First of all, Hello! I created this blog, Girl On Tour, to document the adventure I have found myself embarking on, and a desire to take you on this journey with me. As this is the beginning, a prologue seems appropriate. Let us get acquainted!
I’m Chelsie. A 6-foot tall brunette, with an incredible lack of balance, and limbs like Bambi. To put it bluntly, sports was clearly not in my DNA, nor intended in my future once PE school days were (to my delight) well and truly over.
Both my parents, and my sister however, seemed to have a natural ability when it came to sporting activities. In particular, all 3 have played and continue to play golf. Throughout my childhood, holidays to Spain and America consisted of the three of them enjoying the game of golf in the sunshine, whilst I enjoyed the comfort of the buggy!
To find myself at age 22, wrapped up in the world of Professional Golf, is pretty remarkable. Knowing I would fail at all attempts to play (pretty much anything), the sport managed to find a way to firmly immerse itself into my life. Becoming the centre of my everyday. Here, is where it all began…
My 18th year was the most fun year of my life so far. Every weekend involved plenty of alcohol, lots of questionable dancing, and so much laughter my abs ached for 365 days. The clubs in question were not the classiest, but they became home for our drunken alter ego’s. It was in this year, and standing at one of these sticky bars, that I met Matt.
I always remember his parting line to me the night we met: “You’re lucky you met me tonight. I’m a Professional Golfer. I’m never here, I travel a lot”. For someone with a great lack of golf knowledge, it wasn’t the most impressive statement! It was classically cocky, but credit to him, it grabbed my attention (the statement, and the cheeky smile on his face). Obviously – as all girls do – I googled whether there was any truth to this the next morning. To my surprise he wasn’t lying – about his job, or as I realise now, how lucky I was to have met him.
That September, I started University and in December of 2014 our relationship began. 4 years later, and together we have been through many chapters and accomplishments. I graduated in the summer of 2017, my greatest achievement so far. For Matt, his achievements keep on coming thick and fast, and I’m incredibly proud to be the one by his side for each and every one of them.
In 2014 – when we met – Matt was playing professionally on The Alps Tour. The Alps Tour is a developmental tour for aspiring golfers in pursuit of climbing the ranks to achieve their dreams. It provides them with the opportunity to compete and travel, gaining experience for superior tours. I attended one tournament during Matts time on the tour – Poitiers, France.
To save money, we decided to drive the 10 hour journey, and stayed in what can only be described as a pretty dire hotel. It rained the entire time, but we made it our own adventure, and I loved learning more about the sport whilst watching him work hard every single day. Determination to achieve his dreams oozed out of Matt and it’s always been one of the qualities I have found most attractive in him.
Matt had been on The Alps Tour for 3 years and had begun to feel his results were lacking momentum for his future. In 2015, he attended European Tour Qualifying School, as he had done for numerous years in the past. Qualifying School involves three stages, and those who make it to the end of Final Stage will have played 252 holes. It’s not designed to be easy, but it takes a large amount of energy, intensity, and finance for aspiring golfers with a lack of disposable income. For many, it is their last shot at making it.
Matt played well, but unfortunately did not make it through Final Stage, and disappointment engulfed him. He was feeling defeated, and had begun to lose his vision and drive for the future. He wanted to quit.
Following attempts to make connections within sports management (and receiving no responses), alongside words of encouragement from myself, family, and friends, he decided to give it one last push. He changed coach to better his technique, and worked harder than ever before, spending hours practicing come rain or shine. We would often spend our winter weekends at the range, myself sat in 100 layers with chattering teeth watching every single shot. We couldn’t leave until he’d hit the perfect shot a certain amount of times in a row. Gradually, his passion, and his spark, began to re-emerge.
In 2016, evidence of his hard work started showing. Matt won his first professional tournament on The Alps Tour in Egypt at The Dreamland Pyramids Open. Words will never do justice for the pride and emotions that overcame all of us close to Matt – those who had witnessed his low, and his determination and desire to give his all to achieve his dream. The win sparked the fire in Matt – the competitor within him – and he went on to make history with 5 consecutive wins. Not only this, he added an extra win in a few weeks later for good measure – obviously!
Matt’s 6 wins saw him lead the Alps Tour Order of Merit, resulting in receiving Challenge Tour accreditation for 2017. However, Challenge Tour was not a part of our lives for long. A couple months into the new tour, Challenge Tour and European Tour hosted a co-sanction event in Portugal. Open de Portugal gave the players the opportunity to win a place on European Tour.
Not only did Matt go on to win it, he managed to do so wire-to-wire.
Winning granted Matt a 2 year exemption on European Tour – he had achieved the first of his dreams: becoming a European Tour Player.
However, the rollercoaster did not stop there. 2018 has proved to be yet another unbelievable year for Team Wallace. The team has grown in numbers, the hard work has intensified further, and Matt has gone on to win 3 events this year. This makes Matt a 4-time European Tour winner within the space of 16 months.
Proud doesn’t even come close.
For me, this year has been a year of big decisions and significant change – choices I have had to make for myself, Team Wallace, and our future together.
I have spent the last 6 years working hard through school, university, and my first job, all with a specific career in mind. Every subject I chose from A-Level to Degree, were chosen with a purpose of being suited for my desired career. This of course, was during a time when our lives seemed like every other – a period when we could plan ahead, as I had been. But, sometimes life can take an unexpected turn, and the last year has thrown some serious curveballs.
The distance in the relationship was never too much of an issue, we were used to it. However, with Matt’s rise came last minute tournament entries, long-haul travel, more weeks away, and ultimately my job became a barricade. In this 2018 season, Matt has played 33 tournaments – in the calendar year, this rises to 35. That’s 35 weeks of the year out of the country. 35 weeks apart. 35 weeks of milestones, achievements, and new experiences I wasn’t going to be able to share with him. The team feeling was dissipating the more tournaments I had no choice but to miss – and it had it’s strains.
We could never have predicted the rollercoaster of a ride the last 18 months have been. My plans were no longer working alongside it, and something had to give – for my personal happiness, the longevity of our relationship, and for the future success of Team Wallace.
I have always been a character that follows the rules, with a desire to please everyone around me, making them proud. Battling with myself for months, debating whether or not I was brave enough to make the decision to leave my job, going against others wishes and desires for me, was the toughest choice I have made to date. But, I don’t regret it.
I will find my feet and my own opportunities over time. To be a team, comes with some sacrifices – this was mine. But, when one door closes, another opens. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for both myself personally, and Team Wallace.
To say our lives have changed somewhat, would be an understatement. Matt’s rise has been so rapid, we’re still trying to catch up with it now. With success, comes compromises, lessons to be learnt, and changes to the way of life we were used to. It’s been a year of so many highs, but together as a team we have supported one another through the numerous lows and the adjustments we have both needed to make to begin to find our feet along this new journey.
For myself, the decision to leave my job was incredibly tough, and things still haven’t quite settled. I don’t expect anybody who isn’t also engulfed in this crazy life on tour to understand the decisions I have made.
Life on The European Tour is one in a million. In our relationship, one of us currently has the opportunity to make their dreams a reality, whilst simultaneously providing for our future, and sharing the experiences – good and bad – together. Life’s too short not to make the most of it.
One lesson I have learnt through the trials and tribulations we have encountered along the way is that as long as we ourselves are happy, and continue to support and share each others achievements, nothing else matters. This will, and always should be, our priority. We are strong individuals, but we are even stronger together.
When I met Matt he was 1137th in the world.
3 golf tours, 3 majors competed in, 10 professional wins – 4 of those on European Tour, and 1 PGA hole-in-one later; Matt ended the 2018 season as a Top 50 Player in the world. His dreams are endless, but his achievements are making them our reality.
Finishing the year Top 50 justifies the decisions we have both made along the way. I still pinch myself that this year has happened, that this has become our everyday: travelling the world together – one tournament at a time. All of it is credit to the sportsman Matt is. His fire, his drive, and his passion. This, is just the beginning.
Here’s to 2019. Team Wallace are ready for you.