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Thursday, July 25, 2024

My Expertise: British Senior Amatuer Open

John Geiberger on recent experience playing in R&A British Senior Amateur


As I used to be packing my suitcase after six days of golf at Woodhall Spa, 200 miles north of London, many ideas had been racing by way of my head.

“I couldn’t consider what I simply performed in.” 

“The good drives in cross winds to tight fairways with heath on each side, (my VERO X1 ball stored me away from all the difficulty😀).”

“The mid iron to pin excessive, away from the 8-10 foot bunkers on each side of the inexperienced; the birdie putt that stopped two inches quick straight down hill on the ultimate inexperienced.“

I had simply completed one thing I by no means dreamed of doing.

I performed within the British Senior Novice.

It wasn’t the British Open I used to get up at 5 am to look at and hearken to the masterful voice of Englishman Peter Allis, but it surely definitely stirred up reminiscences of watching Watson, Ballesteros and Nicklaus win a number of occasions on golf’s most famed hyperlinks programs. 

I performed collegiate golf at Pepperdine and caddied on the PGA Champions Tour, the place I used to be a part of seven wins earlier than returning to educate The Waves (1996-2013), an expertise highlighted by the 1997 Nationwide Championship!

It in all probability goes with out saying however golf is my life.

After battling Covid in December 2022, which led to bouts with viral pneumonia , PCP pneumonia, and different fungal diseases, the following 5 months had been extra about staying alive than celebrating my fifty fifth birthday and enjoying senior novice golf. 

Whereas attending the second spherical of the US Open at LACC on June 16, I acquired an electronic mail confirming my entry into R&A’s British Senior Novice. 

I couldn’t consider it.

With lower than three weeks to arrange for an occasion that started July 11, I used to be full of doubt. I used to be nonetheless regaining my power, having carried my bag and performed 9 holes simply 5 or 6 occasions. Was I sturdy sufficient? Would the extent of my recreation permit me to compete? May I drive on the opposite facet of the street?!

There have been a thousand loopy ideas operating by way of my head, however a consensus rapidly emerged amongst my pals: I might be loopy to not go.  The extra I considered it – the choice by no means left my thoughts for 10 days – I spotted life is about creating reminiscences and overcoming our fears.

I made up my thoughts. I used to be going to compete within the British Senior Novice!

After I made my strategy to Woodhall Spa, the host property, 6,500 miles from house, and the R&A official greeted me for my first observe spherical, he confirmed my identify, nation and handicap (you must be at the least a +1 to play). All these doubts once more flooded my thoughts, not the least of which was, “Do I belong?”

After my first observe spherical with three People (one being the latest senior Florida match play champion) and my second spherical with three joyous Irishman, I began to consider in my recreation. 

I knew I had made the fitting choice to compete after they introduced on the primary tee, “From the USA of America, John Geiberger.” It was a particular second and I used to be glad I put myself on the market.

My thoughts went clean, however I knew I needed to hit the ball. My opening tee shot was a weak push in the fitting tough, however GAME ON!  I used to be there competing and the flag was up! 

It took a lot psychological and bodily vitality since I used to be not match sharp. I reached again into my teaching library and recalled what I taught my workforce.

I used to be in group 13 of 58 and after making birdie following that weak drive on No. 1, “staying current” sounded quite a bit simpler once I was the one telling my expenses at Pepperdine what to do.

A -1 beneath par 72 (the Woodhall Spa-Hotchkin course is a par 73) within the first spherical eased my fears about whether or not I belonged. Sadly, the wheels got here off throughout a 6-hole stretch within the second spherical, leaving me perilously near the cutline – the sphere of 178 is trimmed to 50 after 36 holes.

Mercifully, I made the minimize and after a 3rd spherical 76 completed at 8-over par, good for T-41.

Fairly good for my first main!

Trying again on the expertise, I used to be nervous, bordering on scared, however happily I had previous experiences to attract from. Now, the reminiscences I created run by way of my thoughts day and night time.

Generally, even within the face of worry, we have now to leap in and face the unknown. That’s what life is all about!

At the same time as I confronted my very own doubts, the one benefit I knew I had that week was enjoying the VERO X1, one of the best performing ball within the discipline. I certain didn’t really feel any wind! Cheers to that!!


About John Geiberger

John Geiberger is the son of golf legend, Mr. 59., Al Geiberger (11X PGA Tour Winner). John wears many hats, as head of OnCore’s participant improvement, a highschool golf coach, teacher and coach for collegiate stage gamers and knowledgeable caddy.

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