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dp world tour q school

A brain-dead back 9 and a bounce from hell: Playing Q-school from the tips

After watching players fight tooth and nail on the Lakes Course at Infinitum, NCG’s Matt Chivers wanted a piece of the DP World Tour’s Q-school venue…

 

I wasn’t as tense as the tour players I’d watched the day before, but I was tense.

Your first tee shot isn’t any normal shot on any normal hole. We all know that no matter what’s at stake.

It’s like a referee giving a middle-of-the-pitch foul but suddenly freezing when the same thing happens in the penalty area.

Unlike so many occasions before, I swung freely and found the fairway on the 1st hole on the Lakes Course at Infinitum which helped to settle the nerves.

Playing off the back tees was a choice, not a requirement and I wanted a taste of the length and difficulty that professionals face in every round.

It was 6317 metres long, so if you add 10% to convert to yards (I still don’t know who made this rule), then we were looking at nearly 7,000 yards

I negotiated the first three holes solidly going par-bogey-par, being particularly pleased with my fairway bunker shot on the 3rd hole to a perilous pin at the back and a large lake to the right.

After completely ruining a solid 6-iron to the heart of the par-3 4th with a dozy three-putt, I identically played the next two holes – but one was no fault of my own (believe me).

A pitch back to the fairway was needed on the par-4 5th after carving a 3-wood off the planet. Damage limitation mode was activated as I salvaged a bogey.

dp world tour q school

MORE: Which players earned DP World Tour cards at Q-school?

I’ve never seen a bounce like it from my tee shot on the next par 4 which jumped directly sideways off the edge of a bunker.

The image above shows the end product – I could barely take the photo with my hands shaking with rage.

Another pitch out and another bogey followed. The wind was swirling at this stage and I realised how dreams can instantly vanish during six gruelling rounds of DP World Tour Q-school.

The 8th hole was another debacle. I inexplicably pushed a wedge from position A long and right of the green and duffed my chip. Staring double-bogey in the face, I chipped in for par and apologised to my playing partners.

I was satisfied with 39 shots on the front (four-over-par), but with my new handicap of 5, I had little room for error coming home, so the new target was to shoot a score starting with seven.

This became a delusional goal.

My first double-bogey arrived on the 10th but I hasten to add the pins were incredibly tough. The greenkeepers hadn’t switched them which meant they were still in their tour standard spots in the trickiest parts of the putting surfaces.

The greens were absolutely rapid. It was like putting on glass a lot of the time and I left many putts short out of pure fear.

dp world tour q school

MORE: ‘Robbed’ to rewarded: Tom Lewis turns the tide to coast through Q-school

I steadied the ship on holes 11 and 12 and I was delighted when I rocked up to the driveable par-4 13th.

My tee shot was left and travelled over water for 95% of its ball flight but finished in the greenside bunker. An extremely satisfying up-and-down for birdie followed.

It might’ve been the wrong club, but this didn’t excuse cutting a 9-iron to the moon and dunking it in the drink in front of the par-3 14th. I rolled in a 20-odd footer for another double.

Picking your battles and knowing where not to hit your ball was crucial, and until this point, I thought I’d executed this game plan in an acceptable fashion.

I wasn’t bothered by my bogey on the long and narrow 15th hole, but I struggle to comprehend how I played the par-5 16th even days later.

Quite simply, it’s the toughest par 5 I’ve ever seen. It was so long and into the wind. I hit a drive as well as I could and hit a 3-wood as well as I could.

dp world tour q school

My 3-wood even came out in a low draw, and I needed another wedge to get home to this hole threatening the 590-yard mark.

I barely made contact with the ball and found the waste area.

They say don’t follow up a mistake with another one. Well, I did. I two-putted for a seven having hit my first two shots about 500 yards.

The bubbling anger inside me was soothed a little by another sandy par on the 17th hole, followed by a miserable bogey to finish.

There’s no point in playing golf, or any sport, if you don’t enjoy a challenge and the Lakes Course threw them up time and again when you weren’t expecting it.

If you’d offered me an 83 before the round, I probably would’ve taken it and flown home. But not in that manner.

Don’t think I won’t be back, Infinitum. You won’t be ready for when I break 80.

NOW READ: Kiradech the killer! Aphibarnrat keeps tour card with super Q-school display

Have you played the Infinitum Lakes Course, or any other Infinitum golf course? How did you get on? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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