Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Jarmo Sandelin (pic by Pär Olsson) ()
Jarmo Sandelin (pic by Pär Olsson) ()
We speak to Jarmo Sandelin for the Senior Tour Player Blog about life on the over-50s circuit, his thoughts on the 2017 season and his sons’ opinions on his career…

In the beginning, when I stopped playing on the European Tour, I was happy that I could just relax and spend time with my family. But I noticed, as the years went by, that something was missing. I started to play some aged 48 and over tournaments and met some of the guys, and I thought ‘this is what I’ve been missing’.  I needed to get out and play golf and see the guys again. The last two years were the worst - you just want to be out there playing again. When I finally started playing I thought, ‘it’s happening, this is great’. I hope to have at least ten good years at this level.

I love the game again now. When I wake up in a morning, I ask myself what I’m going to improve that day. As long as I do my gym training and my rehab to make sure I’m flexible, I don’t feel as though I need to hit as many balls. If I can keep my body in shape, to me that’s more important than hitting 200 balls on the driving range every day. I also feel more comfortable knowing that I don’t have to get out on the golf course every day.

Sandelin recorded his best finish of the season at the Farmfoods European Senior Masters

I had been working hard to get fit to play on the Senior Tour. When I went to America to play the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, I didn’t want to go out and play badly. I was one under the first day, and then six over on the second day to miss the cut by one. That was a big disappointment, but you have to let it go. At the same time, I was very excited. It was great to play my first European event a few weeks later in Finland. I was hoping for a win in my first week. It’s easy to picture it in your mind, but it is much tougher to achieve it. It was a great week, and I hope we can go back there in a few years.

Now I feel like I’m back in business. When I came on to the Senior Tour, I felt like I was home. Golf is my working life again. My children don’t call it work though, they think I’m on holiday. I ask them ‘how can you say I’m on a holiday when you can see how hard I work on my game?’, and they’ll reply ‘Dad, when people go on holiday they play golf’.

Jarmo with his son Douglas on the bag at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open

They always wondered ‘were you really that good’? My kids can see my trophies at home, but they maybe didn’t understand their importance. They didn’t follow golf when they were younger, but now they’ve grown up they realise I must have been pretty good. My eldest son, Lukas, caddied for me at The Senior Open, my middle son Douglas caddied for me in Germany and my youngest, Axel, says he wants to caddy too. They all play golf, but they need to put in the hours if they want to improve. But I hope they go to college and get a good education. The gap to get through to gain success is so narrow. I managed it with golf, but that was the only thing I did. I’ll be happy with whatever they choose to do.

It’s nice to see that things are working for me on the golf course. The thing I need to work more on is my course management. I’m quite an aggressive player. When I’m stood on the tee, I only see the fairway, and then when I’m on the fairway, I only see the flag. I need to start to recognise when I have risky shots. It has been a problem throughout my career. When the flag is on the back of the the green, and I’m choosing between a five and a six iron, I’ll take the five because I know I’ll reach the flag; but then I risk over-shooting the green. If the flag was short, I’d take the six iron because I want to be tight to the front. I need to get that out of my system.

Making his Senior Tour debut in Finland at the European Tour Properties Senior Classic

The hardest part for me has been to minimise the mistakes. I can play solid on very tough holes, but then when I come to some easier holes I sometimes make triple-bogeys. It’s not good enough, but I am pleased with the results I’ve had recently. I feel like I’m getting there, and it’s nice being in the top ten more often. Of course, I’m desperate to win as soon as possible, to get the taste of it again. That’s why I’m playing, to have the feeling of being in contention every week.

I have been close, I just need to ‘dot the I’, as the phrase goes. If I don’t win in Mauritius, I’ll go out harder when we start in 2018. I really believe that I will win in the future, I just can’t tell you when. You just have to keep faith in your ability to do it. When I meet younger kids who are trying to get on the European Tour, you can see they aren’t there mentally yet. It’s a big hurdle. People ask me about confidence and I always tell them the same story – the best poker players create confidence. They can win hands with nothing because they look confident. People around them think they have a good hand, even though they might have a two and a seven. It’s the same on the golf course. You have to create confidence and keep your head up.

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