The Pro-Am day at any professional tournament is a sight to behold. The day before the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe at Machynys Peninsula Golf and Country Club myself and two other amateurs joined Trish Johnson and her caddy Neil to experience the Ladies European Tour and the world of the Pro-Am. I thought I would share with you some of my observations:
The driving range on pro-am day is one of the most bizarre places you are ever likely visit. There are the professional ladies who have technically perfect swings and great ball striking, the polar opposite to some of the amateurs who warm up by toping and thinning balls with a variety of methods. To see a tiny Swedish lady hitting it at least 100 yards further than an 18 stone business man is quite a sight and with these observations in mind I decided to skip the range and warm up with some putts in a quiet corner of the practice green.
The first tee of a Pro-Am is equally fascinating and you can feel the tension as the nervous amateurs try there hardest not to embarrass themselves in front of the gathering crowds. Rugby players Gareth Edwards and Stephen Jones brought some added excitement for the Welsh competitors.
Trish Johnson is one of the friendliest golf professionals you will ever meet. The Englishwoman has played some great golf this year and currently lies second on the money list. A strong finish to the season will see her fighting it out for the top spot in ladies European golf. With this in mind Trish could have been forgiven for focusing completely on her game during the Pro-Am but she made mine and my playing partners, Rod and Tristan?s day greatly enjoyable. Trish and her caddy Neil were a real laugh and genuinely seemed to enjoy the day. They were approachable from the begging of the round to the presentation in the clubhouse afterwards. With a new putter in the bag this week Trish holed some great puts and will no doubt be in contention for European number one come the end of the season.
Machynys Peninsula Golf and Country Club was in great condition and offers great value for money golf. At only four-years-old it is amazing how good the condition of the course is, particularly the greens which were fast and true.
Handicap certificates are seemingly not required at Pro-Ams. After witnessing many of the amateurs manufactured swings on the driving range you could have forgiven me for thinking our seven under with two scores to count wasn?t terrible. 24 under was the winning score!
It is a privilege to play with a top professional. To get inside the ropes and get an idea of what they experience every week was a real thrill.