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Spring Golf In South Wales

Alex Bonfield - Blog No.2

After a couple of months into the role, Alex (Fulford Golf Club’s Junior Captain) reports back on how things are going so far…

Balance
I knew it was going to be a challenge. I think it's fair to say that I was busy before I took on the captaincy, what with my A Levels, choirs, flute practice, gym work and drama in addition to all of my golfing activities. The captaincy has just added to this and one thing that I've had to develop is a much better approach to time management and prioritisation. Even so, I find there is just more to do than there are hours in the day - my parents smile, I can hear them thinking 'welcome to the real world'! I think I'll mark that one down as a developing 'life skill' which will stand me in good stead for years to come!

I don't know what I don't know
What I didn’t expect was this nagging feeling that there's something more I should be doing. The past couple of years haven’t exactly been 'normal' for anybody, but from a Junior Captain point of view any regular timetable and responsibility was thrown up into the air along with the rest of Covid life, and the nature of Junior golf is that people move onwards and upwards, and really quite quickly. I can't follow the same approach that my two predecessors took, and there is no manual. So as part of my legacy I've decided to write one - something which I can pass on to my Vice Captain to maintain and hand down the line. What to expect and when, roles and responsibilities, mistakes and learnings, speeches to give, competitions and coaching to assist at and mostly the best way to support our Junior section as our Captain.

Newsletter
In my first post I called out my goals for the year, and one of those was to improve the communications around our Junior section and release a monthly newsletter. I'm pleased to say that goal has been achieved! I've tried to make it as interesting as possible, with my Junior Captain's blurb supported by a list of club and local Junior competitions, a 'Getting to Know You' focus on one of our Junior members each month, a timely tip from our club Pro and a 'Juniors Guide' video demonstrating how to play one of the holes at Fulford.

Coaching
As the season started, I spent a few days working with George, our Pro, in giving golf coaching sessions as part of the Golf Foundation's Primary Schools Programme. I just love these initiatives because they give me a chance to get involved in the inspiration of future golfers and the leaders of our game for tomorrow.
That leads me into a blatant plug for Girls Golf Rocks - if you’ve sisters, daughters, granddaughters, girlfriends or know anyone else aged 5-18, encourage them to sign up. Girls Golf Rocks is a great initiative to get all girls into this amazing sport in a fun and friendly way with events running all across the country. Check out the England Golf website https://www.englandgolf.org/girls-golf-rocks-2022/ to find a participating club near you!

Competitions
Our Junior Team had our first match of the year in our annual League against York Golf Club. It was my first time leading out our team as Junior Captain and our first opportunity to try out our new team kit - looking good guys! Unfortunate to not walk away with the win but plenty more matches left this season.

April tends to mark one of two hotspots for national competitions. It's an amazing opportunity for me to meet up with girls from other clubs and to play at some of the best courses across the UK. Playing in competitions has really helped to build a strong network of friends across the country. This season I'm playing in more Women's events than before, and over the past few weeks I've played at the most amazing places - Delamere Forest, Formby Ladies, Royal Troon, Alwoodley, Ganton and Southerndown. All championship venues, immaculately maintained and buzzing with the thrill and excitement of the competition. Whilst I'll always remember sticking it close at the infamous 'Postage Stamp' Hole 8 at Royal Troon, I like to take away learnings from all of my competitions as there's always space to improve.

My greatest learning came from the Welsh Women's Open at Southerndown - what an amazing course! Built on hard limestone, overlooking Porthcawl and covered in sheep, I can honestly say I've never played a course like it. The weather had been so dry and the ground so hard, balls were bouncing down the undulating fairway like I’d never seen before. I'm not a big hitter, so a 300 yard drive was a bit of a shock. 280 yards with a 3 wood? No problem. Well, there did turn out to be a problem - all of my course prep went out of the window as I developed a new strategy on my practice round. It wasn't until Round 2 that I really felt confident that I was back in control. I knew how to beat the course, and I’d made the cut. Ready for round 3.

And then overnight it rained. All the course needed was a good soaking and it was back to playing its typical length. No more monster drives, no more pitches running through the greens, but of course you don’t know this until your round is underway and by then I was on the back foot - creating a new strategy to tackle this ever-changing course. It's all part of the challenge - the course is your opponent and it wants to fight back - you can never really beat the course! At the end of the competition it wasn't the result that I wanted, but the most amazing learning experience.

Of course it's not all about me! I'm so lucky that my parents take time off work to taxi me around the country. Golf is a great way to bring the family together so I was so pleased to have the opportunity to play at Dundonald Links on Easter Sunday with my Dad. The weather was great and despite it being a modern links course, it was one of the best I've ever played. What's more there was nobody about - it's like we had the course to ourselves - talk about millionaire's golf!

Alex

 

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