In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Robert MacIntyre opens up about playing with a local Covid-19 survivor, and reveals why lockdown has been good for both his fitness and recovery from an ongoing hand injury
It’s great to be back out playing again. There’s a big buzz I think around most golf courses in Scotland and in Britain, and I was proud to show a bit of support for Oban local James Scott when I opened Glencruitten Golf Club with him.
I support the club as much as I can, and they asked me if I would open the course with James, who has recovered from Covid-19. I’ve played with him before, he’s normally up at the club every week. He was in a coma for over 20 days so he’s obviously not back to his full fitness but he managed to play 14 holes last Monday. Around the golf course where we live it’s unbelievable to think he could do that after everything he’s been through.
Although James has recovered, unfortunately his mum passed away after contracting Covid-19. Seeing him at the course, it was just a huge reality check for me. I try not to take life too seriously. I try to enjoy it as much as I can and take it day by day, but this has shown me that you really need to enjoy being with the people around you, and enjoy life, because anything can happen at any time.
I played OK but I was seriously rusty. I haven’t practised too much in the lockdown - I hit the odd ball but for four or five weeks before I played with James I hadn’t touched a club. That first tee shot I didn’t have a clue where it was going to go. I knew I was going to hit it and it was going to go forward, but it could have gone anywhere.
WE'RE OFF....🏌️♂️🚀💨💨💨— Bounce (@bouncespmgt) May 29, 2020
As golf gets going all over Scotland, @robert1lefty has joined Coronavirus survivor, and fellow Obanite, 63 year old James Scott as they hit the first tee shots @GlencruittenG since the lockdown...👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Enjoy it everybody.
Play safe. Stay safe. ⛳🏴 pic.twitter.com/rnZjd4EvD5
Lockdown came at a great time for me to be honest because I was still struggling with my left hand and my arm. Last year I was getting a bit demoralised because I was playing through the pain, but I kept going because I was playing great. It was probably some of the best golf I had played. I just knew how to get it round, I found a way. I couldn’t move my wrist in certain directions, couldn’t hit the shots I wanted to hit because my hand was getting into an awkward position, so I was having to change up the way I was going to play shots.
When lockdown started my hand was feeling better, but my body wasn’t moving right and I just wasn’t in a great place physically. So, for the 10 or 11 weeks since I’ve been at home I’ve worked on my fitness and trying to get stronger, fitter and help heal my hand for the long run.
I’ve lost quite a lot of weight, which I had actually planned to do when I took the eight weeks off from the final event in Dubai last year. At that time I was a wee bit down in the dumps trying to recover from the injury and it didn’t happen, so when we went into lockdown I decided this was the right time.
I got a Peloton bike before Christmas, which I was doing every day at first. It’s kind of slacked off to three times a week now, but I’ve got a road bike as well as I’m trying to get outside more. And that’s about it. Cycling, doing some core work, eating slightly better, and the weight has started to come off.
That’s wasn’t pretty but the views were spectacular 😍🏴 pic.twitter.com/VlkQfO5e8x— Robert MacIntyre (@robert1lefty) April 23, 2020
I’d say by the eighth week at home I was starting to get the itch to play golf again, but I’ve actually enjoyed not travelling and being at home. Last year I played a lot of golf so it was good to get time to be with my family and work on my fitness.
It’s been productive. Everyone was keeping me busy around the house so time didn’t really drag on for me, but there was too much painting so I’ve retired from that. They had me painting inside the house, outside the house, around the house. Fair play to all the painters out there, I couldn’t do it full time.
We actually changed my grip at the start of lockdown. I went to see a specialist called Doug Campbell before I went to Qatar and saw my coach David Burns for an hour the day before I flew out. We saw that the position my hand was getting in to through impact was because of my grip.
I had a slightly weak grip and I like to draw the ball, so I was then flipping my hands at it. I was struggling, and the more I was trying to draw it the more I was flipping my hands, so my wrist was going beyond a point that was comfortable. We’ve strengthened it a bit, and I’ve been working on things to help my hand more than to help my golf to be honest.
Although I’ve started playing again, I’ve not done a big practise session yet. I’ve been told to ease my way into it, to try and strengthen over time rather than jumping into a day of long hard practice and the injury flares up again. It’s feeling good just now, I’ve got no pain even when I hit the shots that were hurting, which is huge.
The announcement of events has given me a lot more motivation, and the six events in the UK is a great idea to get people playing again. It’s hard when you’re practising for the sake of practising but not knowing, and I like to build my way in to something. Now that we know what events are going to happen – as long as everything is okay – I’ve got severe motivation right now to get playing again.
I’ve got a few decisions to make, particularly whether to make the trip over to America for the US PGA Championship, but having those six events is a great way to re-start the season.
I’m looking to shake off the rust this week then next week we’ll really get back into it with lessons with my coach, and I’m looking forward to getting things rolling again. I’m not sure how that will work yet, I need to work out what’s allowed, but it will be good to finally get his eyes on the swing in person.
Everyone knows I’ve had one goal since the start of the season and that was top 50 in the world. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I get back out, but I think I’m just going to set the same goal again and hopefully we’ll just keep climbing.