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Dougherty's lessons

Nick Dougherty

Nick Dougherty is 23-years-old and earned over a million Euro on the 2005 European Tour in a breakthrough season.

It all kicked off in Singapore when he won his first Tour title and went on to compete in his first major championships at the US Open and the USPGA.

Nick has learnt a lot of lessons along the way and reveals how many of them can apply to golfers at all levels.

ON ACCEPTANCE

One thing I've improved massively is my acceptance on the course.

I've never really had a hot temper but so many times I've cost myself shots because I'm not patient enough out there.

Or I've not accepted enough of the bad things that come your way of which there are plenty in golf.

It's strange but even though it's one of the areas in which I've improved on, it's still one which I still feel furthest away from.

Nick Dougherty in China

When I am patient I have my best results. That's just a case of sticking to your course management or your strategy.

You need to be prepared for little setbacks, deal with them and bounce back from them.

Sometimes a bogey is much more than a bogey depending on how you think about it.

A bogey can lead to three more because it's changed your mindset or it can be something that spurs you on because you tighten the reins.

Sometimes I've let myself down because my expectation levels have risen so much that when it hasn't been perfect, I've been angry with myself and cost myself good results.

ON COMMITTING TO CHANGE

I was very fortunate that when I changed my swing, started working on my mind; and my fitness, I got the rewards fairly quickly.

The hardest thing about changing things is that a lot of the time it takes so long, that you have problems with commitment.

Nick Dougherty
Nick has started to accept the bad breaks

You get to a stage where you think: 'Hang on am I getting better or worse?'.

In 2004 I struggled when I tried to change my swing. It was only six months before I started improving, which sounds a lot but isn't that much at all.

I play every day and when you go to a coach like David Leadbetter who changed so much (of my game), it was really quite difficult.

It's like writing right-handed all your life and then saying right we're going to write left-handed now.

As soon as I started getting some nice results that was all the motivation I needed.

I was feeling more consistent in my mind, my body and my technique - it was great and you push harder towards your goals as a result.

ON ENJOYING GOLF

I was really enjoying my golf and when I won in Singapore and subsequently my standards changed.

I started being harder on myself so I flipped out a bit. I had to focus again and try and enjoy it.

But it's hard to enjoy it when you're not playing well or to the standard you should be playing to.

It's a chicken and egg thing. You almost have to be relaxed and enjoying it to play well in the first place!

I've tried to do that and concentrated on it more than anything else recently.

It sounds really basic and if you said it to the average golfer: "Go out there and enjoy it," they'd probably say that there's a lot of other things that they need to improve, like technique.

But it's actually not the case. For everyone, if you can enjoy what you're doing and be enthusiastic about it, it's amazing how that mindset can affect your golf game.

For me certainly, when I'm relaxed, I focus better, because I don't try as hard and when I do that I get more out of myself.

It easier said than done mind you!

It's like losing your temper on the golf course. You know you shouldn't do it but it's hard not to.



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