THE golf bag has rarely spent so much time in the cupboard as it has over the past six months for Ben Eccles.
Being in lockdown and unable to play golf for much of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic has provoked mixed emotions for the talented Torquay golfer.
Much of Eccles’ life has been devoted to the game. He worked his way through the ranks to earn his Asian Tour Card and teed off in quality events such as the Malaysian Open in March, but that was the last competitive golf he has played.
While Eccles is forging a promising career, having played professionally for five years, the time away from the game has given him a refreshed look on his golf and allowed him to look at where he can improve his game, and most importantly, has him hungry to return to the course.
“It’s been really tough, if you had have called me six months ago, I was hating it… I haven’t really practiced,” he said.
“I’ll start to ramp things up now, I’ve got itchy feet to get going again.
“It really hits home when you can’t really play golf.
“It will be nice to play again and get those competitive juices flowing.
“It’s obviously frustrating but at the same there’s nothing as players that we can do, it’s a really good opportunity to get on top of things from a game standpoint and reassess a few things.”
Eccles is now turning his attention to the Gippsland Super 6 on January 21, in what will be his first tournament in close to 12 months, ahead of the Victorian PGA Championship on February 4.
He said there was a unique opportunity for him to possibly gain an advantage on some of his rivals by returning to tournament play in sharp form, and hoped to hit the ground running while others took longer to find top form after a disjointed year.
“If I can be as sharp as I can be to get off to a quick start, I’ll be looking for any edge I can get.”
While Eccles is eyeing tournaments in his home state early next year, as travel restrictions ease he will continue to strive towards his ultimate goal of working his way onto the European Tour and eventually the US Tour, which is a long-term focus.