Preperation is key for the modern day professional golfer. While getting tournament ready at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club, Oliver Wilson, DP World Tour member explains all to Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
Oliver, how important is preparation for a DP World Tour tournament?
'Well its very important. The problem with it is that golf is such a bizarre game that you can prepare terribly and then not prepare at all and go and play great. Then you can do everything right and go and play poorly. So you have to look at it in the big picture and the long term, so preparation is huge and if you can create a lot of consistencies and know what your game is all about and now how to prepare for yourself and get things matched up then its huge.
'Over the long course hopefully it pays dividends and you start to learn, dial it in quicker, be able to prepare better, know what you need to do each day to be able to get tournament ready in the shortest amount of time so you can manage energy levels and fatigue. So its huge and there’s a lot of areas in golf to cover. Just within putting there is a ton of different stuff; pace, tempo, green reading. Short game kind of similar, long game you have got wedge play, iron play, dialling in your distances, shot shaping, driver, speed work, a fairway finder which is a safety shot when you really get it in play, and your stock shot, so there is a lot going on within the game. You then have your training as well, psychology stuff, energy levels. So preparation is huge, to have a plan and understand what you need to do and put it all together as quick as possible and as streamlined as possible so then you can be energised come Sunday afternoon when you really need it.'
How much has preparation evolved over the years as the game of golf has grown?
'I think it has got a lot more scientific. When I first came out on Tour it was a lot more blasé, hit a few chips, hit a few putts then go play on the course. There were guys that were structured and had more of an idea but I think in general it was more relaxed and I think over the years it has become so much more dialled in every area.
'We have got data to back it all up and how to perform the best, we know how to practice, how to work on what is critical. Looking at the stats they have been more accurate than they have ever. So we have got all this data, and all these answers to help you build a plan to be able to prepare as efficiently as possible, so it’s much more professional now. You can see that now with the young guys coming out from college they come out on Tour and they have to a large degree most things figured out with swing wise and training and they have been doing these plans and learning to prepare in college and when they turn pro it’s just an extension of that, whereas when I think back to when I was in college 20 years ago there was a lot to learn and I had a lot to learn out here so I think it’s a lot more dialled in and a lot more professional.'
Do you have a specific week-by-week routine on parts of your game to work on?
'So I have a daily routine, a weekly routine and then a routine that I have when I am at home to prepare. But I guess the thing is with golf, and other sports to, but golf especially it has to be flexible because things change. A Pro-Am for example, whether you have an early tee off to an afternoon tee off and within travel as well. So you create a blueprint and that’s one of the challenges because when you play well you think “Right that’s what I did well then” and if you play well over a period of time you start to learn what works for you. But you have to be flexible in that because if you think “Oh I didn’t prepare like that, I didn’t warm up like that, I’m not ready to play” you have to be flexible and adaptive and that’s one of the things the best players do so well. They are able to adapt and be relaxed and they have a blueprint where they prepare really well but you have to be pretty relaxed about the whole thing to.'
Then specifically today being a practice day, what would you be working on?
'So I’m playing nine holes at 11:50 for my practice round. I started at 9:00 in the gym, half an hour warm up. I’ve done 20 minutes on my short game already. Then my warm up now where my practice is going to be broken up into a swing warm-up, a little technical space of 20 minutes, shot shaping, skill work, bit of speed with my driver and then go and putt for half an hour and do some tempo work with some calibration more than anything on the mirror and chalk line. Then have a quick lunch play nine holes and try and put it all together.'
Would it be a similar warm-up and preparation for a tournament day?
'Kind of yeah, I have switched things up a little bit this year to try and become more efficient and divide my time between technical work, performance and skill based work and I feel that has been pretty positive the first two weeks so I like what it’s doing for me at the moment. I feel it has given me more gains in the performance area and skill out on the course. There’s so many areas to cover and tick that you have to try and have a plan where not every single shot is covered but you know there are some things that are going to have questions asked on the course and make sure you are prepared for those.
'There’s so many areas to cover and tick off that you have to try and have a plan where not every single shot is covered but you know there are some things that are going to have questions asked on the course and make sure you are prepared for those.'