England youngster has his mind on the game

Colin Walsh, of Hayling Golf Club
Colin Walsh, of Hayling Golf Club
Scott Gregory. Picture: Andrew Griffin

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Colin Walsh believes some mind games can help him get the very best from his golf game.

The 17-year-old Hayling Golf Club star has just returned from a six-week break in Palm City, Florida, as he put in some intensive practice in readiness for an important season.

The plus one handicapper is now part of the England under-18 squad, where he has been working on all aspects of his game during the winter break.

After specific sessions on his technique and fitness, Walsh has been working with sport psychologist Dr Brian Hemmings in a bid to hone his temperament on the course.

And while Walsh was never one to launch into a Colin Montgomerie-style tantrum, he does admit he needed to train his mind to deal with the frequent frustrations of the game that can occasionally swamp a lowly hacker.

Walsh explained: ‘I can get quite frustrated when I’m playing badly.

‘It helps to focus on something else and think about the next shot, rather than on what’s happened.

‘I’ve tried to hold it in as much as I can, especially when there are people around!

‘But inside I have put myself down and you can’t do that.

‘There are enough things going against you in the game of golf – you don’t need yourself going against you as well.

‘It’s never quite got to the stage of throwing my clubs around.

‘You see other people doing that sometimes and you just think they look like an idiot.

‘But I’ve certainly got wound up inside and it can just knock your concentration. Now I’ve learned a few different techniques and I think it will help.

‘I suppose I will only know when I get into those pressure situations but now I feel like I will know how to handle them a bit better.’

It’s a mature outlook for a talented young player to recognise that the mental side of the game is so vital to his development.

Walsh, who has been working with Ian Roper at Corhampton since October of last year, has already set himself a target of lowering his handicap even further by the end of the new season.

But his focus is fixed on winning tournaments, rather than simply dealing in numbers.

He said: ‘I need to get it (handicap) lower.

‘I will be playing men’s golf next year and I need to get it down to at least plus two.

‘A lot of the time, I don’t really think too much about my handicap.

‘I just try to beat the rest of the field.

‘I would rather shoot five over par and win the tournament, rather than shoot six under and come second.’

And Walsh will get his first opportunity to test his new skills in the Darwin Salver South of England Youths Championship in Rye, Kent in a fortnight’s time.

He said: ‘It’s the first competition of the season and while it’s not one of the biggest, it can put you in good stead for the rest of the season. It’s 72 holes and it’s a good test.

‘But after that, the McEvoy Trophy is in April and that’s one of the biggest junior events of the year.’