Given the wealth of knowledge he accumulated during 14 seasons on The European Tour it is only fitting that, having retired from competitive golf, Markus Brier should pass on some advice to the next generation of Austrian golfing talent, many of whom are on display in the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.
After hanging up his clubs in 2013 following a career which yielded two European and two Challenge Tour titles, Brier was at a loose end and so jumped at the chance to help mentor the Austrian Golf Federation’s budding amateur stars.
With Manuel Trappel having become the first Austrian to win the European Amateur Championship in 2011 and Matthias Schwab reaching the final of the Amateur Championship the following year, it was clear that the Federation had already laid some firm foundations.
Brier’s remit has been to assist with the mental aspect of the game and help smooth the transition from the amateur to the professional ranks, a journey which is fraught with potential pitfalls for the uninitiated and unprepared.
The game is littered with stories of golfing prodigies who fail to convert a glittering amateur career into success in the sometimes harsh and unforgiving professional arena; but with Brier’s nous and knowledge to tap into, the Trappels and Schwabs of this world now have a markedly better chance of becoming the next Bernd Wiesberger, currently 44th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Brier said: “I started working with the Federation at the start of last year, and I’m really enjoying it do far. Tournament preparation and course management are such important factors for the young guys to learn, so I go to lots of training camps to teach them what I picked up in my 20 years as a pro.
“The Federation was already definitely moving in the right direction, and hopefully bringing me in is another piece of the jigsaw. We have some very good technical coaches, so I don’t tend to get too involved in technique. My coaching is more on the mental side, trying to teach these young guys what it takes to make it in the professional game. I’m not a mental coach, but I used to see a mental coach throughout my career and I picked up a lot of tips and advice from him, so I can pass that on.”
Brier was speaking ahead of the Wednesday Pro-Am at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda, a tournament he formerly hosted through his charitable foundation.
Having spent several seasons on the Challenge Tour gaining the invaluable experience which helped propel him to two European Tour titles, the developmental circuit will always hold a special place in Brier’s affections. As such, he will be keeping a very keen eye on how his young charges fare when they run shoulders with some of Europe’s brightest golfing talent at Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein this week.
Brier said: “I was on the Challenge Tour for four years, so that’s why I will always try to support it as much as possible, because I know how important it was for my development. I learned so much and when I finally got my card after four years it made it much easier to keep it, because I had already gained a lot of experience of life on Tour.
“That’s why it’s so important for Austrian golf to have a Challenge Tour event in Austria, so that the young amateurs can get that experience and, when they hopefully get onto The European Tour in the future, they will be much better prepared for it.
“You only have to look at how it helped Bernd’s career. He’s got great technique but is also mentally tough, and a lot of that is down to the time he spent on the Challenge Tour. When he bounced straight back on the Challenge Tour after losing his card on The European Tour, it proved to me that he had what it takes.
“A lot of young guys nowadays think that because they’ve had a good amateur career, they will be playing on the main Tour in a couple of years. But it doesn’t often work like that. You need to really learn your trade but you also need to recover from disappointments, which are many in this game. Bernd is a great example of that.”