Lindell ready for the fight after conscription stint

Some players spend time with family, some go on holiday and others take the opportunity to work on their game, but for Oliver Lindell, he experienced a very different off-season.

Hailing from Porvoo, Finland, the 19 year old was called up to complete national service with the Finnish army.

Conscription is compulsory for males aged 18 or over in the Scandinavian country and Lindell completed a six-month stint with the Finnish Defence Forces over the winter months.

Lindell, along with scores of other young men, received eight weeks of basic training before being assigned to different units for further specialist training.

The 2016 Nordic Golf League graduate has now completed his mandatory service but will be placed in reserve until he is aged between 50 and 60 and will be liable for activation at any time. This could be anything from a short military refresher exercise to front line service should the need arise.

The Finn has now returned to the European Challenge Tour and has explained the physical demands he was placed under during his time in the military.

“We were doing basic military things. We were learning about what the enemy would be doing and using radio to speak to our commanders,” Lindell said.

“We did some shooting and just before I went to Spain for practice camp, we did some fitness testing. We walked 46 kilometres in 22 hours and were carrying 40-kilogram backpacks.”

Despite the intense nature of the service, the military did allow the 19 year old, who secured a career-best Challenge Tour finish of fourth at last year’s Cordon Golf Open, time to practice his golf.  

“There was enough time for us to practice because when we weren’t training in the forest, we were back at the camp and they would let me practice in the morning and then do military things in the afternoon,” he said.

“I got back recently so I don’t have to think about it anymore! I can just play and practice now.”

Lindell finished tied 69th in the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open before missing the cut at the Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open last week, which was won by Lindell’s countryman Kim Koivu.

After admitting it has been a difficult start to his second season on the Challenge Tour, the Finn is planning to travel to the Turkish Airlines Challenge a few days before the start of the tournament to increase his preparation levels.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle with scoring but I think it’s improving now,” he said. “In China it was a case of ‘if you hit a bad shot, you have to think about how to save a bogey’ so if your game was off it was really tricky.

“I’m going to go to Turkey with my coach a few days before to get a few days’ practice in. I think I’m going to be stronger there.

“Although I travelled as a first reserve last year, and didn’t play in the tournament, I was able to practice there last year so I know the course and I’m hoping for a successful week.”

The Turkish Airlines Challenges takes place at Gloria Golf Club in Belek between April 26-29.


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