A belated Happy New Year to all the readers; I’m wishing everyone straight drives and lots of birdies, writes ASHLEIGH BUHAI in the February issue of Compleat Golfer.
In my last column you would have read that my plan was to fly back home to celebrate the festive season with family and friends but like so much in 2020, Covid affected those plans.
My husband, David, and I were due to fly home through London but due to the travel ban between the UK and South Africa our flights got cancelled and we didn’t make it home. As you can imagine it was very disappointing to not get back home and it was difficult spending our first festive season away from home.
We have been fortunate to meet and stay with many wonderful host families over the years and luckily for us we got to spend the holidays with a family that hosted us six years ago in New York and who have a second home in Florida.
Our original plan was to return to the US in February, find a place to rent and base ourselves here full time. With those plans scuppered, we put Plan B into action and some 48 hours after our flights were cancelled we found a place to rent and bought a car.
I have been threatening to make the move to the States for a few years in order to make travel easier and have somewhere to call ‘home from home’ and go back to during the weeks off to recharge my batteries. Although it was all super-rushed, they say everything happens for a reason and I think it was exactly what we needed to make the leap. We have missed South Africa but it has been a fun few weeks getting settled in and making our new place a home.
We have chosen to settle in the golfing haven of the US – Palm Beach Gardens, in Florida. There are quite a few LPGA Tour players down here too as well as most of the South African men who play on the PGA Tour. During this time of year, I always put the clubs away for about four weeks, but exceptions have been made, especially so when I received a call from Branden Grace asking me to join him and my childhood hero Ernie Els in a game.
Luckily I wasn’t too rusty and managed to shoot 66 with nine birdies. It was truly awesome getting to play with the guys and I’m hoping that being around all these great players and learning from them will be what I need to get over the line for my first win on the LPGA Tour in 2021.
The LPGA Tour starts only in mid-February so I was looking forward to a bit more rest while I wrote this, before getting back into full practice again.