I had eye-opening experiences exploring Russia this week and on the course I played well, shooting six under and tying for 12th place- seven shots behind the winner.
The Nicklaus-designed course was fantastic! It’s a difficult but fair layout through a forest. When you are on one hole, all other holes aren't visible. Since golf isn’t yet a big sport in Russia (there are only 40 courses in the entire country) and the tournament is over an hour’s drive from Moscow, there were fewer spectators here than at other tournaments. Frankly being in Russia with few spectators and playing holes carved out of a forest at times caused me to feel like I was on the edge of the world, but I didn’t have those thoughts for long because the course demanded my full attention.
Russia is an incredible country but much different than the U.S. The dichotomy between wealth and poverty is striking and the food takes some getting used to. Some of the countryside and sights, though, are very beautiful. While I walked around Red Square in Moscow on Wednesday afternoon (as a tourist) I couldn’t help but be in awe of the architecture of the buildings and in amazement of what has gone on within them.
I just got back to Virginia Beach. I’m looking forward to visiting my swing coach, who I haven’t been able to see for four months, and trying to find ways to build on what I’ve experienced. The European Tour is a fantastic place to grow and learn, and right now I don’t want to be anywhere else. The officials, players and volunteers at every event have been welcoming and helpful. Over the past year I haven’t felt uncomfortable anywhere I’ve been. But in the final analysis this is my job and I need to focus on growing and getting better.
All the best, Brinson