DUBAI // Ahmed Al Musharrekh concedes he will have to adopt a better work ethic and improve the quality and quantity of his practice if he is to successfully make the transition from amateur to paid player.
The Emirati, 21, has designs on joining the Asian professional circuit in a year's time and his performances this year have suggested he has the potential to make the step up, but he acknowledges his preparation leaves a lot to be desired.
"I'm not a fan of practising in general," Al Musharrekh said. "It's been the same since I was a kid. The simple explanation for this is that it's boring. For me, the thrill of competition is everything. I would play tournaments every week if I could."
Musharrekh produced the best performance by an Emirati on the international circuit at the Asian Amateur Championship last month, finishing 24th out of the 120-strong field.
But, by his own admission, he could have closed the 18-shot gap on the winner had he not "passed up too many birdie opportunities" and "three-putted a few times".
Asked how regularly he practises his putting, Al Musharrekh said: "Not much, I have to admit. But I need to change this bad habit. If I put in the work, it will all come together, but that's not an easy thing for me to do."
Musharrekh combines his life as an amateur golfer with studying for a business degree at the American College in Dubai.
Eventually he plans to commit to golf full-time.
"That won't be for another 12 months, but it will happen," Al Musharrekh said.
"I don't want to be too forward or anything like that, but I feel I am very close with where I want my game to be."
Al Musharrekh has enjoyed something of a breakthrough in the last six months.
He inspired the UAE to their best performance at the Nomura Cup, the top amateur competition in Asian and Australasia, and finished fifth in the individual standings at the Arab Golf Championship in Morocco last month.
"Ahmed has come on so much in six months, and he can improve even more over the next six," Chris Vallender, the UAE team coach, said.
"If he works hard and maintains his focus, he could be 100 times better than he is because there is so much potential there.
"But he needs to practise more. I was speaking to Robert Karlsson in Dubai recently and he said players should spend 25 per cent of their time on the putting green, which can be boring, and not just standing on a range hitting balls for miles, which is good fun."
Al Musharrekh said the penny started to drop for him at the Asian Amateur Championship, which was won by Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.
"I saw for myself, in Singapore, just how good the guys are out there, and the standard I need to be at," he said.
"Once I get everything to click, I will catch up with the players who are shooting the low scores. I am positive of that."
He transferred his form to the Mena Tour event in Dubai earlier this month, finishing as the top amateur. However, he failed to earn a top-10 finish to claim a place a the Tour Championship in Al Ain, prompting caution from Vallender over Al Musharrekh turning professional.
"He needs at least another year, maybe 18 months, to improve his game, work hard and play the amateur circuit," Vallender said. "Ahmed is not quite ready to compete in, say, the Asian Tour because what is the point in turning pro if you are going to miss cuts every week?"
Al Musharrekh is the middle of three golfing brothers. Abdulla, the eldest, was part of the Nomura Cup team but Hassan, the youngest, could be the pick of the trio.
"Hassan is the golfer in the family," Ahmed said.
"I don't think I'm that talented, I just like to compete. Hassan is the one with the talent. He is just a natural and he's only 18. I need to keep an eye on him."