Ahead of this week’s Credit Suisse Challenge, Stephen Grant has revealed that he will be taking to some rather unorthodox methods to help improve the mental side of his game, saying he is hoping to receive hypnotherapy from famous Irish magician Keith Barry, writes the European Challenge Tour.
The former professional footballer from Offaly is hoping to produce a big performance in Switzerland this week, having only made one cut this season on the Challenge Tour, as he attempts to make it as a touring professional golfer.
After taking up the game aged 25 following a football career during which he played Championship football for Stockport County, Grant admits that there are elements to his new chosen sport that are alien to him and he is willing to go to whatever lengths he can to adjust.
“The thing is, I probably shouldn’t be doing well in this game because I started so late,” said the 35 year old ahead of his fourth Challenge Tour appearance of the year. “It’s a big challenge but sometimes I need to go easier on myself. These players are really good so I’m doing well considering. Sometimes I have to relax and let it happen.
“These guys are playing since they’re kids and I have to enjoy it a little bit more and see what happens then.
“I’m actually hoping to do some work with Keith Barry, get him to hypnotise me. Someone’s been speaking to him for me to do something soon. Hopefully that can get me a little more focussed and less on edge. It’s a case of not letting one mistake affect the next five holes.
“Out here, the players are brilliant at letting stuff go. I’ve come from soccer where managers are trying to get you riled up at half time. I played in the Stadium of Light against Sunderland in front of over 40,000 people and there are no nerves at all, the game is flowing so there’s no time to think. That was really easy.
“Out here there may be no one watching but the stress of situations and controlling your emotions is tough. The best players are the ones that can ride their emotions, like Graeme McDowell.”
“I like this course,” he continued. “You have to hit it straight and I’m a good ball striker and the rough is up so I’m looking forward to this week.
“I’ve been working hard on my game but I’m not holing enough putts so I went back to my old putter, after using a belly putter for a while, and it’s going great.”
Grant is joined by Athlone man Colm Moriarty at Golf Sempachersee, near Lucerne, for the €160,000 event in an extremely strong field which includes all of the top five players on the Challenge Tour Rankings – leader Gary Lockerbie, Magnus A Carlsson, Simon Wakefield, Andreas Hartø and Phillip Archer.
There are also a number of European Tour winners present, including 2010 Vivendi Cup winner John Parry, 2009 Madrid Masters champion Ross McGowan and former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker, who is also a two time winner of the Credit Suisse Challenge