Back on the LET ACCESS TOUR.. and not without drama!

I’m often teased about the various pictures I post from various interesting and exotic locations around the world, apparently the term for it is smoasting!

The first tournament of the season was in Dinard, Brittany. It is true that this is one of the nicer locations on tour. Beautiful beaches and sweet villages. I was incredibly lucky to once again stay with the same hosts family as last year, and I certainly landed on my feet with them- the other end of the spectrum to the wood cabin in the middle of the woods in Sweden that I experienced last year!

Dinard is a links course that was created in 1887 by the British and I believe it’s one of the oldest golf courses in France. There are some stunning holes on the course over looking the sea and beaches, where there are plenty of reminders of the wars that have been fought in those parts. Fortunately the weather was glorious once again, particularly because it was early in the year. It could have been very difficult! The greens in Dinard are tough and if you happened to be above the hole it was hard to stop the ball anywhere close to the pin. It caused problems for many players but I struggled even more that most. It’s incredibly frustrating when you play tee to green well and consistently only to throw away shots on the putting green. There were positives to take from it though, my putting improved towards the end of the few days, and my long game is in good shape.

As much as I had enjoyed my time in Dinard I was quite keen to get back to England, and so to my horror I realised on the morning I was due to fly back to London that I had never actually booked the flight. Slight panic, as the flight was then full, an the same for the following day and all ferries were cancelled! I wasn’t able to book any flight on the internet, so rushed to the airport to see if I could persuade someone to let me on a flight later that day. Luckily I was allowed to get on a flight to Nottingham at vast expense, but it did mean I was able to leave!

This week I flew to Porto, before crossing the border 2 and a half hours into Spain. I am still not entirely sure where I was, apart from it being in the middle of nowhere. Without being too rude it would have been hard to take a photo that would have made everyone envious this week! Sadly this trip was a complete and utter disaster. I wasn’t feeling well at all before leaving but I felt I should go, and I might start to improve. In fact this was not the case at all, in fact quite the opposite.

On Wednesday morning I decided to withdraw from the competition and return to England as quickly as possibly in order to go straight to the Dr.

But it was not all plain sailing.. This is what happened next:

– I changed my flight to leave Porto later that day.
-Ryanair called me back 30 mins later to say they made a mistake and needed to charge me more.. I told them to take a hike!
-The hire car wouldn’t start. The locking system had gone awol. It’s caused the battery to go flat. Hire car recovery claim they were on their way, which they weren’t. After an hour or so, a friend came to help me. Battery totally flat, and the locking system was still going mad. The doors closed and then the keys are locked inside the car. Disaster! Car hire company claim they did not cover this. After much persuasion and near tears they make they way to me and fix the car, and agree that I was  NOT at fault.
-I then make my way to Porto which is 2 and half hours from where I am in Spain, feeling terribly ill.
– At Porto airport I feel terribly ill and I am terribly ill! Security put me through fast track, and they can obviously tell I’m in a bad way. At the gate I requested to go on last, and I was told to see a nurse but informed that if they saw me they will most probably not let me fly.
-After 20 mins a steward makes an announcement asking for a Dr to come forward not for me, but another passenger! Two jump up, and rush to the back of the plane.. A lady wasn’t well. Lots of drama. Oxygen masks etc
– Suddenly we are making a decent and the captain announced that we were making an emergency landing to get the ill passenger to a hospital! I had no idea where we had landed, but someone got on their GPS and informed everyone we were in Brest, France. After an hour or so we take off again for London.

This was a very testing day, and a disappointing week for me but I am now back in England and hoping to get better as soon as possible in order to fly out to Zurich on Tuesday for the Swiss Open in St Gallen.

Life on tour is not always a bed of roses!

What’s happened in the past year

For a number of personal reasons it was difficult to keep up to date with my blog over the past year but my new years resolution will be to keep it up to more regularly- starting now!

2014 was a tough year in many ways, but particularly because I was dealing the effects and injuries that I sustained in October 2013 as the result of the car crash. I was unable to play, and train as much as I had hoped and in fact had to cut short my time on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and return to England to endless more physiotherapy and rehab.

The knock on effect of all this was that it affected my confidence on the golf course, but it was not all doom and gloom. In June I once again made it through Ladies British Open Pre Qualifying at the Berkshire to go to the Final Stage at Southport and Ainsdale, which is next to Royal Birkdale. Sadly I didn’t make it through to The Ricoh Ladies British Open but once again it was a brilliant experience particularly when I noticed that I had Michelle Wie walking along in the very small gallery following my group! Not many people can claim that! She, I imagine was not there to follow me, but to support Hally Leadbetter the daughter of Michelle’s coach David whom I was paired with!

In the late summer I made some good rounds and cuts on the LET Access Series particularly in ‘Generali Open de Strasbourg’ with a very solid -4 in Round 1.

Sadly Ladies European Tour School did not quite go as intended and I missed out on progressing through Pre Qualifying by a small margin. It wasn’t at all what i had hoped for, and I was bitterly disappointed but I’ll learn.

At the beginning of 2015 I flew out to Cape Town to combine working for Cape Thoroughbred Sales with competing on the Ladies Sunshine Tour. For the first month I was based in Cape Town and helped CTS with their successful sale of Yearling Sale, and attended the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and the J&B Met which were both great days racing and great fun, and certainly not at all like racing in Europe. Very long days with 12 races and all sorts of parties.

In February I travelled to Johannesburg for the first event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour which was held at Sun City which is two hours from the city. Sun City is the most extraordinary complex built in the middle of nowhere. It was also incredibly hot, and thankfully I had been in the country a month already or I might have struggled playing in 39 degree blazing heat.

After Sun City was a tournament at Glendower Golf Club in the middle of Johannesburg and a brilliant test of golf but in magically cooler conditions. We certainly have experienced all weathers so far on this tour, and not all of it was Sunshine! We travelled to George to play the Dimenson Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt which is a big event on the schedule being played alongside the Men’s Sunshine Tour. Like last year we played at Oubaai, and at Fancourt. This year however we were not blessed with glorious weather from start to finish, but the most appalling wind and rain I have ever had to play in.. I felt desperately sorry for the amateurs who were out there playing for supposed fun, it must have been grim!

Following Fancourt, it was to Cape Town to play the Cape Town Open at Royal Cape Golf Club, a course I know well. The wind blew, and I had two decent event rounds to have a top 10 finish without a single 3 putt for the only time this year so far- need I say more!

It was then back to Johannesburg and last week we played at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington the day after the Men’s event on the European Tour which was fun, especially playing their final day pin positions.

Next week will be my sadly be my final event at Pretoria Country Country in the Tshwane Ladies Open. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time this year playing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, and even if my scoring hasn’t always been up to scratch I am certain I will have gained valuable experience playing so much so early in the season.

South Africa

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!!


2013 finished for me with plenty of frustration and pain after a tough experience at the Ladies European Tour School. As much as I was disappointed not to make it through, I was under no illusions that the car crash I had experienced at the start of October had affected me more than I had let on at the time.

The pain in my left arm became sorer and sorer after Tour School, and by Christmas I was in a lot of discomfort. It was decided that I should have an MRI scan on my neck to make sure there was nothing really sinister. Thankfully there wasn’t and once we knew this Jeremy and Ailish at Six Physio were able to change tactic and try a few different things and thankfully I instantly felt better. I knew I was under pressure to get better quickly because I was leaving for Cape Town on the 17th January and I really needed to be better and able to hit balls again. I spend a lot of time at Six Physio and it’s paid off. I’m in Cape Town and feeling pretty good.

At Tour School I met Karen Francis who was in Rabat working with Hannah Ralph who successfully got her full tour card for the 2014 season. I enjoyed talking to Karen about the mental aspect of the game, and decided to contact Karen once I got back, with the hope that could could help me my potential. The mental side of the game of golf is so important.

I met with Michael Evans and Mark Leyland a couple of times before leaving for Cape Town, and although I’d had quite a bit of time off and hadn’t felt great, my swing wasn’t it too bad shape. I left for Cape Town confident that the warm weather and sunshine would do me good. It certainly has done.

I’ve been here just over a week now, and as well as working for Cape Thoroughbred Sales, who were holding their Premier Yearling Sale last week I was also lucky enough to play quite a bit of golf in some of the most spectacular locations. I’m really incredibly lucky to travel to so many places and see so many sights- all from the middle of the fairway. In the past week I’ve played in the vineyards around Stellenbosch, the foothills of the Helderberg Mountrains, and next to the Cape Town Football Stadium.

I’ve played well, and will spend the next few weeks playing and practicing and sharpening up my short game before flying to Johannesburg in February to play on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. At the moment I am entered to play in 3 events on this tour. One at Houghton in Johannesburg, One at Sun City and a Pro Am at Fancourt in George. I’m really looking forward to playing all these events, and preparing for the 2014 season.

Summary of 2013

As you will notice I have reverted to the old format for my website… Back to basics! For this reason I am unable to retrieve my previous blogs and news updates.  But keep on reading, and I’ll give you a quick round up of 2013.It’s certainly been an interesting year and on the whole an extremely positive one. I returned to professional golf after a long layoff of two years due to serious career threatening injuries. Not long back into playing I won my first tournament in an exciting play off at Hever Castle.  It was fun to get playing competitive golf, and to hole a long putt down the last to force a playoff.. And then of course to win the playoff.In July, I entered the Ladies British Open Pre Qualifing which is regularly held at the Berkshire. I felt that above all it was going to be a great experience playing against all the professionals who are week in week out on the Ladies European Tour. It’s all been about gaining competitive experience this year. I played one of the best rounds of my career that day, and shot -2 on a tricky tight track, and qualified comfortably for the Final Qualifying Stage at Kingsbarns.

Two weeks later I was in Scotland, trying to be in the top 15 of 100 players. I was fortunate to be paired with Karen Lunn who is one of the most experienced and successful players on the tour. A great way to judge one’s own game. Sadly I didn’t play particularly well that day, and didn’t make it into the top 15. Nor did Karen.  It was a great experience, and certainly encouraging to be in that position after such a long time out the game.

In September I went on to win another two tournaments on the Jamega Ladies Tour, and then competed at Stoke by Nayland on the Ladies European Tour Access Series.

The year was certainly going in the right direction, and towards the ultimate goal of Ladies European Tour Qualifying School.  Unfortunately I was involved in a potentially very nasty car crash at the beginning of October. I was incredibly lucky to walk away, but it did leave me suffering from very bad whiplash. It meant that I was unable to pick up a golf club for over a month, which was far from ideal in the run up to Tour School.  Luckily for me, I am in great hands with the team at SixPhysio as they got me back playing in November. I was still not able to putt though as that put too much pressure on my neck.

Due to the car crash, I had to pull out of a number of events on the Ladies European Tour Access Series which was frustrating. I was looking forward to go to Crete and Spain for valuable competition practice ahead of Tour School.

It was touch and go for a while if I was going to make Tour School after the crash, but I was going to make every possible effort to get there, as I really didn’t want to miss another one.

I did make it to Rabat, Morocco for Tour School and was hopeful that even with my setback I would get through to the final stage. However sadly I missed getting through by a shot or two, and was incredibly frustrated. I had played some incredibly good golf over the four days, but on day two in particular I was struggling with the neck injury and was in quite some discomfort. I was also just rusty after over two months without a competition, and it showed for the first few days. The practice was never going to make up for the lack of competition. On the final day I played fantastic golf and showed real guts and determination. Dave Rankin, my caddy and I had discussed the fact that if I shot level par I might have a chance of getting through. Only a small handful of players had shot level over the four days. It was going to be a tough ask especially under pressure. But I did it.. I shot level par, birdying two of my final three holes. Sadly it wasn’t quite enough, I just wish I had hit a few putts a little harder.  But I take confidence in the way I played the final round, and having the best score on the final day.

I was bitterly disappointed, but I must remember what happened and that I didn’t have the preparation that I had hoped for.

I have made huge progress this year, and that is definitely down to the team I am working with. Michael Evans my coach has been fantastic and supportive and I know going to see him was the best thing I did this year. I’m a far better player than I was a few years ago. Through Michael I have started working with Mark Leyland, who is a golf fitness expert so I’m continuing to get stronger and fitter. SixPhysio have also kept me going all year, and helped me enormously especially in the past few months.

It’s now off season time, and it’s time to get working hard. There are swing changes to be made, and now is the time to do it. I will also try and work with Mark and Ailish at SixPhysio to build up strength to hit the ball further and straighter..

Let the hard work begin!

Florida Update

I’ve been in Florida for just over a couple of weeks now, and it’s been a really positive and productive trip. What a difference a year makes! On April 1st last year I remember being at a real low, but today I feel positive about what the future can bring. I was due to leave this afternoon to return to London but I’ve actually delayed my flight a few days. It’s so unbelievably cold in England, that practicing and playing golf will be pretty difficult so I thought if stay here a little longer. I probably should be staying here until at least the end of April given the weather forecast in England, but I have a family event in Germany at the weekend which I cannot miss!
I’ve been playing well, and hitting the ball generally pretty well. I am aware that I am guilty of over-thinking when playing on the course and that I must have a bit more faith in my golf swing. In an effort to be a bit more instinctive I have started to talk out aloud to myself when setting up to the ball. I’m sure I’m getting a few funny looks, but its working and I find it a good way to switch off and to ‘just hit the damn ball’!!
Putting certainly is improving and I’ve been holing some nice putts which is encouraging. It’s always nice to make birdies.

News from Florida

I’ve been in Florida for just over a week and have certainly played more golf than I have done in the last two years! The great news is that my body is holding up well to the increase in play, and I’m also hitting the ball pretty well too.
It’s fun to be back playing and without always being is total discomfort. When I think back to how I was feeling a year ago, I’m mightily relieved I no longer feel like that, and I’m pleased that the effort I have put in to get better has paid off.
Before I left to come to Windsor, I had been in Ireland at Carton House playing golf and practicing. It was great to be there, playing and practicing with friends. I really look forward to the Irish Open being back there this year in June, I just hope the weather is nicer than it was in 2005 and 2006 when it was last at Carton House.
I got lots of things to work on my game while I’m out here in Florida from putting to the long game. I am getting a little frustrated as I realise the more I’m playing golf the more I am starting to think too much about it all. Too many thoughts while Im standing over the ball. It’s a problem lots of people can relate to!
I have entered my first competition which will be in Roehampton on the 20th April. It will be exactly two years since I played a competition.. I’m
just really pleased that I’m back in a position again to enter tournaments. That in itself is a great achievement. Something I can be proud of!!