This season, Sally Watson, a Ladies European Tour professional and Castle Stuart Golf Links ambassador, is giving us an insight into life on the LET tour in a series of blogs.
In her first post, she describes the challenges of travelling to play in tournaments, why for her golf is a family affair, and how National Golf Month can help encourage more people into the game.
My first two tournaments of the season have already taken me to Morocco, for the Lalla Meryam Cup, and to Spain for the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open. Overall, I was pretty happy with my game in these initial events. The results weren’t quite what I was looking for, but after such a long off season there was always likely to be a little rust.
I was very fortunate that my mum Maggie and dad Graham were kind enough to take time off from their busy schedules to support me, as they took turns at caddying. Given the costs of professional golf, my career is very much a family affair – over the last few years I have had not only my parents, but also my sister Rebecca and cousins all help me out by carrying the bag at various events.
Unfortunately, there is now a break in the Ladies European Tour schedule until the Turkish Ladies Open next month, so I have decided to travel across to America to play in a couple of events to keep myself ‘competitively sharp’.
This sort of trans-continental travel is fairly typical of life on the tour these days. During my first three seasons, I competed in over 20 countries in four different continents. While on one hand, this provides an amazing opportunity to see the world and follow the sunshine (while also avoiding the cold Scottish winters), on the other, it can definitely take its toll after a while.
For this reason, taking breaks when necessary, even if just for a day or two to re-energise, is important to ensure that I am still fresh come the end of the year, which is where the majority of the LET’s biggest prize events sit on the schedule.
One of the aspects that I enjoy the most about all of the travelling is the opportunity to experience a lot of the world and share the game of golf with lots of people from a variety of countries and cultures. The LET normally hosts junior clinics and other events to try to inspire the next generation to become involved in the game we all love, and it is a great privilege to be part of these occasions. And of course, I get to fly the flag for Castle Stuart in many different places.
This year’s National Golf Month, which is focusing particularly on growing female participation in the sport, is another way in which the golf community can help raise awareness and interest among people of all ages and abilities.
Unfortunately, golf is still regarded as an elitist sport in many countries. But, hopefully, with developments such as the introduction of golf into the last Olympics, more and more countries will see the benefits and resolve to make golf more accessible to all.