Why Amateur champion Dan Brown doesn't set targets on the golf course
The Walker Cup was where it all turned around for Dan Brown. When everything suddenly made sense. But not in the way that you would expect.
We’re all obsessed by goals and targets – what have you won, what are you going to win this year, when do you want to turn professional? For some, it can motivate – driving that person to excel.
For others, though, it can be a millstone round their neck. The Walker Cup was when Brown finally learned to let go. “Two years ago, I was in the squad and I set it as a goal to make it,” he explained. “But I’ve got to achieve objectives to do that, if that makes sense.
“I was going to a tournament and saying ‘I need to do well and do this to try and get into the Walker Cup team’.
“I always used to set targets. But I feel it is better to take things as they come and live in the moment – rather than looking ahead too much.
Obviously, you have to prepare for events. We’ve got Lytham at the start of May and, two weeks before, I will try to prepare for that.
“I just like being in the moment. The next competition is the most important one – rather than saying ‘I’ve got the British Amateur in however many weeks it is’. I just see it as the next opportunity.”
Don’t think the Walker Cup isn’t in his mind. But Brown’s approach over the past two years have yielded the most successful period of his career.
The North Yorkshire player capped that with victory in the English Amateur at Ganton, last July, where his stance of not looking too far ahead was tested to the limit.
He went out on a blustery opening day at the inland links, where the wind was swirling and the course was rock hard.
A number of title ambitions were sunk before that first round was finished and Brown was teetering after an 80.
“It was hard to describe,” he added of the conditions he faced that day. “You don’t get that very often and, obviously, on a golf course like that.
“I had a treble and two doubles. For the other 15 holes, I played really nice golf. The weather, and that course, can do that to you.
“You take it as it comes. I managed to shoot four under the next day [at Scarborough South Cliff]. I started really nicely and it helps. I didn’t really have too much to do coming down the stretch.”
Brown’s challenges weren’t over. Three down with six to play in the final, against good friend George Bloor, the Masham player somehow fashioned an incredible revival.
He said: “I would say that’s definitely the biggest comeback I have had. It was amazing. That’s the biggest event I have won in my amateur career and it does make you want to win more.
“I thought all I’ve got to do is win four out of the last six. It’s obviously not that easy, but it’s possible. I ended up winning two up and it was surreal. It was strange. In that situation, it almost feels like life and death in a way.
“So Los Angeles, and a place in Craig Watson’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup plans, looms large this year. But don’t expect Brown to change either his focus or approach.
“It’s in the back of my mind but I am just trying to do what I did last year. I’m going to play for myself. Fingers crossed, I will get in the team. It would be amazing and, hopefully, I will go to LA twice. The US Amateur is out there as well and I’ve never been to America.”