing but we had disagreements on the golf course, and I didn’t want that to affect our friendship, so it had to end.