Think Young, Play Hard
Golf has been part of his life and Shariffuddin Ariffin is enjoying life as a touring professional.
Melakan Shariffuddin Ariffin has big ambitions.
On your start in the game It all started at age of four at Tiara Melaka Golf & Country Club driving range. From there I started liking the game and played in competitions then. On your passion for the game Age doesn’t matter in this game and I can play a long time. You can also make a lot of friends. It can build up your character as well. I had the chance to practice and play regularly at Tiara Melaka because my father is the resident pro and a member of the club. On dislikes I just don’t like rain delays because it can take some time before we can return to play the round. I think one of the bad ones was at Damai Golf & Country Club in Sarawak where there was a six-hour delay. I was playing in the evening but had to stop and finish the final three holes the next day. You can feel a bit slower when you re-start the game. Your concentration also will be lower. On your most unforgettable moment The one I remember the most will be the PGM Danau Championship in 2015, when I finished fourth, my highest placing in the PGM Tour ever. The first two rounds was a struggle but I managed to regain my focus and finished strongly with scores of 68 and 67. My ball striking was good, sank a lot of long putts and my short game was strong. On your lowest score I shot a six-under-par 66 in the second round of the Impian Closed Championship at the Impian Golf & Country Club earlier this year. On your favourite club in the bag It would be my 3-wood because it gives me the distance I need and it is very consistent. My driver is longer but not as consistent. I use my 3-wood more than the driver because I can stay on the fairway more. On driving distance 275 metres. But, I have driven it 300 metres at Tiara Melaka before. On your daily routine On tournament weeks once I am awake I will do some exercises, have breakfast before hitting some balls to loosen up. That’s followed by about 20 minutes of putting and 10 minutes before my tee time. When there are no tournaments I would be cycling or jogging in the morning, or going to the range to hit shots. I will golf three times a week and practice every day. My practice routine depends of how my game is doing. If I am having problems with driving then I will work on that. The same applies with my iron shots or the short game.
This year my main problem has been with the driver keeping the ball on the fairway. I am adjusting to a new driver and especially the shaft, as sometimes when I want to hit a draw it doesn’t work. It’s the same with wanting to hit a fade. So for now I will use my 3-wood off the tee. On your favourite golf course (s) It will have to be Tiara Melaka, my home course as I know the holes well. It is quite a challenging layout especially on some drives with wellplaced bunkers. I can play quite confidently there especially on the par-5s where I can reach in two shots. I think only Danny Chia can do this on the Woodland course where the par5s are long. I also like the fact that I can attack the pin at Tiara because the greens bite and hold the ball. The other course I like is TPC Kuala Lumpur. It looks very nice, the condition is good and is also challenging. It has some sloping greens which in a way reminds me of Tiara Melaka. Here you cannot attack as easily on some holes as the ball can run off the green. I think at TPC the most important point is course management where you hit the ball. If you land in the rough your chances for a good score on that hole is very low. On your coach Since I was young and until today it has been my father Ariffin Omar. Because he’s a pro himself and has played in the TDC Tour before, he knows the inside out of tournament golf. His advice and observation is very good for me. My father follows me round by round in most tournaments and while he is looking at my game he is also observing my temperament. He is very concerned about discipline, etiquette and conduct. He says I must carry myself as a professional does, hold my head up, and look and greet people. He teaches me to use a range finder on the range how to strengthen club selection and develop my course management. On holes where there are fairway bunkers I am taught that it is better to use a 3-wood as most greens are reachable with an iron. On your school/college and golf When I was studying in SMK Sri Gading I normally finish school at 3pm, then I will head to range to practice and in the night I will attend to my schoolwork. On your hobbies The only one now is futsal which I play like once a month. I used to play more when I was younger but stopped regular play at Form One as I was concentrating on playing golf. On hanging out Sometimes I will accompany my sister to go shopping and meet old friends. On your favourite food Chicken chop and poached eggs. What would you like to be if you are not a golfer I think I would be a policeman or a soldier.