Out with the new and in with the old. Well, sort of. After spending most of this year tinkering with set after set of new clubs and seeing his form suffer a dramatic dip as a consequence, David Drysdale has gone back to the ones that served him well for eight years. They are in the bag for this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, having given him the signs he was looking for as he tried them out on a dreich day in Eyemouth last Friday.
“It was bloody miserable and I was the only person out there. I was the only person to be stupid enough to be out there,” said the 44-year-old, who is attached to the Berwickshire club, which is just 20 minutes from his home near Cockburnspath. “I just wanted to get out and hit a few balls with the old clubs and, straight away, they felt comfortable. The ball flight is better and I feel more comfortable again with my distances. Fingers crossed, they will work well.”
Drysdale started his 18th successive season on the European Tour in brilliant form, finishing fifth in the opening event of the campaign in Hong Kong then claiming second spot in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa in his fourth start. Those performances secured his card before Christmas had come around but, since adding a fifth place behind David Law in the Vic Open in Australia in February, his game has gone to pot.
“It has been absolutely shocking,” he said of missing 12 cuts in 19 events. “I just haven’t played well, it’s as simple as that, and that has been all spring and summer. If I am being honest, I had such a good start to the season that I almost had a two-year exemption – this year and next year – by Christmas last year. I had used old clubs that I’d had since 2010 and I made a decision to switch clubs.
“As a result of tinkering about with lots of different equipment and not getting along with any of the sets I’ve tried, I just haven’t been focused on golf. I’ve been more focused on equipment and I just kind of lost my game big time. I have probably neglected the technical side. That’s something I’ve never done in my life. I’ve not had confidence in the equipment and have lost a bit of confidence in my golf swing because of that.”
Drysdale, who joins Bob MacIntyre, Richie Ramsay and Scott Jamieson in flying the Saltire in this week’s Rolex Series event at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, made the decision to go back to his old clubs following a recent visit to see club-fitting expert Scott Gourlay at his new facility located at Swanston Golf Club on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
“I took everything up to Scott’s place, plus he gave me some stuff to try, and we hit ball after ball on the Trackman and my old clubs came out with better numbers all the time,” said Drysdale, who sits 13th in accuracy off the tee this season but wasn’t happy with how he was striking the ball.
“The slight mis-hits were only losing two or three yards whereas it was eight or nine with other clubs. It’s the poor shots that need to be in the ballpark numbers wise for any sort of consistency. I’m basically reverting back to my old clubs, which I’d had in my bag since Valderrama in 2010. I had to because I can’t keep playing how I have been.
“For all they are old clubs, Scott has built a new set for me. I’m hoping that getting some of the old stuff in the bag will help me find some form. This game can turn around so quickly. It has before for me many times.
“Golf is just a mental game. I’m not going to say it is going to be an instant fix, but at least it’s stuff that I know and I will be able to focus a bit more on technique rather than trying different stuff every week, which has been my downfall, really.”
Drysdale, who is closing in on his 500th appearance on the European Tour, where his career earnings are up to €5.5 million, was the last man into the reduced field for this week’s event on the Antalya coast, having come off the reserve list from 84th in the Race to Dubai when Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston decided to stay at home to be with his fiancee, who is due to give birth.
“After the season I’ve had, it is nice to have got into this event,” admitted the Scot. “I thought I was in after the Portugal Masters, to be honest, because they said it was closing at 85th on the order of merit then, all of a sudden, it changed by a couple of spots at the last minute. Anyway, I’m in now and I’m delighted.
“To extend my season beyond this event, I need a couple of big weeks - a top 10 or top 12 would probably get me into the Nedbank Challenge next week – and, to be honest, you’d have to say it is hard to see where that is coming from with the golf I’ve played recently. But there is no cut in Turkey, which is a bonus given that I’ve not made many recently and I’ll be trying to use the four rounds to build up my game again and get back into it.”