By Naga Munchetty

When faced with the prospect of 31 days without playing golf, I really didn’t know if I was excited, happy, forlorn or even a tiny bit scared. What if, when I came back, my game was really dreadful? It’s not as if I’ve been on sparkling form in recent months. I was hoping for the opposite, a break would do me some good.

Well… after a 31-day holiday in South America, hiking up mountains and through deserts I was certainly refreshed. I hadn’t completely dismissed golf out of my mind while away, I followed the tour action on television when possible and even watched a few American golf tuition programmes - at one point taking notes that I was certain would come in handy upon my return to Blighty.

By the time I touched down in the UK I was champing at the bit to get back on the course. The day after returned I headed straight for the driving range, arriving a good 40 minutes before my tee time, excited about getting back into the swing of things (so to speak). Even as the balls were dispensed into my basket I was feeling the butterflies in my stomach fluttering. As I pulled out my trusty 6-iron I took a cautious practice swing, feeling muscles that hadn’t been used in a while - it felt good. My first shot was a peach! It soared into the air, good flight, with a little bit of draw and good distance! I hadn’t lost it, in fact it was better than before I left.

My husband shouted “Let’s get to the tee now, it’s not going to get better than that!”

After 60 balls, with various clubs, I was happy, fairly confident and smiling. My love for the game had not faded one bit. That’s not the end though, this cruel, addictive game would not allow that, as I shall soon reveal.

To say that the next 18 holes of “real golf” didn’t really match up would be an understatement. Old habits crept back into my swing – muscle memory exists I swear to it! (Well it does in my undisciplined body). The most familiar pose, and one of the first twitches to return was my head dropping down while I muttered not-so-sweet nothings under my breath.

The above is an extract from Naga Munchetty's column in the May/June issue of Women & Golf magazine, on sale Friday 3 April.

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