The Ladies European Tour season kicked off last week in Kenya at the Vipingo Ridge course, perhaps you caught some of the TV coverage on Sky Sports. If you missed it, India’s Aditi Ashok dominated the tournament from day one and won the title 9 shots clear of second-placed England’s Alice Hewson, who was just one of four players that finished under par after four rounds. This is clearly one of Aditi’s favourite courses, as back in 2019 she finished in second place, just one shot behind eventual winner Esther Henseleit. Similarly, last year England’s Meghan MacLaren continued her love affair with Australia when she secured her third LET title Down Under.
It’s true, we all have our favourite golf courses (usually those where we’ve played well!). I’m sure you also have favourite holes at your home club, I certainly do, and this confirms how much golf is a game played between the ears, as I always approach these holes with a positive mindset, which means I’m halfway there to hitting a good shot. In fact, when I play another course, if I’ve got a fairway wood shot, I say to myself, “Just think it’s the 9th fairway at West Essex.” Silly, isn’t it? But with this difficult game, you have to do whatever it takes to help you focus and play your best.
When you step onto the 1st tee, this is another shot that is more psychological than technical. Preparation is key and generally, I don’t do myself any favours – rarely do I head to the range or stretch with warm-up exercises beforehand. I’ll usually be in the changing room having a quick coffee and a chat with other ladies, or running late and rushing to the 1st tee. Does this sound familiar?
Even if you have prepared properly, that first tee shot never gets any easier, especially if you have a large audience. Again, you try and tell yourself all the right things. We all know that golf is a selfish game and nobody could really care less if you hit a good or bad tee shot, but it is that fear of embarrassment more than anything else – the same feeling if you miss a really short putt.
I always breathe a heavy sigh of relief when I make decent contact with the ball and get my tee shot away and it’s a “Thank goodness for that” moment. Of course, even pros suffer with 1st tee jitters and Tiger Woods was once heard telling a reporter, “If I don’t get a little nervous on the first tee then I probably won’t be out here playing anymore.” That should make us feel a whole lot better!
Click Here for some great tips from PGA Professional Katie Dawkins on 6 shots women find tough (and how to play them) including how to overcome 1st tee nerves.
You wonder why we play this game sometimes, but it’s all part of the challenge and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Women's Editor, Golf Monthly
Surprizeshop Chip & Chat Editor