Read Golf Monthly's new playing editor Eddie Pepperell's first column
Eddie Pepperell Column: My Journey To Becoming A Professional
Hello everyone, and welcome to my first Golf Monthly column.
With time on my hands, it seemed as good a time as any to start one.
There’s not much golf to comment on at this moment in time, but hopefully we won’t come off the rails too soon.
I know it’s been a fairly odd existence for everyone of late and I’ve been trying to keep myself busy to make the time pass.
That said, it hasn’t gone as slowly as I was expecting, but walking the dogs, training, eating and sleeping is basically all I have to show for the last few weeks.
I have a putting green in one of the bedrooms, but I haven’t hit a golf shot for a couple of months now.
I took four weeks off last year because of a back injury and when I came back it was the best I’d played all year, so I’m not overly concerned.
But I do wonder at what point you cross over into the realm of too much time off.
I’m certainly looking forward to hitting some balls again when it’s safe and responsible to do so.
The time off has naturally given some time for reflection, and with this being my first column, I thought it sensible to start with my early golfing career.
My dad got me and my brother into golf when I was four or five, and I used to play on a par-3 course at Drayton Park – that place holds a lot of my early memories.
I remember getting angry once because I had played poorly or wanted to play again and my dad wouldn’t let me, so I threw all my clubs out of the bag in protest and filled it up with sand!
I clearly loved the game and spent endless hours at that place.
I was around sport, and particularly golf, all through my childhood.
I had amazing accessibility and I do think that’s a common theme in the childhoods of many professional sportspeople.
From what I understand, I was fairly good from a young age, as was my brother, Joe, who’s now head pro at Oxford Golf Club.
The notion of natural talent and a proclivity for something is an interesting subject to me.
We used to travel to tournaments together and we’d sometimes have to stop on the way so he could be sick.
When assessing what separated our playing careers, this could have been one of the factors.
I imagine it’s hard to keep going when that’s your default reaction to nerves – something we all feel.
I think my personality and character were already apparent at that point.
I was seemingly quite single-minded and fairly temperamental – not in a terrible way, but I suppose I had a bit of an edge for quite a young kid.
I won this event called the ‘Wee Wonders’ when I was 12, which was a pretty big deal at the time, and then the Reed Trophy (English U-14s).
Tom Lewis came second or third – Tom beat me in the final of the British Boys – and Tommy Fleetwood was playing, too.
Those were probably the highlights of my junior career, along with playing for England.
I once remember playing Matteo Manassero in the European Boys’ Match Play and our game decided which country progressed.
It came down to the 20th hole and I birdied to win it.
He was quite upset and launched his putter about 40 yards!
He’s such a nice guy, but it showed he also had an edge at that age.
The prospect of potentially pursuing a career as a professional didn’t come on the radar until quite late.
My amateur golf occupied my mind for a long time, until I got a bit disillusioned with it all around 2011.
I’d been around the whole system for a long time and I changed a lot around the winter of 2010/11 – I started reading books and had a lot of ideas going through my mind.
I began building my own philosophies around practice and became even more individually minded.
As great as the England set-up was, and I loved it, maybe I didn’t feel the environment was necessarily for me at that time.
There was an element of constraint and I’ve never been one to like authority very much, so I think I rebelled a little bit.
As 2011 wore on, I just felt done with all the amateur stuff and decided to turn professional, which started another chapter in my life.
Eddie’s first GM column was originally printed in the July 2020 issue of Golf Monthly. He writes a column every month.
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