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I really enjoyed being the host at Women & Golf's recent reader days - the first was at Gog Magog in Cambridgeshire and the second was at High Legh Park Golf Club in Cheshire. In glorious weather, if a little too hot for some players, a fun day was had by all - thanks to the support of our sponsors. Congratulations to all the winners - full details will appear in the next issue of Women & Golf.

There was definitely a Prosecco theme - I certainly don't have a problem with that. In addition to other goodies, players at Gog Magog were sent home with a bottle, and at High Legh Park, ladies had the chance to try the American Golf Prosecco Challenge. This is where you have to putt from 6ft, 8ft, 10ft etc - and see how far you can get in a minute. If you miss, you have to begin again at the shortest distance. In fact, a minute is quite a long time, even though you don't think it is, and there's a tendency to rush. That was my problem! I made it to 10ft, but Joe from Cobra PUMA Golf was awesome and beat me hands down.

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I should be an expert putter by now because at Gog Magog ladies were treated to a presentation by Kjell van Paridon, a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. After deciding which was their dominant eye, Kjell offered advice on how to focus your visual attention when putting. I was wired up to demonstrate the science behind the technology - ensuring I turned my head to the hole to use my dominant right eye, waiting for a few seconds before I putted a ball on the carpet to a hole, then waiting again before looking up. It worked, perhaps it was the funky glasses!

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It's July and so over halfway through the year, which also means halfway towards the end of the challenge between Team Naga Munchetty and Team Sir Clive Woodward. To recap for those of you just reading this blog for the first time, T2C is a golf learning platform that both teams are using under the direction of Daniel Grieve, Head Professional at Woburn Golf Club, and the challenge is to see which team (six members in each) has the best percentage overall handicap reduction by the end of the year.

The season started late, but there are no excuses now for us not working on our games and playing  competitive golf.

We began with the basics - pre-shot routine, grip, set-up, posture, shaft angle, and then progressed to short game. This includes chip and run, soft landing shot, and as I'm writing this, my bunker video and images are outstanding for Dan to offer feedback. We'll then progress to long game. Here are a couple of videos:

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After signing off the July/August issue of Women & Golf magazine most of June was spent travelling, not just on business, which of course I always say is 'nice work' but I also went to Mallorca for a few days on holiday - no golf, just eating, sleeping, reading and chilling out. It was great!

One of my first trips was to Gleneagles which has always been one of my favourite resorts and I'm already  looking forward to this Scottish venue hosting next year's Solheim Cup. My latest trip involved all the things you can do in 48 hours (we arrived on Sunday afternoon and left on Tuesday afternoon) - golf (out of the three courses, the Queen's is my favourite), archery, shooting, fly fishing - and there still wasn't enough time to visit the spa, play tennis or really appreciate the fabulous rooms.

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For those of you who are not already aware, I love dogs, and at Gleneagles they currently have 11 labrador gundogs. We were treated to an exhibition including two golden labs, Drake and Bracken, and their skills were impeccable. I couldn't wait for the command to let them know it was 'play time'. They went crazy, bounding around, but were more than happy to have a cuddle. I was upset to miss out on seeing Gleneagles' new 16-week old puppy called Henry, he is the new mascot and will no doubt put a smile on everyone's faces.

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For those of you that read my blog regularly, you might have noticed that I haven't posted anything for a while. This time, it's not because I haven't wanted to, it was one of those software problems that I won't even begin to try and understand, however, it has been resolved now and I'm back, so where do I start as so much has been going on.

Last month I decided to attend one of Daniel Grieve's short game clinics. Daniel is the Head Pro at Woburn and he's also overseeing our T2C Challenge - Team Naga vs Team Clive. I thought I needed to get my act together, especially as far as my short game is concerned as this is where I lose so many shots. It was money well spent - 10am-4pm with a short break for lunch - covering every possible shot. I hadn't realised how one dimensional my short game had become! The clinic has given me more confidence to try different shots around the green and I also have a better understanding of how to approach them. The problem is, now I need to find time to practise.

Also in May I attended the Golf Foundation's Presidents' Awards Ceremony during the BMW Championship at Wentworth. This is always one of my favourite events of the year. The stories you hear from the award winners and the people that they have inspired to play golf, are truly inspirational and some are really emotional. I caught up with Emily Furniss (above) who won the Young Volunteer of the Year Award - you can read a Q&A with her on this website. She is a remarkable and determined young lady - a talented golfer herself, but her golf has been put on hold due to a tumour on her leg.

Women's golf reached new heights (literally) when The R&A launched its Women in Golf Charter at the top of the Shard in London. This Charter asks golf to pledge its support to increasing the number of women playing and working in golf. We've all been trying to drive women and girls' golf for ages, but with significant investment from the R&A to assist national federations and other golf bodies to build on current initiatives and develop new projects, it's the biggest commitment yet to drive women's golf.

 

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After having the lurgy for 10 days, feeling totally miserable (not helped by the weather) or well enough to join a press trip to Turkey, my T2C practice also went straight out of the window - ball placement and shaft angle had to wait!

I was therefore so glad to get back out on the golf course last week - this time at The Grove in Hertfordshire. Whatever time of year, it's always in great condition, although thankfully the greens weren't as quick as usual. They suited me - I've never drained so many putts in succession - it became laughable. Of course, it didn't last as on Friday I headed to Chateau des Vigiers, near Bergerac where I couldn't putt for toffee!

But I really liked the destination that  features a beautiful hotel, a Michelin star restaurant, a separate brasserie, 27-hole golf course and spa. Unfortunately the weather last weekend was generally as bad as it was in the UK, so I probably would have enjoyed it even more if the sun had been shining, especially sitting on the terrace that overlooks the course. The food in the main restaurant was superb - I have never seen so many cheeses to choose from for the fifth course! One trolley for soft cheeses and the other trolley for hard cheeses.

Au revoir until next time ....

 

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