Updated: Apr 20
Friend of Halcyon Golf Travel Inci Mehmet shares her experience of playing 2 professional tournaments on the same day, which happened to be the hottest day of the year.
I never thought I’d be using a London Bus as a metaphor to describe golf tournaments, but here I am. I've been waiting to play in a competition for over 3 months and on Thursday I competed in two on the same day!
The first event was a charity pro-am at Worplesdon, hosted by Andy Sullivan and Paul Waring, organised by Wasserman management. The event supported charities close to both Sullivan & Waring’s hearts; The Rainbow Trust's Covid-19 Emergency Appeal & Dan's Fund for Burns, raising over £40,000. Another purpose of the event was to merge both recreational golf and some professional competition, containing a mixed field with some big names such as Ross Fisher, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Detry and Georgia Hall. I was lucky enough to take on Monty in a four ball better ball match with both of our managers on Wednesdays practise round. It is safe to say we didn’t manage to take the 31 time European Tour Winner down! He may be donning a swing with a little less speed nowadays, but he's still the champion of the “wee fade”.
Monty teeing it up at the 10th, Worplesdon's signature hole.
For the event to run safely following government guidelines, registration was strictly an hour before your allocated tee time, volunteers kindly helped by raking bunkers / attending flags and social distancing was down to a T! A great feature to this event was the use of the scoring and yardage app “18 birdies”. Prior to the event, I compared the yardages on the app with my Bushnell and it was never more than 2-3 yards out. If you’re playing seriously do be careful because its not legal in all competitions; this app smartly takes into account the playing yardage calculating elevation, wind direction and speed.
Socially distanced picture with Monty and our managers at Worplesdon.
The condition of Worplesdon was unbelievable. For those of you unfamiliar with the course, it is a classic Heathland layout in Surrey. A modest yardage of 6500 yards, but protected by Chestnut and Pine tree-lined fairways, plenty of purple splashes of heather and gentle undulations providing lots of funky lies. On Thursday the fairways were springy, especially when the ball landed on the “runway” (the lighter half of the fairway) but it stopped fairly promptly when landing into grain, ie the darker half. Since the last time I played Worplesdon they have done some magnificent bunker-work, adding native heathers to their surrounds. Aesthetically this is very pleasing, that is until your ball ends up in there and you have a much tougher shot than being in the bunker itself! Joking aside, Worplesdon is somewhere I could never get bored of and would fully recommend a round here to anyone.
To help with the logistics of playing two tournaments in a day I was allowed to tee off in the second group, the only other girls crazy enough to play two separate tournaments on the hottest day of the year were Charley Hull in the group in front and Rachel Drummond behind. I felt uncomfortable over the ball all day after starting with two doubles on the front 9, including one on the first hole which is never ideal! Thankfully, I managed to wheel it back by taking advantage of the par 5’s on the back 9 where I made an Eagle and two birdies, finishing on a level par 71. This was good enough for 22nd place out of a field of 53 extremely talented players, topped by Thomas Detry with a seriously impressive 64 (-7).
The 3 W’s.
If I’ve convinced you to visit Worplesdon for a round, it’s worth mentioning its two close neighbours; Woking and West Hill. Together they are known as the 3 W’s and it would be a crime to not play at least 2 of them if you’re making the trip there. All three courses offer sublime heathland tests, its really hard to pick a favourite from the bunch. Aside from these 3 courses there is enough world class golf to keep you going for a lifetime in Surrey. If you’re reading this from overseas and are temped to visit for a golf trip, make sure to check out Halcyon Golf Travel; Jack will be happy to help you out .
The second round of the day was in the Justin Rose Ladies Series at Moor Park. The venue boasts two Harry Colt designed courses, one of the grandest clubhouses in the world and some very well manicured grass tennis courts.
The beautiful Palladian mansion clubhouse at Moor Park
Surprisingly I arrived at Moor Park in good time and had time for a good warm up. I was striping it on the range, much better than how I was hitting it at Worplesdon. I still had lots of energy and felt prepared and determined for a great day. Unfortunately, my mentality did not match up with my physical energy, and even that started to fade as the blazing sunshine continued to beat down on us as we battled the undulating fairways of Moor Park’s High Course. The mental and physical fatigue made me slip out of some changes I’ve made to my swing this week, leading to a disappointing 5 over par.
Preparation is key!
Playing when the weather is so hot is tough because everything swells up. I felt as though I had sausage fingers, my legs felt heavy during my second round and it felt as though my feet were on fire! I refuelled with lots of good food and drank plenty which I supplemented with electrolytes, which still most likely would never have been enough. Although I prepared well for this golfing marathon, I really missed the help of my friend Jack from Halcyon Golf Travel who sometimes caddies for me. Having someone on the bag helps massively in terms of saving energy, keeping you focussed and reminding you to keep taking on more liquids! People really under estimate the importance of preparing well when playing golf in the heat, especially 36 holes!
Here are some tips for preparing for a long day of golf in the sunshine.
• Hydrate early. I always start the day with a large glass of lemon water but if you know it is going to be a hot day, perhaps get ahead by throwing in an electrolyte tablet (salt will do).
• If you are waiting for your opponents to play, wait in the shade. Or create your own shade using a sun umbrella.
• Personally, my appetite goes when it is hot. I make sure that I prep my food in advance so that it is easy to pack and consume without too much mess.
• Keep your head and wrists cool - I find using a cooling towel which gets cold when reacting with water very useful. As mentioned before, the heat causes body parts to swell which is the exact reason why keeping my wrist cool helps my hands not swell up as much!
• Mental reminders - It is so easy to complain when the weather is not so good. When its cold and wet I often try and tell myself that this would likely wipe out half the field and it is "FRESH" not "cold". Similarly, if it is particularly warm, I like to remind myself how good this rare bit of sun is and how it reminds me of beautiful holidays I've had in the sun.
And when you can, take a caddy!
Lots of positives to take from this golfing marathon. Would I play two tournaments in the same day again? Was it the right decision? ABSOLUTELY. It was a brilliant opportunity to do what I love and compete for two prize funds at two amazing venues on a beautiful English summers day. It was something I have never done before and like I said, I would do it again in a heartbeat but would perhaps prepare differently. I’ve been keeping myself incredibly busy, struggling to switch off totally in the evenings (probably partly due to the excitement of competing again), but on top of that I had been running/cycling and not given myself a single day off since the announcement of the JL series. Between now and next weeks event at Buckinghamshire G.C I’ll be giving my body a few well deserved days off in order to properly recover. The course at Buckinghamshire really suits my ball flight so I’m feeling quite optimistic for the event, wish me luck!