1) Who are you?
I am Clarke Lutton. I’m 27 years old from Aberdeen, Scotland, based in Dubai.
2) What is your chosen sport?
My chosen sport is Professional Golf.
3) Tell us a little bit about your career to date
My career so far has been a little bit mixed in the sense of I have split it up into two so far. The start of my professional career I did my PGA training through the British PGA and the University of Birmingham. This involved my coaching and studying for 4 years in order to give myself a good grounding in the sport and to get a better understanding of the golf swing and the whole business and back ground of the game. The second part of my career has been playing. 3 years I have been competing in a couple of different tours around the world. They consist of the following: Asian Development Tour, MENA Tour, Jamega Tour, Europro Tour and Tartan Tour.
4) What is your biggest accomplishment in you sport so far?
I would say the two accomplishments that I have had are my 7th place finish in Oman last year on the MENA Tour. I played some fantastic golf for the whole week and had a great chance of winning but I came up just short. To date that’s my best main tour event finish. The other one would be my round of 62(-10) round the Els Club in Dubai. Thats my lowest ever score on a golf course competitive or social. In a more fun accomplishment manner I’ve had 5 hole in ones which is always nice to say especially when guys play their whole lives and never get one!
5) What is a typical weeks training for you?
A typical week for me varies. In an off week it is generally full on. I am at the range from 7am until 12 or 1pm. I will break these sessions up into a few different factors.
Short Game – I will spend a couple of hours practicing my short game. The short game for me goes from 50 yards and in. I will vary the practice so I don’t get stuck into a stalemate for practicing. I will then spend a bit of time working on bunker play. There is also a bit of technique work done during this time.
Putting – I usually spend a maximum of 1 hour working on my putting and I may do this twice in a session or just once. It all depends on what I am working on. I will spend this time working on technique and performing drills that will allow me to produce the results I want in competition. These drills are designed to put you under pressure.
Full Swing – I will usually only hit between 75 – 200 balls in a practice session. Any more than that in my view is too much and I will lose my focus. I have a number of drills from my coach Justin which really focus on creating a consistent swing pattern and not falling into a pattern that will cause problems, one with injury, and two with poor results.
Games – I play a bunch of different games in order to simulate playing on the golf course. These also help me with playing different types of shots. These can vary daily but they all have a similar focus.
In a tournament week my practice will be different in the sense of I wont work on them as long and as intense. I will just have one or two key focus points to help with everything that I am doing. The practice sessions become shorter so maybe only 2 hours worth of full practice.
In the off weeks I will try to play a few rounds of golf still but they are very relaxed however sometimes I will do specific practice on the course. An example being I will play from the ladies tee box. This helps me to work on two things my driving accuracy and my short game. The reason for this is the tee boxes are a lot closer to the hole than that of the professional tee markers. During a tournament week the practice round focus becomes very much based on learning where is the best place to put the golf ball and how will I make the course play as easy as possible.
6) What part of your training do you consider to be the foundation of your success?
I would say my work ethic and attitude is the best part of it all. I am a very hard worker and very determined to succeed. I have had a lot of downs so far in my career and very few ups but I continue to look at the ups that I’ve had and they drive me to keep working harder and harder in order to beat these current successes and create better ones.
7) What is the best piece of advice you have been given and how did it change/help you?
When I started out playing full-time I really struggled with the belief that I could do this. I started working with a mind coach called Catrin Larsson who helped me greatly to have a better attitude and focus on the golf course. She told me way back in my first or second session to “Be a General and Own the Golf Course!!” It’s not a huge inspirational quote but it’s something that has stuck and has helped me to focus on what it is I am doing.
8) What is your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I have is motivating myself to go to the gym and working on my physical fitness. I get quite lazy sometimes but I do try my hardest to go but I always find an excuse. RU Active is helping me get out of this laziness which is helping me become better at what I do.
9) Who are your inspiration and why? (Sport and Personal)
My inspiration in a sporting manner is Ernie Els. When I was 16 I was fortunate enough be be attached to a group called ‘The Doha Oilmen’s Academy’ and through them I was given the opportunity to have a lesson from Ernie himself. It was all a bit of a blur because he was such a big player at the time everyone wanted to meet him and be around him. However I still remember him say two things to me. “What a strike” and “I’ll see you on tour.” He may have only said them because I was 16 and he was trying to build up some confidence. I don’t know but I’ve strived to meet him at a big tour event somewhere in the world.
Away from sport I’ve always looked up to Elvis Presley. This man has been my idol since I can remember. I’ve always been quite a shy person but watching videos of his, listening to his songs and performing them myself, I’m able to become more outgoing and I get so much self-confidence from drawing on what it is he did.
10) What are you working on at present?
At this point in time with my golf game I have a couple of things that I’m working on. The first is I am trying to create better mental focus of my target in the golf shot. What I mean by that is I am trying to narrow my landing spot to smaller areas with the idea that the smaller the target the smaller the deviation will be.
I’m also working on getting the club set into a better position at the top of my back swing which really comes from the way that I start the swing. If I start it correctly it will go into the right position at the top of the swing. I’m using a training aid called Swing Glyde which has helped me loads with achieving this.
Finally I’m working on the way I swing the club through the golf ball. I have had a tendency these last few months to swing the club in an out-to-in path. So I am trying to get the feeling that the club drops into my right hand pocket and swings out the the right more. I am doing a very simple drill to help with this which is I put a bottle of water on the ground and my ball very close to the side of the bottle and the aim is to not hit it. If I perform the out-to-in move I will hit the bottle every time.
11) What is your long term goal?
My long term goal is to get myself onto one of the main golfing tours – European, Asian – and remain on the tour and compete for many many years.
12) Why did you chose your sport?
I chose my sport because my Dad was a keen golfer and he introduced me to the game properly when I was 13. I really had two choices when I grew up and it either golf or sailing. Not being a fan of the sea or the ocean golf was the easy choice!
13) What piece of advice would you give to young athletes starting out in your sport/any sport from the experiences you have had?
The piece of advice I would give to youngsters is this. Love what you do. If you don’t enjoy it you won’t be successful!
14) What experience/achievement or moment have you learned the most from and what was it?
This is a very hard question to answer but I would have to say it was Asian Tour Qualifying School back in 2012 I think it was. I was playing a course called Majestic Creek Golf Club and I missed out on going from first stage to final qualifying by one shot. Now when you say you missed by one shot it’s always going to be hard to take but mine was especially hard to take. Through the first 27 holes of the tournament I was 10 over par for the tournament and was basically going home from the event because of how badly I was placed. I managed to rally on the back nine of the second round and got to eight over and made the cut at that stage on the number. I still remember looking at the board and my name was the last one through. The next two days I continued with the great form I showed on the back nine, shooting rounds of 68 and 68 to sadly miss by one shot. The hardest part of it was I missed a putt on my very last hole to miss it. At the end of the week when I looked at the board I was the first name to be cut from this stage.
What I learnt was how quickly this game can change and how quickly you can go from being out of it to right in it. It also showed me that I can compete in these big tournaments.