Many of you will know Jenni Falconer from her time presenting on ITV's This Morning or her show on Smooth Radio. But what you might not know is that she's also a super keen golfer.

She tells Harriet Shephard about how she first fell in love with the game in the first of her blogs for Women & Golf.

Getting started...

About two years ago I announced to my family that I wanted to play golf, it totally shocked them because they all play and I've never shown an interest. My Dad then took me to the driving range and I absolutely loved it, but the only problem was that I didn't know how to get started. I don't think it's an easy sport just to start out of the blue, especially as a girl who lives in London with family in Scotland and doesn't have any golfing friends.

So I contacted Ian Randall, the head of the PGAs of Europe. I went to visit them at The Belfry and they helped me and we filmed a lot for their online channels to try and show women how to get into golf.

They hooked me up with a female coach called Jo Taylor at Tyrrels Wood and in my first lesson we went straight out on the course and did about two holes with her guiding me.

It's an initiative called love.golf where basically you just learn on the golf course, so I did that for a few months and played once a week with my uncle using my mum's old clubs - she's 5'2 and I'm 5'9 so they definitely weren't the right size for me!

The next challenge...

I started playing in the January and my challenge was to play in the GolfSixes that May. But then I broke my hand and I was in a cast until the end of February. That meant that in 11 weeks I went from having never really played golf to playing in the GolfSixes. I'm not going to lie I was the worst person on the course without a shadow of a doubt. 

I was terrified teeing off and when I hit the ball and it just rolled about two metres infront of me. It was awful, the whole thing was painful but it was the best learning experience.

But you know what, by throwing myself in at the deep end I've quickly got over the embarrassment of making mistakes and that's what holds people back in golf. You just learn to be quite thick skinned, get on with it and realise that everyone starts somewhere. When you start one shot might go miles but your second might go backwards. You just have to go for it and keep going when it goes wrong.

You can't stress though because that's when your game goes. Just enjoy it and accept you're not going to win. It's like when I run a marathon, I know I'm not going to win and beat Mo Farah but I can still have a great time taking part and it's the same with golf

Ultimately, I fell in love with this game and I still want to keep getting better and playing more.

Moving with the times...

I've always been able to count on one hand the number of women playing in most of the events I've taken part in, sometimes it's just me and one other and the men always seemed to be brilliant, too.

But things have very much changed and generally golf doesn't prioritise men anymore. I'm a member of the Centurion which is a family-friendly club and that just shows you how different clubs are nowadays compared to when I was little and my dad went to play golf. The rules have relaxed, the stars we see playing on TV are younger, cooler and everything about their demeanor is more relaxed.

Things are changing and that will make it easier for more women to take it up. 

Golfing pals...

When you play with girls it’s so fun and so nice but I just don't know many girls who play so I can't do it that often.

I've tried to get some of my friends to give it a go and it's annoying because some of them want to but can't because they've got sore shoulders or they can't quite twist their body like you need to. I play with my mum which is lovely and presenter Georgie Bingham.

I'm planning to play with others who I've met through golf as well like Iona Stephens and Eilidh Barbour - I was meant to have a round with both of them before lockdown happened.

It's just a case of finding people and I will play with anyone who wants to, I just love it that much! Just as long as they don't get frustrated because I still haven't got an amazing handicap; I'm still affectively a beginner really.

But when you play with someone for fun, as long as you're not delaying people and you're playing as well as you can, you can all still have really good fun.

All the gear...

I’m more surprised than anyone about how into golf clothes I am. All my life when my Dad asked for golf things for every Birthday and Christmas I rolled my eyes but now I’m the one who wants new golf tops and shoes!

You can catch Jenni on Smooth Radio weekdays from 6am to 10am and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm - for more information visit www.smoothradio.com.

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