Your golf game is meant to go south as you approach midlife, right? Well, explain that to Terry Pilkadaris. The Victorian is continuing to improve his game and is playing well right into his 40s.
Someone forgot to tell Lee Westwood and Paul Casey too as they have enjoyed incredible wins in what is supposed to be the twilight of their careers.
A three-time winner on the Asian Tour, Pilks is also enjoying a growing audience on his social media channels, with his access to some of the best golfers in the world (and their direct tips, his regular segments Tour Tip Tuesdays and Short Game Saturdays have developed quite a following.
Golf NSW writer Roy Fleming fired a few questions to Terry to get his take on some of the bigger topics in world golf …
You are still playing well right into your 40s. You’re not the only one with Lee Westwood, Steve Stricker, Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson, Paddy Harrington all still playing amazing golf. What’s your theory on ‘older’ guys continuing to improve?
TP: Experience plays a part. It’s how you manage your game. What to work on and when to stop when it’s not.
What are the secrets to playing well and improving in your 40s? What’s working well for you?
TP: Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Continue doing what was working in the past. I draw on the things I worked on when I was winning and try and improve a small percentage each time
Your thoughts on Bryson de Chambeau’s approach to golf, strength and power v finesse and craft?
TP: It’s great for golf, it has everyone talking about it. Golf had so many facets that having a balance is the key to playing well. A 300m tee shot or a three- foot putt all count as a shot.
I am not sure how long his body will hold up for. I heard a great analogy the other day, if you push your body to the limit a lot of the time like a Formula One car it will have a short shelf-like, but if you drive a Toyota Corolla at 60km/h it will last longer than a Formula One car driving at full speed.
Do you think relief should be provided in divots on fairways? If not, why?
TP: I think it should be relief. We can tap down spike marks and repair pitch marks, so if you land in a divot on the fairway you should get relief. I spoke with the R&A about it and they said they don’t want players touching the ball all the time, which leads to many issues.
Your thoughts on the batch of new youngsters coming through the European Tour – Macintyre, Fitzpatrick especially – and whether you’d pick them for the Ryder Cup?
TP: So many great players, in Europe, the USA, Australia and the rest of the world. They are really professional amateurs before turning pro. The knowledge on how to play and manage the game is getting so much better as the information is being passed down from coaches
The ups and downs about using social media for your tour tips – which are brilliant by the way – are you about having fun. Is it easier to coach now than 20 years ago with the technology available?
TP: The social media side is good to get information out there, and while 99 per cent of people enjoy it, unfortunately, you will always get a few people that want to stir the pot.
It’s fun to interview the worlds top players and ask them what they are working on. It’s something that hasn’t really been done, so talking with Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Tony Finau has been great.
Technology has made the game easier. Everything can be measured, compared and stored. No guessing at all. Back when I turned pro we didn’t have Trackman or high-speed cameras and it was more trial and error which took time.
What do you notice the most about the way young people play golf these days – the kids coming through?
TP: Ninety per cent of them hit it a long way, and their touch around the green is awesome.
And the difference in golfers nearing mid-life. Has equipment made it easier to keep playing well?
TP: Equipment has helped but you can’t beat experience, handling different situations on the course and off the course.
If you could pick any major to win which would it be and why?
The Open. You have to hit all the shots in golf: low, high, draws and fades. The weather becomes a big factor .
Your favourite golfers to watch and why?
TP: Tiger because he is toughest competitor out there. I remember being at the Aussie Masters at Kingston Heath and he walked into the range for round one and it reminded me of a boxer walking into the ring: total focus and determination. Rory and the way he can overpower a golf course and Bryson for hitting high bombs haha