Euan Walker tastes pro success after learning to be 'selfish and make better decisions'

On the surface, Euan Walker will always come across as one of the nice guys because, quite simply, he was brought up to be polite, respectful and also thoughtful.

But, in order to make headway after a challenging start to life as a professional golfer, the Troon man has learned he needed to ditch that image in a working capacity.

Walker, who landed a maiden win on the Challenge Tour in the English Challenge at St Mellion on Sunday, has sought advice from a number of coaches since joining the paid ranks three years ago.

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“It’s just about gaining information and then I decide what I’m going to work on,” he replied to being asked if having too many cooks, so to speak, can often be unhelpful.

Euan Walker celebrates with hs mum and dad after winning the British Challenge presented by Modest! Golf Management at St Mellion Estate in Cornwall on Sunday. Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images.
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“Ultimately, I’m the coach and I’m getting as much information about my technique and process as possible, and then I can work out what’s relevant and what’s going to help, what isn’t going to help.”

The 27-year-old, who played his amateur golf at Kilmarnock (Barassie), has worked mainly with George Boswell but has also had technical advice from English national coach Graham Walker, Alan McCloskey and, most recently, Gregor Monks. He’s also worked on his putting with Mike Kanski and been to see Mark Bull, a 3d biomechanics expert, as well.

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“Bringing all that information together has helped me improve to be the best I can be,” added Walker, who, having jumped into the top 20 in the Road to Mallorca Rankings, is now on course to secure a card for the DP World Tour next season.

“You could have the best coach in the world and they could know everything, and they might ask you to change something, and technically you might be better, but that might make your golf worse.

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“I think for too long I’ve taken on information and just always doing what I’ve been told. Recently, I’ve taken on board information and decided what is actually going to make me better. I think because in the past I’ve probably been too nice.

“As a professional, I’m not massively experienced yet, but you’ve got to be selfish and make better decisions, because otherwise you don’t have a business. I’ve become better at doing that.”

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Walker was riding on the crest of a wave when he joined the paid ranks, having won the African Amateur Championship, reached the final of the Amateur Championship and played in a Walker Cup in the space of a few months in 2019.

He secured full playing rights on the Challenge Tour through a strong showing at the DP World Tour Qualifying School at the end of that year only to see his rookie season being decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Last year was also tough and the opening half of this season as well, but, on the back of an encouraging run of results, he clinched his breakthrough win in style with a birdie-birdie finish in Cornwall on Sunday.

“It’s been difficult,” admitted Walker, who is back in action this week in the English Trophy, the final regular event of the season, at Frilford Heath before having a fortnight to get ready for the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca.

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“It’s always going to be challenging making the transition from amateur to pro. In 2019, I was used to being successful as an amateur and I continued that when I turned pro. I kind of stalled a little bit during Covid. We didn’t play, I didn’t get the opportunity to practice as much and, when I came back, things were a lot different.

“The whole situation - travelling, being in hotels. It was challenging to do that, having never experienced life as a professional before and you think, ‘is this what being a professional golfer is like? Because it’s not that much fun and I kind of expected to be enjoying myself a lot more’

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“It wasn’t as though I was putting myself in a bad frame of mind, but the influences beyond my control kind of negatively affected my performances.

“From there, I’ve really been searching, trying to explore every avenue with which to recreate the performances I had as an amateur in 2019. I’ve developed my body, I’ve become stronger, I’ve become faster.

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“I’ve tried everything to develop my technique. I’ve been to see various specialists in different parts of the game. Just to see what was going to make the difference getting back to where I was, really, in 2019.

“And it’s only just in the last few months, as life’s got back to normal a bit more with the travel, the hotel situation, everything has been more normal, and I’ve felt more comfortable playing and I’ve had more experience of travelling on my own a lot of times and playing in all these tournaments in different countries.

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"I’ve adjusted better and I feel that everything has come together and just allowed me to start playing better in the last few months.”

As a result, Walker is now tantalisingly close to being back playing alongside his former Scotland team-mates Bob MacIntyre, Grant Forrest, Ewen Ferguson and Connor Syme.

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“In professional sport, I think everybody who desires to be successful is probably pushing too hard,” said the man with a Maths degree, smiling. “If you’re not pushing too hard, you’ve either made it or you’re not going to make it.

“Unless you are supremely talented, which is a very small number of people, you just have to be willing to do so many things that other people are not.

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“I feel like I’ve done everything. I’ve not left any stone unturned. When I’ve felt I needed a change or try something else, I’ve done that. I’ve not chopped and changed rapidly. I’ve been willing to make a gamble on things that give me a better chance of success then pursue that until it’s worked or it’s clear that it won’t work.”

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