Few will have failed to notice that I have been in South Africa for quite a few weeks now. I’ve been busy on instagram showing some of the beautiful and interesting places I’ve been to in the last few months. I really have had the most fantastic time here, and I am not looking forward to returning to London tomorrow night at all.
When I first arrived in Cape Town I was busy working for Cape Thoroughbred Sales who were holding their annual yearling sale in the middle of the city which once again was a big success with buyers from overseas.
Once the sales and the J and B Met were over I concentrated on golf, and played a great deal in preparation for the Sunshine Ladies Tour. The Sunshine Ladies Tour was a brand new tour that has been formed in South Africa, and that has received backing from some big and important sponsors including Investec and Dimenson-Data. This year there will be 7 events on the tour but hopefully the tour will continue to go from strength to strength over the next few years. After a few weeks of play and practice in Cape Town I flew to Johannesburg to play the first competition on the tour. Before I flew to Johannesburg I didn’t actually appreciate the difference in altitude. It is just short of 2,000 metres above sea level so this makes a big difference to the ball flight when on the golf course. It adds about 10% to the distance you would normally hit a ball. It can be great, but if you forget it can cause a problem!
The first event I played was at Houghton Golf Club in the heart of the city. It was a golf course that was recently redesigned by Jack Nicklaus with some very undulating greens. It was the first tournament that I played in since LET Q School in November and only the second since the nasty car crash I had in October. Since October I have struggled with whiplash and nerve pain down my left arm in particular. I had hoped the time and warm weather would improves things, and it did… But I think I might have overdone the golf at the same time, so after getting better it got worse again.. I tried to get some physio and massages in Johannesburg before my first event, and although it helped it didn’t help a huge initially and I struggled in the tournament. Having pain like this causes quite a lot of doubt in your golf swing, and consequently I didn’t play my best. Having said that I did hit some very good shots, and made quite a few birdies but there were also some poor swings and shots. After Houghton I decided that I shouldn’t travel to Sun City the following day to play the next event on the schedule. It was a shame as I was looking forward to going to Sun City to play and seeing it. I understand it quite a sight to see. I’ll have to save it for next year now. I stayed in Johannesburg and got lots of physio, as I was hoping I’d be better with a few days rest as I was flying to George to play at Fancourt on the beautiful and renowned garden route.
Dimenson-Data have sponsored a big Pro-Am on the men’s Sunshine Tour for a number of years, and from what I heard it was the highlight of the players and amateurs season, and those who are just there for the party! For the first time there was a ladies pro-am which I was very lucky to be part of. We played on two courses, Oubaai which is a course designed by Ernie Els and in the most stunning location over looking the mountains and the ocean. It was a fun day, and there were some great scores and I was was generally happy enough with the way I played, especially given I was feeling far from 100%. The following day we played the final round at Outeniqua, and sadly I didn’t play well at all, and really struggled with my neck and arm. Once again after a number of rounds and practice it started to play up and aggravate it.
After the round I discussed what was happening with a number of people and coaches, and I decided that unfortunately I would withdraw from the rest of the event’s on the Ladies Sunshine Tour, and concentrate on getting better following the car crash. I’ve absolutely loved playing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, and I absolutely want to commit to it all next year, but right now I need to make sure I don’t remain injured for the whole of 2014.
I’m really disappointed that my neck, and shoulder are not better like I had hoped they would be, and I am frustrated that I get over the hurdles of various hip operations and fight hard to get back, and then to have a car accident doesn’t really feel all that fair. Having said all that I am not getting myself down and miserable about it all, because I’m acutely aware that I was so incredibly lucky not to be in far worse a state and possibly not alive so I count my blessings.
It would be hard to get down and miserable when I’m in Cape Town, meeting and making friends with some fun people. It’s my third summer in Cape Town, and I’ve been incredibly lucky to go to some of the nicest places possible with the nicest people so I really can’t complain.
I hope I remain as positive and optimistic when I am back in London in a few days time… That is if I don’t miss my flight on purpose!!