• The novelty has worn off

    Ashleigh Buhai
    Ashleigh Buhai

    Day 49 of lockdown and with that the novelty of hitting balls into a net and video lessons with my coach Doug Wood has worn off.

    It’s also mentally challenging when I think that I am unable to do what I’ve done for the last 13 years. Since the LPGA announced that we will best case only resume in mid-July I haven’t hit balls for more than a week as it is kind boring watching a ball travel five metres into a net.

    I am hoping that if we do resume in July I will be able to fly out of South Africa. I also know that if I give myself four weeks of practice it’s enough time for me to feel ready to play again.

    I really do miss playing golf and travelling. It is a bit surreal that us pro golfers for the first are living a somewhat normal life during the most abnormal time in the world. We are not used to being in one place for more than a week but it has been nice to sleep in my own bed and not live out of a suitcase for a while.

    During this time I’m sure most pro golfers are having similar thoughts and asking questions, like ‘what will my game be like when I return to competition?’ ‘Will my body hold up once we get started?’

    It will be an intense schedule playing nearly every week to make up for the tournaments that we have missed. The last time I didn’t play for an extended period was in 2013 when I was out of action after having hip surgery. I didn’t hit a ball for four months and didn’t compete in competition for five months.

    It normally takes me a week or two for me to find my feet again and get back into the swing of competition but once I do I’m good to go. I’m also no stranger to playing 8-10 weeks in a row so the intense schedule doesn’t worry me either.

    There is always an upside to everything. I’m a glass half full person. I’ve never really had an extended period of time to improve my strength as I play 28-30 tournaments a year.

    But I’ve been using lockdown to improve that, by having Zoom training session three times a week with my trainer Artur Pereira. We have done a lot of body weight training, focusing on core and legs as well as using superflex bands for upper body.

    I’ve also been listening to podcasts and audio books to stay mentally sharp so that I will be ready for when we do resume.

    Let’s hope that golf gets the green light to resume really soon. It will also be a huge financial relief for all the golf clubs and help them getting their staff and caddies back to work.

    *Ashleigh Buhai is South Africa’s No 1-ranked ladies professional, a three-time winner of the SA Open, a three-time European Tour champion and she represented South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    Follow Ashleigh Buhai on Twitter @ash_simon

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