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Sunshine break perfect preparation for the Open

It's never great when you arrive home on a Saturday; you know the week didn't go according to plan when you do.  We'd driven back home in the rain and had got soaked out on Tour for the last 3 weeks so I decided a few days in the sunshine was what I needed to try and help me relax before the preparations for the Open began in earnest.  Bev looked up last minute flights and hotels and we were back in the car headed to Gatwick with a few clean clothes about 3 hours after we'd arrived home in Ascot.

The south of Spain was hot and sunny - perfect to help me forget about Paris. It was much busier on the beach than I anticipated, I thought Spain was broke but it doesn't seem to be around Alicante.  There were so many people and so many huge expensive cars, unbelievable!  We managed to watch the Wimbledon men's' final in an Irish bar with some really bad rock music instead of match commentary, it was a little weird! But I was glad to be able to walk out into the sunshine when it was all over.  Despite the music the atmosphere was amazing though, all the English folk there on holiday were hoping Murray could win.  I'm not sure the Scots would have been so supportive if it had been an English guy!  Shame he couldn't capitalize on the great start, Bev had started to tear up during his speech at the end so we had to leave sharpish!

The hotel was set on a golf course well away from the beach, our 4 days were spent swimming, jogging and eating tapas, trying to relax before the work with the clubs when I got back home on Wednesday.  Basically we tried to spend as little time inside the hotel as the smell of the drains was overpowering!  The glamorous side of last minute golf trips!

True to form we arrived back into Gatwick in the midst of the most amazing thunderstorm, it was like the movie Perfect Storm with the huge clouds and all the lightening.  I had expected a bumpy landing but the pilot set the plane down gently without any wobbles.  The best bit was arriving home to find a box of Tayto Cheese & Onion Crisps delivered straight from Tandragee! I was so happy!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent at the Wisley trying to perfect the fade swing I've been working on.  Jamie's latest drill involves Bev standing behind me with an umbrella on my left hip, it helps me remember to pivot and clear my hips rather than letting them slide to the target as I've always done in the past.  It's a hazardous job but someone has to do it!  At least she gets a reprieve from standing down the range lasering how far I've hit the ball, sometimes when I've got a little bored I've used her as the target. We spent at least 2 hours every day on the range in the rain, a little depressing after the sun in Spain but it needed to be done. 

I also spent a lot of time on the short game area, practicing my new drills from Phil on my putting and then Bev grabbed my bag of practice Titleist balls and threw them around the chipping area, trying to find different lies in the rough, on the slopes etc.  I had to nominate my targets and if I wasn't close enough there was a financial forfeit!  There were plenty of good ones but not enough bad ones for the dress she was after though!  We also practiced plugged lies in the green-side and fairway bunkers, although I'm not planning on getting into many of them at the Open as some of the bunkers at Royal Lytham and St Anne's are huge.   I also spent a lot of time practicing the bump and run shot which is needed on the links style courses - it was hard to really get a feel for it properly on the wet chipping area at the Wisley but hopefully I've done enough to get the feel going.
I'm really looking forward to my first Major as a Professional next week; I've only ever played in 2 before now both were invites gained by winning the British Amateur Championship back in 2001.  The Open was at Royal Lytham and St Anne's then too and I missed the cut, I'm hoping for a better result this year.