Tommy Fleetwood Blog: Change for the better

Tommy Fleetwood
Tommy Fleetwood hits a shot from a greenside bunker on the 15th hole during the third round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes you just have to shake things up and after a couple of big changes recently I am feeling upbeat again

Tommy Fleetwood Blog: Change for the better

There has been a lot of change in my world over recent months what with a new management company and a new coach, and I’m really pleased how things are going on both these fronts.

Let’s start with the coach. That change came about because I’d been struggling for a little bit and felt I didn’t really have any direction to go in on my own. I did have a short-game coach before – Jamie Spence – but now I’ve started seeing Pete Cowen and Mike Walker.

The big wake-up call was when I played a practice round at Doral with Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson. They both work with Pete, and as he was wandering round with them, I watched what they were doing.

My game was terrible at the time, as I told you last month, but when you see the best players in the world up close like that… well, I could see that I was a long way behind them. They’re where I want to be, and you’ve got to be honest and realistic with yourself as to how you’re going to get to where they are. So the change was needed really.

I think it was just a time when I needed to know what to do, and needed some guidance. To be able to work with Pete Cowen is a luxury – he doesn’t have that many players any more, and he’s given so much to the game. So we asked, and when he agreed, I was never going to give up the opportunity.

Okay, he may be from Yorkshire while I’m from Lancashire, but when it comes to Pete Cowen, if he can make me better, then I’m prepared to put that to one side and make an exception! It’s been really exciting so far.

We’ve spoken quite a bit and gone to work on things, and there are certain faults in my game that run all the way through from my chipping to my full shots. So what he’s got me working on now, I can practise my chipping and improve my long game at the same time, which is something I’d never really realised before.

It’s been going really well over the past few weeks with some very encouraging results, and it’s just nice to now have an idea when I’m practising and playing of what to do and what to work on. Beyond that, if it is going wrong, I now have a good sense of what’s going wrong and how to work my way out of it, which is great as I haven’t had that for a little while.

Many players have certain swing faults, and with me it’s relying on manipulation in the hands to play well. Pete wants you to have as little manipulation as possible with the club as you’re coming into impact.

I’ve always come in from the inside, flipped my hands over a bit and just timed it very well, which has worked. I think I could have kept doing that, had three or four good weeks a year and made a decent living. But I’d like to be a bit better than that, so what I’m working on is going to make a big difference, I think.

We haven’t set any specific goals, but as I’ve said before, my goal for a while now has been to get into the top 50 in the world, and obviously with my poor start to the season I’ve been slipping and slipping. But there are still plenty of massive events to come, so that remains the immediate goal – to get in the top 50 – and then we’ll kick on from there.

The other major change has been good too – a switch of management to Hambric Sports Group. My brother, Joe, working at Hambric is obviously a big plus point, but I get on well with Clare Craig, too, who is vice-president of Europe. She’s always been around on Tour, and I’ve chatted to her a lot over the years.

Again, it just came at a time when I felt a change was needed, but it was still hard to do. I’ve ended up making a lot of changes by the age of 24, but it’s just that when things aren’t quite right you feel something needs to be done. In the end, it was just time to move on, which is just how life is, I suppose.

My brother is a lot older and a lot cleverer than me, but he turned pro too when he was younger. When he left school he gave golf a whirl, but he was never quite good enough to get the funding or money to give it a real go. He was a county player and still plays okay when he plays with me now and again. I’d probably have to give him three or four shots – we can never quite work it out – but he plays to scratch or 1 pretty much.

He has his bad days, but when he plays alright, he’s normally level par or one-under. He can beat me at chipping and putting from time to time, but if you put him out on a full course, I like to feel he’d struggle against me these days… which is why he’s in the office, and I’m out there on Tour!

The leading website from the world’s oldest golf magazine, we’re the go-to destination for amateur and keen golfers alike who are keen to up their golfing game. As well as expert course reviews, news and tips to improve your handicap our golf-focused travel content will help you pair teeing off with your travels in some of the best destinations around the globe.