• As frustrated as anyone

    Ashleigh Buhai
    Ashleigh Buhai

    Whatever our walk of life is, I’m sure we shared the same frustrations during the Covid-19 lockdown.

    There were a number of baffling decisions made by government when it came to restrictions around the different levels, but for me it meant I wasn’t able to do what I have been for the past 13 years as a professional golfer.

    The novelty had well and truly worn off after nearly 70 days of lockdown in Johannesburg. There’s only so much hitting balls into a net and video sessions with my coach Doug Wood that I could do. Apart from the physical limitations, it wasn’t a good thing mentally. I turned professional at 17 after a long amateur career, so being out and about on golf courses and travelling to tournaments to make a living is mostly what I’ve done.

    I didn’t understand why golf courses weren’t able to open during level 3 of lockdown. While my frustrations were largely due to the fact I couldn’t follow a normal golf routine up until the lifting of the restrictions for professional athletes involved in non-contact sport at the beginning of June, I felt desperate for the rest of the industry.

    For me it was a case of not being able to go on with a normal routine, for others it was not being able to have that weekly interaction with friends, but for most people in the industry the worry and frustrations come from, ‘Will I even have a job next month?’ My heart goes out to these people, as it’s their livelihood. When we were told golf courses were not allowed to open I tweeted that I miss playing golf but I am fortunate in that I wasn’t going to lose my job because I can’t play, yet many people would lose their jobs.

    There had been a glimmer of hope when it was announced that as pro athletes of non-contact sports we were allowed to resume practice but this doesn’t really help us professional golfers as the courses can’t afford to open their facilities for a few pros.

    As I was legally allowed to practice I managed to get to a range and hit some balls. It was a surreal feeling of everything around me being closed and having to hit and pick up my own golf balls like the good old days when I was a kid. It was so peaceful and calming to be hitting balls again and to see the ball fly further than a few metres, and to my own amazement I flushed it.

    I continued to use this time to work on my strength training but there was also a lot of couch time and series binge watching. I finished the latest season of New Amsterdam, all the Chicago PD and Chicago Fire series and the most recent drama Little Fires Everywhere. As there wasn’t any live sport to watch the new favourite channel in our household became HGTV. Thank goodness my husband Dave is a good handyman and once we get to the other side of this devastating Covid-19 period and we’re back earning money, we can make some of those ideas a reality.

    Hopefully, next month I will be able to talk about having returned to the US and preparing for the resumption of the golf Tour.

    Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

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