Lloyd Saltman, middle brother of one of Scotland’s greatest golfing dynasties, reflects back on the transition from an exceptional amateur to this first year as a professional golfer
Being a professional golfer is what I have always wanted to do since I was a young boy and now I am actually doing it!
Ive really enjoyed it and I think thats the key, Ive learnt so much this year but the enjoyment thing is definitely key to progressing and being in the big tournaments and even winning.
Its been a real eye-opener turning pro, every week throws up something different whether its dealing with the hotels or the airport or perhaps even on the course itself, which is nice! You spend a lot of time on your own as well as a pro, which is very different from being an amateur so I have had to learn to cope with that.
On the playing side of things I have picked up most by watching the old pros, the guys who have been doing this for 20-30 years. They know how to get the job done, even when they are not playing well they manage to stay in the tournament through their short game. Whereas several times this year I have played well, shot around level-par for two rounds and still not made the weekend, which is hard.
I have had some good weeks and some not so good weeks but I am really trying to learn from both, since its all anew environment for me. On the good weeks I have tried to learn from my game and in the bad I am trying to take something away from the emotions. Its all about getting myself ready and able to compete in the coming years.
So for instance one of my biggest strengths is driving, I hit it fairly long and straight which gives me an obvious advantage but Ive got learn to capitalize better from those positions. This will then take the pressure off other areas of my game and allow me to move forward.
Ive just spent the week at the Dunhill Links, which is a fantastic event. Its got a great fun vibe and its nice for us pros to have something different. You know most weeks are played in a very serious atmosphere, which is great, but when you have an amateur on your team it does change the mood. There are also loads of parties going on but I try and stay away from those!
I played well actually, especially so on the first day in really tough conditions at Carnoustie. But in the end three bad holes on the third day cost me, which I suppose is something else I have to learn from!
Then the last few days I have spent at the Carrick in Scotland having a great time at the Magners Scottish Final, which is a great club competition to be a part of. I have a good connection with Magners, they are a young brand going somewhere and hopefully I am the same! I went up there and talked to the finalists and helped them out on the range and then played 9-holes with a few of them. It was a cool day and Im delighted to be involved. They have got a competition in Wales as well and its really important to me to help out club golf.
Now the focus turns to Q-School and trying to secure my card for next season on the European Tour. Its something I am getting myself in good shape for and hopefully itll go well. My brother Elliott came through first stage at the Oxfordshire so we will be out in Spain together, which is great. Our youngest brother will also come and caddie for one of us he is playing full-time as an amateur at the moment. The three of us on Tour now that would be good