27 Jul 2023

Sam Mullane – Memories for a lifetime

The Emirates Golf Federation Men’s Order of Merit recently came to a close for the 2022/23 season, crowning a new well-deserving champion in Sam Mullane.

The Englishman enjoyed a stunning campaign under the desert sun, playing in 14 events and winning two to claim top spot ahead of the host of other talented players. The 20-year-old also enjoyed another delight when he received an invite to play in the Challenge Tour event at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club back in May.

He didn’t know it at the time, but he was paired with the eventual winner in Germany’s Max Rottluff. It’s safe to say it’s been a memorable year for Jumeirah Golf Estates member, and he gave us the lowdown on everything that’s unfolded for him to get to this point.

Worldwide Golf: How did you get into golf?

Sam Mullane: My Dad wanted us to play to begin with. I was born in England, but have grown up in Dubai having moved over at an early age. We then first started playing golf back at Emirates Golf Club doing the junior sessions, so I’ve been playing since I was eight or nine. My handicap is plus three now.

WWG: How has the UAE developed your game, and what’s the difference here compared to the UK?

SM: I’ve just worked on my putting a lot, especially recently. It’s all about holing putts around here in the Middle East. The greens are often quite quick, and they’re slopey, but if you can hole putts, you should do pretty good and score well. The difference between Dubai and the UK is also that the courses in the UK are a little bit tighter. You’ve got to be more positional off the tee and really take that into consideration. Translating the golf from Dubai to UK can be really difficult, though. You can’t just go to golf club and just walk up and practice, you’ve got to go and pay for balls. It’s the small differences like that. The facilities just aren’t as good in England in comparison to the UAE as well. All these small things add up and personally I think it can be quite difficult to play well in England.

WWG: How do you reflect on winning the EGF’s Order of Merit this year?

SM: It was a solid season. I finished top 20 in every event and in general I played pretty solid. The start of the season was also pretty good, and now I’m holing more putts, my scoring is so much better. I felt good going into the season at the start as well. I don’t really hit that many greens, but when I’m around the greens I always feel like I can get up and down, so it’s easy to score well. Winning the JGE Men’s Open was the highlight. I’m a member there so know the courses pretty well, coming into that tournament I felt like I should have been winning it, and I did.

WWG: What was playing in the high-profile UAE Challenge event like at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club?

SM: It was really cool. Coming from amateur events it was a totally different set up. The course was firm, fast and long. It was good to get out there and play with absolute ballers. I was paired with the eventual winner, Max Rottluff, and it was pretty cool. I played with him the first two days. There were 50km winds and this guy was just boxing putts from off the green to shoot four under. Pretty good, and I’m looking forward again to playing it next year if I get invited.

WWG: Did you learn anything that week from playing with Max?

SM: Max was a really nice and it was just great to be chatting away with him, both myself and my caddie Jake. He was actually a really nice guy. For me, he didn’t do anything special, but his long irons were always 20 foot from the pin. Whenever he had a 60 foot putt, for us amateurs, we’d be happy with a two-putt but his intention was to hole it every single time. He was burning the edges of the hole constantly and I was just watching like ‘wow’. Since the event I followed him on Instagram, but I’m still waiting for the follow back!

WWG: Does anyone help you practice, and do you have a coach?

SM: I’ve had coaches in the past in Dubai, but I’ve found I don’t like being coached that much. I just prefer to do my own thing most of the time. I do have input from a coach back in England, but he comes over every three months. His name is Jason Froggatt, and he’s based in Nottingham.

WWG: How does your summer schedule look this year?

SM: I’m heading back to England this summer, but only for a couple of weeks this year. I’m playing Woburn under-25 Championship which is a three day event with a cut after the second day. I’m also going to enter the Walton Heath trophy. I’m not sure on my playing schedule after that at this moment in time.

WWG: What’s your long term plan in golf? Do you have any future aspirations to turn pro?

SM: I don’t really know right now, to be honest. I’m just going to try and play well in other countries other than the UAE. Here I can feel quite confined, especially playing on just desert-style courses, so I need to get to Europe and play well in an event, and just see how it goes from there. I don’t have any sponsors at the moment so it can be quite expensive!

WWG: How often are you playing?

SM: At the moment, I don’t really practice that much. If I go to the range, I’ll hit a few wedges and then go to the putting green for an hour to really practice that. I play on course three times a week with a couple of guys from Jumeirah Golf Estates.

WWG: And finally, what’s your best round?

SM: My lowest round this season in a tournament was 68, and that was at the Arabian Ranches. Recreation ally In recreational golf I don’t really score that well in practice rounds to be honest. It’s where the tournaments where I play my best stuff.

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