An update from Garrick Porteous following the UK Swing

This year, our Wealth Management team entered into a new partnership with professional golfer Garrick Porteous, to offer support to the sporting community during turbulent times.

As golfing is now allowed under the new rules as the UK starts to come out of lockdown, the Wealth Management team at MHA Tait Walker felt it was important to support the region’s young, talented sports stars.

Garrick shared an update in July as he was about to embark on the first of six events in the UK Swing.

Now that the UK swing is over, Garrick reflects on what he thought was a very well coordinated run of events by the European Tour.

It was so impressive to witness the level of detail that went into every event and to ensure everyone stayed safe in these challenging times.

The Betfred British Masters was the first tournament back. In order to get onto the property at Close House we had to be tested within seven days of arrival and have a negative test. Then on arrival it was another test to get into a ‘bubble’ system where it is only hotel and golf course, no shops or anything in between. As I live in Gosforth I have played Close House numerous times and practice up at the academy quite a lot so I was delighted to start with a 65 (-6). It had been three months without competitive golf so it felt great to reap the rewards of what I had been working on within my game. Although I may have finished poorly it was nice to make the cut and get those competitive juices flowing to get better for the next week.

In the second event, the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden I finished tied 22nd shooting 70-72-72-65 (-9). My final round was obviously the highlight of the week which included seven birdies and an Eagle.

From then on I struggled to make the cut. At Hanbury Manor in the 3rd week I was always on the back foot with a level par opener; it was just too far behind the pace. The cut was -5 so you had to be making a lot of birdies, which I did, but I made too many mistakes too.

Moving onto the 4th week in Celtic Manor, this really was the turning point for me in the ‘bubble’. A couple of the French players had to be removed from the ‘bubble’ as they had been in contact with someone testing positive. Therefore it meant we were confined to our rooms and only allowed to order room service. For me that meant I needed a week off as the whole social aspect off the golf course had been taken away from us.

In the final week at the Belfry I had my wife, Maisie, on the bag. It was noticeable that a lot of the players had turned to their partners to carry the bag as it certainly helped from a social side. We were stricken to some horrible rain on the first day which meant I only played four holes, as the course had flooded. On the second day we ended up playing 32 holes with a 15 minute gap between rounds. I played some nice golf in the middle but still came up short of making the cut.

I think the precautions and rules the European Tour have implemented for the the ‘bubble’ system to work have been amazing. You cannot fault them for anything they have done. It’s fantastic to be back out competing again, but it’s hard to mentally keep yourself fresh when you can’t have the interactions you normally have. But I guess it is something we will have to get used to.

Once again I appreciate all of the support and I look forward to seeing you all soon.